Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coffee Talk with Jason Clift

So far, we've talked with Julie and Genevieve, the two women in the production but now for the men! Meet Jason Clift, who plays "Simon" in Us & Everything We Own. Jason is a Vancouver a graduate of Studio 58 and we are thrilled to be working with him on his first production with Twenty Something Theatre. 


(Jason Clift)
What is your favourite role to date and why? 

My favourite role would probably have to be "Man 2" from Love/Stories or: But you will get used to it by Itamar Moses. It was a role where I got to play several different characters, but there was also a strong artistic statement in the work, which made the piece transcend beyond entertainment only. It felt good to not only carve out these characters from the incredibly simple and poignant dialogue but I also felt like I was helping communicate really valuable themes on love and art, which I strongly agreed with. Itamar writes in such a beautifully simple way that doesn't feel like I need to add anything to make it understood, and in those cases you get to focus fully on the character. It also helps that this show was the first time I got to work with one of my favorite directors Brian Cochrane, who is directing Speech and Debate with Twenty Something Theatre later this year. 

(Jason [Right] in a music video called "Welcome To The Night" by The Autumn Portrait)
Tell us your "I wanna be an actor" story... 

My wanna be an actor story is quite simple. I played sports as a boy and a young man, and although I loved playing the games (hockey and soccer) I found it hard to relate on a personal level with my teammates. When I got into high school I started taking drama class and found that I could relate to artists in such a deeper way and I ended up having a lot of fun being around awesome people. I tried starting a more traditional career in the automotive industry, but I ended up being depressed. At this point in my life, without theatre and without the people in the greater theatre community I am just a big unhappy mess. I don't feel like I want to be an actor as much as I have to be one. 

(Jason as "General Smog" from Repair Man by Virtual Stage)
Why should people come out to see Us & Everything We Own

To begin with, Us & Everything We Own is a brilliant piece of writing. It's entirely topical, especially to Generation Y and deals with subject matter which is sure to stir your soul. It's a sort of "wake up" piece for a very confused generation. It's also a springboard for conversation between two generations who don't seem to be talking anymore, it's like "hey, mom, hey, dad this is what is up with us, wtf is going on?" If you ever got to a place in your life where you thought maybe the American dream is a lie or it isn't possible, you should really watch this play. 

What do you think audiences can learn from the characters of Us & Everything We Own?

There is a plethora of wisdom enchanted in the characters in the play, I don't even want to speculate on what any particular individual will glean from the characters, you will just have to come and watch it. Although it is entirely accessible it is quite open for interpretation, another reason I love it. 

(Jason [Right] with his friend, Sean)
If you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be?

Don't be a selfish asshole, we're just big kids in a sandbox playing pretend, the only point is to enjoy yourself.

Agreed. Make sure you don't miss Jason playing in Us & Everything We Own starting next week at PAL Studio Theatre (581 Cardero St.) Tickets $12-$22. More information at
www.brownpapertickets.com

Up next, I'll be talking with Adam Lolacher who plays "Charlie", the man of the house! 

-Jessica Van Elk
Producing Assistant 




Monday, March 25, 2013

Coffee Talk With Genevieve Fleming

As we are now entering into our second week of rehearsal for Us & Everything We Own, meet Genevieve Fleming who plays the character "Erin". This is Genevieve's second production with Twenty Something Theatre, having last appeared in Suburbia in 2008. We are excited to have her back on stage with us for this world premiere! 

(Genevieve Fleming)
What is your favourite role to date and why?

I've had the pleasure of playing a lot of fun characters, but there is one role that stands out as a favourite, which is the part of "Lenny" in Crimes of the Heart. It was my first lead role out of high school (during my second year at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick - which explains how I was cast in the first place because I was way too young to play the part at the time!). That may have been the experience that solidified my resolve to become a professional actor.


(Genevieve [Left] with the members of Hardline Productions)

Tell us your "I wanna be an actor" story...

I knew I wanted to be an actor since my elementary school music teacher came around my grade 3 classroom and asked who wanted to audition for the Christmas play. I thought: "that would be fun." I played Mrs. Claus #3 (out of 4) and let me tell you, it was a magical performance.


(Genevieve as "Sybil" in Private Lives at the Citadel Theatre )

Why should people come to see Us & Everything We Own?

It's a beautiful thing as an actor to work on the premiere of a new play - especially when we have the joy and luxury of having the playwright (Sean Minogue) involved in the experience. You can always see Shakespeare, you can always see musicals - but catching the first run of a play that is about contemporary issues (not 40 - 400 year old ones) is something special...and it's fun and there's a [coffee] bar and all that stuff too.


