Thursday, June 27, 2013

Edmonton Bound

I’m not quite sure what to say. Or, how to say it. Especially as I sit at my desk in my co-working office space preparing to pack up all my crap and my super old iMac (circa 2007 old, Firefox isn’t even compatible with this system anymore, old). But, as you may have gathered by now, by the subject heading to this blog post, I am moving. To Edmonton.

Why?! I have been accepted into the MFA Theatre Design program at U of A and I start classes September 4th.

Between now and then, I am also going to Africa for a month. I was originally supposed to go in the fall but once I was accepted to the MFA program I knew I couldn’t just give up years of planning and saving so I decided to go anyways. So, now I leave for Africa in 2 weeks. I’ll be bushwacking through the Maasai Mara and Serengeti before diving in the Zanzibar Archipelago and returning home. For 2 weeks. Then Edmonton.

Don't worry I'll still be a Canucks fan even if it means getting beaten up at Rexall Place by Oilers fans

I am so excited for all of it.

I've been dreaming about going to Africa since I was a kid and I saw Reese Witherspoon in this Disney film called “A Far off Place”. I haven’t seen it since. Who knows?! It may well be the cheesiest movie of all time. All I know is that movie made me want to go to Africa so bad it’s been stuck in my mind ever since. For 20 years. And now, as an adult, I know the movie and reality are probably far from the same but still I get to check one more item off my bucket list.

From the movie "A Far Off Place". Seriously, who wouldn't want to be on this adventure?!

And, okay, I’m not going to lie and say I’m excited about the Edmonton weather. I’ve never lived anywhere colder than Vancouver my whole life. I’ve lived in other cities but all of them fairly mild and temperate much like Vancouver. So, I have no idea how I am going to fair in -15 to -30 degree weather but, hey, it’s an adventure. But, most importantly I am very excited about the program at U of A. And, excited to be become part of a whole other theatre community.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Vancouver. As was said, many times over at the Jessie awards Monday night, we have a great community and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of it. But, I’ve been feeling for awhile now the need for a change and now the time for that change has come. So, while I feel slightly anxious about leaving the home and community I have built here in Vancouver over the past 9 years, I am excited for what lies ahead. And, what lies ahead is completely unknown and that is frightening and exhilarating all at the same time.

This pretty much says it all.
What does this mean for Twenty Something?! Well, it means that things will be changing in that department too; but, I believe that is also good thing. I founded this company and have been managing it for the past 7 years. Mostly on my own. It’s time now to let the reigns go a little and eventually let them go entirely to make room for the new “next generation of artists”. By the time I’m done my MFA I most definitely won’t be “twentysomething” I’ll be more along the lines of “mid-thirtysomething” (F*ck me, that freaks me out).

But, that’s a few years away (Thank God) so as for now and the rest of 2013, everything will continue as planned with Brian directing and producing Speech & Debate. I have been wanting to program this play for a few years now but the timing has never been right so I am super excited to have Brian directing it with a phenomenal cast. This play is funny and provocative and just a whole ton of fun. I really hope, and encourage you, to all come out and support Brian in his first project with Twenty Something.

Then for a variety of reasons nothing will be planned for 2014 until after The Bomb-itty of Errors opens at The Arts Club in April of next year. Brian will be taking on more of the day to day managing of Twenty Something while I am away but overall not much will change between now and next year at this time. After that, well, we’ll figure that out. And, we’ll make announcements as to further plans for Twenty Something’s 2014 season probably some time in December later this year.

I’m still going to be actively involved in The Out Vigil project we have in development (see previous blog post) but beyond that I have no clue what life in Edmonton will bring me. So, for the most part, I am going to hand this blog over to Brian (and Jess, Producing Assistant for this year). I might post a few things every now and then but for now I’m just going to let this little video do the talking for me...

~Sabrina Evertt,
 Artistic Producer

Friday, June 14, 2013

Spotlight 2014

Since Twenty Something Theatre’s first foray into the world of new play development in 2010 with the introduction of the annual Spotlight production featuring an emerging playwright on a 3-year cycle we have produced and put out into the world 2 brand new Canadian plays. This commitment to the development of new Canadian plays has now become one of the main objectives and values of the company. This year – after taking a year off – the Spotlight production returns once more to featuring a local emerging playwright: Julie McIsaac and her play The Out Vigil

After seeing a public reading of the play back in 2011, I have kept this play in the back of my mind and when it came time to choose a new playwright for our Spotlight production I knew instantly who and what play I would choose. Julie has a long history with Twenty Something Theatre having performed the lead role of Evelyn in our 2007 production of The Shape of Things, she was involved early on in the development process for Prodigals - our first Spotlight production featuring playwright Sean Minogue - and most recently contributed to the development and performed the role of Rachel in Sean’s second play, Us & Everything We Own.

But beyond all this history, The Out Vigil, is a play that is different than anything Twenty Something Theatre has produced before and I couldn’t be happier to have this play as our next new play in development. Below is a little more on the play and Julie’s experience as a theatre artist as well as some of her personal history as it relates to the The Out Vigil:

Combining music and myth, folklore and fact, The Out Vigil is the story of Lizzie Brown from Little Harbour, Newfoundland. Haunted by the ghosts of her crumbling community and struggling in the wake of feckless rituals and fading traditions, Lizzie must tread carefully as she navigates new hazards and superstitions among the foolhardy king crab fisherman of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. How can she plan for a future when her ancestors’ ways have been all but abandoned, and only further loss seems certain?

Julie McIsaac is a multi-faceted theatre artist already well known to the Vancouver community. In addition to her award-winning work as an actor/singer/musician, she is an intriguing emerging director, and is highly sought-after as an arts educator throughout the Lower Mainland. A graduate of Carleton University and the Canadian College of Performing Arts, Julie’s work as a playwright began with a year-long mentorship with dramaturge Christopher Weddell – over the course of which she developed the original one-act Incidental Music. The development of The Out Vigil is an exciting new project; the result of many years’ work, including a previous public reading and a research trip to Newfoundland, both in 2011.

Julie’s paternal ancestors hail from the cliffs of Cape Breton and the fjords of Norway, and she grew up on the shores of Georgian Bay, in a small francophone community not far from Penetanguishene, Ontario (the Huron name of the town roughly translates as “land of the white rolling sands”). She remembers her childhood home as an unlikely and brazen structure, its wooden beams and rough stones silent among the birches at the edge of the wilderness, its nighttime’s darkness periodically interrupted by the transiting beam of a nearby lighthouse.

Here, Julie recalls, one was raised knowing the nearby waters were to be both loved and feared. Though celebrated for being clear, warm, and calm, “the Bay” was also known for its sudden storms and unseen rocks and shoals. And while Julie’s father was an avid boater and swimmer, her mother’s relationship with the water was decidedly different, having been informed by some frightening early experiences, as well as a sudden tragedy that forever changed the fabric of the family.

Not surprisingly, maritime culture has long been a source of fascination and inspiration for Julie, and this play is a tribute to the evocative rites and symbols of these sea-faring peoples, and a dramatic look at the perilous practices of fishing communities both old and new. Proud to be a bilingual artist, Julie hopes to later translate The Out Vigil into Acadian French.

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer