Friday, May 30, 2008

June 13-28: COTTON PATCH GOSPEL at Gallery 7

The Greatest Story Ever RE-told
Cotton Patch Gospel
Book by Tom Key and Russel Treyz
Music and Lyrics by Harry Chapin
June 13 & 14, 19 - 21, 26 - 28, 2008 @ 7:30 PM
Discount Matinees: June 14 & 21 @ 2:00 PM
MEI Secondary School Auditorium
4081 Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford
Tickets: check the Gallery 7 website

Lloyd Arnett (TWU Theatre) directs G7 Artistic Director Ken Hildebrandt in the Tom Key classic. "Celebrate the life of Jesus in a whole new way with this modernized re-telling of the Gospel story. Set in rural Georgia during a time not too distant from our own, the disciple Matthew takes us on a grand adventure as he recounts Christ's dynamic impact on the world, from His birth to ministry to death to resurrection. An entertaining musical feast for the soul, Cotton Patch Gospel is a poignant experience for the entire family."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

June 10: Final Stage & Screen Night at PT

Join Pacific Theatre's Artistic Director Ron Reed and special guest Jan Keisser for the last in our series of Stage & Screen nights. We'll be talking about PT's current show, the sparkling comedy YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. Members of the cast will be joining us to show some scenes from our production, and we'll be comparing not only the beloved 1938 Frank Capra film treatment, which fundamentally changes the focus of the story, but also a videotape of the 1984 Broadway revival starring Jason Robards.

For more about celebrated Canadian cinematographer Jan Keisser, check the Stage & Screen post about DRIVING MISS DAISY. And you can get a sneak preview of some of my thoughts over at the Soul Food Movies blog.

Hope to see you there!

For tickets to Stage & Screen or the Pacific Theatre production of YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, call our box office at 731-5518 or order online. And if you want a look at the DVD... You know where to go... Videomatica!


This season's special Stage and Screen events have been sponsored by Rhema Health Products. You know, it's easy to assume that sponsorship for the arts is some obligatory thing that multinational corporations dole out, a tiny line item from a massive budget that's portioned out from some remote corporate office someplace. But at Pacific Theatre, these sponsors really are just like anybody else in our audience: enthusiastic fans of the work we create who step forward to get involved. Less than 7% of our annual budget comes from government sources, and 3% from large public foundations: all the rest is from our audience, who buy tickets and subscriptions (about 45% of our revenue) and make charitable donations (the other 45%), whether as individuals or through the companies and foundations they are involved with.

This amazing support from Rhema is an especially great story. In 2006, a couple contacted us out of the blue and said they were long-time fans who had just seen A BRIGHT PARTICULAR STAR and decided it was time to begin supporting Pacific Theatre's work financially. Within a couple weeks a cheque arrived for $7000, a year ago they increased that support to $10,000 (to sponsor our Stage & Screen series), and this year they've decided to make that $15,000 to underwrite next season's Emerging Artist Showcase production of YOU STILL CAN'T.

Artists can feel pretty isolated and unsupported. But that hasn't been Pacific Theatre's story, because of the extraordinary affirmation and practical support of our audience. It's not just a platitude to say that PT is more than just a group of actors and other theatre artists: those folks are just the most visible part of a pretty large community of people who are as invested in the life of this company as the ones you see onstage or in the office. Thanks Rhema. Thanks, Holy Trinity Church. Thanks, all of you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

June 1: Eastside Story Guild


This show is selling like mad, and it's no surprise - look at these amazing photos of an equally amazing cast. Credit for these works of photographic magic must go to, a Vancouver-based company providing high quality film and digital photography.

Kolenkhov demonstrates his wrestling prowess.

Kolenkhov (Thomas Gage)

"There was a young lady from Wheeling who had a remarkable feeling" (Laura van Dyke as Gay Wellington)

Penny Sycamore, Tony Kirby, and Essie

Essie offers up her Love Dreams.

"Well Sir, here we are again."

Brett Ziegler, Rebecca Branscom, and John Voth

Rhoda and Rheba (Anne Youm and Jacqueline Youm)

Soul Food: YCT, Cashe, Aaron, PT Founders Return!, etc.