(Genevieve in The Ash Girl at Studio 58 with Alisha Davidson)

What do you think audiences can learn from the characters of Us & Everything We Own?

Haha - how about: 'how not to succeed in business despite really trying?' I don't know, as an audience member I always learn by watching the characters learn. We invest in their journeys and compare their experiences to our own and how they reacted to how we might have in their situation. The four characters in this play all have distinct journeys and I think there is something for everyone to take away from their experiences.


(Genevieve as "Jocasta" in Jocasta at Studio 58)

If you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be?


Get training. I was lucky enough to attend Studio 58's theatre training program and it was the best professional decision I ever made. That being said, if there's anything - ANYTHING - you can see yourself doing that would make you happy other than acting, then for God's sake do that instead.

That is some good advice! Thank you for sharing Genevieve! 

Make sure you catch Genevieve in Us & Everything We Own from April 4-13, 2013 at the PAL Studio Theatre (581 Cardero Street). Tickets $12-$22. More information at 

-Jessica Van Elk
Producing Assistant 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Coffee Talk With Julie McIsaac

Welcome to our coffee talk series! We are just about to enter into our first week of rehearsal for Us & Everything We Own! I thought I would kick things off by chatting with Julie McIsaac who plays "Rachel" in the show. She was also involved in our first play reading of Us & Everything We Own in 2012 and we are excited to have her back with us for the world premiere!

(Julie [centre] with her friend Samantha [right] with her [joke] idol Debbie Gibson [left])
What is your favourite role to date and why? 

Ack. No way can I pick one. So tough! I try to get involved only in projects I really like, and the ensuing pay-off is that I tend to really enjoy all my roles. Hmmm. My most recent project - playing "Jane" in Helen Edmundson's Mother Teresa is Dead at Pacific Theatre - was fantastic, because the character's journey was an exploration of some themes and issues that are pretty meaningful to me. Then again, playing "Miranda" in The Tempest (Bard on the Beach, 2008) was just so darn magical. Such a beautiful production, with a beautiful company, in an exquisitely beautiful location. 'Twas the perfect show for a summer's eve. And playing "Evelyn" in Twenty Something's The Shape of Things (2007) was tremendously fun and challenging; such a complex, crafty character.

Tell us your "I wanna be an actor" story... 

From a very young age, I loved being on stage and making up stories (and my siblings and I definitely did the whole putting-on-shows-in-the-rec-room thing) but the point of no return was when I was eleven, and got to be a part of the children's chorus in Livent's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. There was no going back, after that... I mean, I got to miss school, leave my wee little hometown and stay in the big city three nights a week, perform on stage with professionals - who were, in my pre-adolescent opinion, the absolute coolest and nicest people EVER - it was all so very awesome. Also - visiting London for the first time, seeing shows in the West End, feeling a part of this wonderful, rich tradition; that was when I began to "own" it - when I became truly proud of saying, "I'm an actor."


(Julie in Spitfire Grill at Pacific Theatre in 2012. Photo credit: Ron Reed)
As an actor, how do you let go of a past character as you transition from one role to the next so quickly? 

Well, each character demands your absolute full commitment and attention - you need to inhabit them as thoroughly as you can, particularly in rehearsal - and by giving yourself over to that, the transition just happens. If you happen to be performing one show while rehearsing another, the ritual of it all - arriving at the theatre, entering the space, putting on the costume, being in relation to your colleagues - that sort of just facilitates it, it just happens. It all has its own engine, its own momentum, and the trick is just being present in it, and allowing yourself to get swept up in that imaginary world.


(At work on set of The Exquisite Hour in 2012. Photo credit: Jessie van Rijn)
As you were in the original play reading of Us & Everything We Own and have seen the changes in the script, what would you say is your favourite thing about this story? 

It's so darn timely. Young adults living in Vancouver will definitely see themselves in the piece, and recognize the central issue - the model of our parents' generation no longer applies. The expectation and promise of if-you-do-this-then-you-get-this-and-if-you-want-this-then-simply-follow-these-simple-steps...it's not the case anymore. Unfortunately, a university education does not guarantee a job, and a job does not necessarily guarantee the kind of financial return that will allow you to buy a home... It's hard to come to terms with this, and it raises all sorts of questions, it makes you question every choice you've made, and urges you to re-examine this whole notion of value, and of success.