Quick Soul Food buffet.  Click on the links for much more!

Classic comedy closes June 14.  We're in week two of the run, and the tickets are going fast: I believe the matinees are already sold out.  Lots at the blog; production photos, shots of the set model, even an opportunity for you to do a walk-on part in a mainstage PT show! And over at Soul Food Movies, a piece about the film versions that's mostly about the play itself - diligent readers will realize it's pretty much my director's notes from the YCT program. 

May 31 & June 7, Leora (a Christmas Presence regular, currently living far away, back in town to make some music) is the featured soloist with the Beata Vocal Ensemble and Carousel Chorus. Then June 23 she's doing Jazz Vespers ("Gospel Comes Home"), followed by her Jazz Festival gig June 28 singing jazz interpretations of Joni Mitchell tunes. Welcome back, Leora!

is playing a benefit June 16, her jazz material. I saw a gig in Langley a month ago where she also mixed in her older power guitar pop tunes, and my gosh, that girl can rock!  A treat, too, to finally see John Cody working out on the drums - wow.  

Dec 14-16 on the PT stage we'll be reuniting Elaine Adamian Myers, Allen Desnoyers, Byron Linsey, Roy Salmond and me to recreate Pacific Theatre's first-ever production, FIRST CHRISTMAS, which we staged back in 1984!  An incredible celebration at the centre of our 25th Anniversary Season.  We're reserving half the theatre at the Sunday show for all of you who were there that first season - details to follow.

And while you're catching up on PT, check out the audience response to THE WOODSMAN. Lowest-attended PT show in I don't know how many years, but no regrets - read those letters and you'll see why.  (And hey - if you skipped that one, you can make it up by taking everybody you know to YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU.)  

With YCT rehearsals done, our season chosen and even a new General Manager hired (! more on that in due time), this young man's thoughts turn to...  The movies.  / SON OF RAMBOW may be the first time the Plymouth Brethren get themselves a feature film - and no, I'm not talking about a group of vintage car enthusiasts.  Think Regent College.  Think University Chapel and Marineview.  (Though you won't be that much closer.)  Small British coming-of-age comedy is darn near perfect story of boyhood friendship (and cinephilia) for its first half,well worth seeing even though it loses its way after the midpoint.  Religion not necessarily The Good Guy in this one, but by the end I couldn't help wondering if there's more than a little autobiography in it, and that while the Brethren may be in the filmmaker's past, God wasn't left behind so easily. Sweet film. / And speaking of rarely-filmed Christian sects (and rarely-filmed Christian sex, too, now that I think of it), the Soul Food Movie Moment so far this year looks to be the screening of SILENT LIGHT at the VanCity June 5-12. Filmed by Mexican enfant terrible Carlos Reygadas among the old order Mennonites, the picture was feted at Cannes a year ago, with references to Terence Malick and ORDET.  Yum. / THE BAND'S VISIT is back at the Hollywood this week, as is my favourite Soul Food pic so far this year, IN BRUGES (Wed and Thu 9:15 only) - the hired-killers-on-the-lam black comedy and meditation on mortality is also at Granville 7. Also at G7 is the latest very flawed Mamet, REDBELT - which nevertheless moved me deeply, spiritually even, with its portrayal of the central character - finding Soul Food in some very odd places these days!  / And whoa, what do you know!  According to Cinemaclock, U23D is back at the Canada Place IMAX theatre - I saw it twice, rekindled my religious almost-devotion to God's Rock Band.  / Oh, and also at soulfoodmovies, the Halliwell Top 1000 list: it's pretty heavy on Brit pics little known over here, and has leans toward vintage films, but a darn fine list nonetheless.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

December 14-16: FIRST CHRISTMAS Reunites Original Company!