(Julie [centre] with her mom [right] and friend Alison MacDonald [left]. Photo credit: Jessie van Rijn)

What do you think audiences can learn from the characters of Us & Everything We Own

Well, I wouldn't necessarily encourage anyone to follow in the steps of any one character in particular (I think we all do questionable things), but witnessing these four individual journeys will definitely cause you to reflect on your own ideas and expectations. The notion of integrity for example, and of compromise. How much can you sacrifice while still maintaining your sense of self? How much can you change, and yet still recognize and be proud of what you see reflected back to you? And there's this great tension between a "reach for the stars, follow your dreams" mentality and a "grow up already!" practicality. Sean explores some great themes here, and I'm eager to see how people respond.

Such great answers! Thanks for sharing Julie! 

Make sure you see Julie in Us & Everything We Own from April 4 -13, 2013 at PAL Studio Theatre (581 Cardero St). Tickets: $12 - $22. More information at brownpapertickets.com

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you there! 

-Jessica Van Elk
Producing Assistant 







Thursday, March 14, 2013

Second-Hand Pop-Up Shop

This weekend Twenty Something Theatre will be hosting a second-hand clothing sale as our first fundraising event of the year! 


Gals, we all have the same problem: an overflowing closet, a shopping addiction and an unhappy credit card. But through this event we can use our love for clothes and shopping for a positive cause. All proceeds of the fundraiser will help Twenty Something Theatre continue to produce the edgy contemporary theatre we have become known for.

This Second-Hand Pop-Up Shop will be a one-day only Twenty Something Theatre boutique with a selection of clothes and shoes that are in good condition. From Steve Madden to Banana Republic to vintage finds on March 16th you will be able to find a treasure, sip on tea and munch on a cookie, all while supporting the work of Twenty Something Theatre.

Date: Saturday, March 16th
Time: 12-4 pm
Place: Shhhh...it's a secret.

(That's why it's a "pop-up shop". To get the details you'll need to RSVP to assistant[@]twentysomethingtheatre[dot].com)

Spend the afternoon with us AND find some new threads for your wardrobe!!

See you there!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Monday, March 11, 2013

Us & Everything We Own: The Production Team


Mark Carter (Production Manager) - Mark is a local director, technician, producer and actor, as well as the founding Artistic Director of DSR Productions. Last month he finished his forth year as Production Manager for Full Circle’s Talking Stick Festival. Gotta love telling people I’m Twenty Something… http://dsrproductions.com/mark-carter.html.


Melanie Thompson (Stage Manager) - Melanie's recent credits include The Girl in the Frame (Intimate Theatre), Grease (Footlight Theatre), The Spitfire Grill (Midnight Theatre Collective/Pacific Theatre), Kutz & Dawgs (MISCELLANEOUS Productions/Vancouver International Children’s Festival), The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre) and The Marvelous Wonderettes (Hey Look! It’s A Co-op). When not stage managing, Melanie writes and edits grant applications and other copy of all kinds. http://melaniejthompson.wordpress.com

Kaitlin Williams (Costume Designer) - Primarily an actor, Kaitlin has recently been enjoying stretching herself into the world of costume design. Previous design credits include Bash (Hardline Theatre), Picasso at the Lapin Agile and It’s all in the Timing (UBC Medplay Society) as well as assistant designing Debts (ITSAZOO). Up next, Kaitlin will once again be taking on the role of Lucy in Pacific Theatre’s touring production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Big thanks to Sabrina for this opportunity! www.kaitlinwilliams.com.


Alia Stephen (Lighting Designer) - This is Alia’s first production with Twenty Something. Recent lighting design credits include The Boyfriend, Hello, Dolly!, The Crucible, 7 Stories (Exit 22), The Duchess (UBC), Adding Machine (Pipedream), and Supernatural Noir (Fugue Theatre), for which she was nominated for 2011 Ovation Award. Her next upcoming project is set and lighting for Cucci and Cabana. Alia has a diploma in Technical Theatre from Capilano University and a BFA in Theatre Production and Design from UBC.
Craig Alfredson (Set Designer) - Craig has been working professionally for 15 years as a technical director and designer for various Vancouver theatre and dance companies. He holds a diploma in Stagecraft from Douglas College (1999), Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia (2009) and is currently pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts in Design at the University of British Columbia. Recent design credits include Hansel & Gretel (Set, UBC Opera Ensemble); Unity 1918, Master Builder, Arms and the Man (Lighting, Theatre at UBC); Stuff Happens, Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout, Vimy (Set and Projections,Firehall Theatre); Tough! (Set, Twenty Something Theatre); 7 Stories (Set and Projections, Capilano University).