Just yesterday I was sitting with a friend from Regent College, talking about the people who founded Pacific Theatre with me 24 years ago. Talking about our very first show, FIRST CHRISTMAS: AN ENTERTAINMENT, and reflecting on how different those times were - and yet, how much connection there still is.  Our annual CHRISTMAS PRESENCE is a fixture at PT, evenings of readings and music woven together (however loosely) into some sort of vaguely cohesive celebration - essentially, a pulled-together-on-the-spot version of the first production the company ever mounted, back in 1984.  (Even stranger, I was on the phone with someone from Rosebud yesterday - they needed Father Damien's glasses for their production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF - who knew they had lepers in Russia in 1905? - and when she needed to phone the office to make some arrangements, she asked if the number was 222-8226.  Oy vey. Some sort of time warp thing going on here?)

Well, this morning I received confirmation from the last of the original performers.  In celebration of the company's 25th Anniversary Season, the three performances of CHRISTMAS PRESENCE which we stage at Pacific Theatre will feature the founding PT company reading the pieces that comprised our debut production.  Allen Desnoyers, Elaine Adamian, Byron Linsey, Roy Salmond and I - backed by the Nelson Boschmann Trio and Michael Hart Spencer Capier and Brett Ziegler and Rick Colhoun and who knows who else, that ever-expanding Christmas Presence house band - will revisit the show that started it all.  (The off-site performances, at Sutherland Chapel in North Vancouver and the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Clearbrook, will be CHRISTMAS PRESENCE as usual).

If you were a Pacific Theatre fan in those earliest days - if you saw FIRST CHRISTMAS or BACKSTAGE TOUR or THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE or FISH TALES or INTO AN EMPTY ROOM - we're going to hold a whole lot of seats for you for the Sunday, December 14 performance, as well as a smattering of seats for the 15th and 16th.  We can't hold them forever - CHRISTMAS PRESENCE always sells out early, mostly to our subscribers, and they'll be clamoring for tickets - but if you go back to that very first season or two at PT, call the box office soon (604 731-5518) and we'll make sure you get a seat.  (Once I can confirm numbers and dates with the box office, we'll provide an actual cut-off date for those "birthday party" seats.)

I'm so psyched!  Anybody else remember "The Truth From Above"?  


PS  At the risk of sounding all corporate and everything, I do want to mention that the Rosedale On Robson Suite Hotel is the sponsor of all five of this year's CHRISTMAS PRESENCE events, the three at PT plus the off-site shows on the North Shore and in the Valley.  Now, that might sound all official and corporate-sponsorship-agreement-y to you, but not to me.  These folks are our pals, very much a part of the Pacific Theatre circle, just like any of our other fans: fact is, they contacted us out of the blue to ask if they could help us out in the first place!  They provide us with free accommodations for visiting out-of-town artists (see the FIRST CHRISTMAS tie-in?), they send us bucks that help keep the whole operation operating, and they include promotion of our shows in their radio advertising - all at their initiative.  Can you believe it?  So it's more than just their name on our programme: they're every bit as much a part of Pacific Theatre as our artists, our volunteers, or anybody else in our audience.  No wonder they won the 2007 Globe & Mail Business and the Arts Partnership Award - national recognition for their enthusiastic support of Pacific Theatre.

Monday, May 26, 2008

May 31, June 7, 23, 28 - Leora Cashe

Let My Spirit Sing!
Beata Vocal Ensemble, Carousel Chorus & special guest, Leora Cashe

Two Shows!
Saturday, May 31st, 8pm
North Lonsdale United Church
3380 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
Tickets for May 31st, call 604-261-7854

Saturday, June 7th, 8pm
Knox United Church
5600 Balaclava Street, Vancouver
Tickets for June 7th, call 604-523-9404

Beata Vocal Ensemble, in collaboration with the Carousel Chorus, is proud to present "Let My Spirit Sing"- an evening of sacred music with special guest vocalist, Leora Cashe. This unique concert event is a celebration of spirit and community with songs drawn from jazz, classical, soul, spiritual and gospel styles. Led by the talented and charismatic director, Crystal Bergman, the program moves from the ethereal harmonies of small a cappella groupings to the pulse of vibrant, captivating rhythms and arrangements combining all the singers and instrumentalists on stage. Grounded in her jazz and gospel roots, Cashe illuminates the stage with her rich and innovative vocal style. With an exquisite range of emotional power, Cashe engages listeners of all ages- from her spirit-raising "It's Time to Sing" to her soulful rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game". The union of Cashe with Beata and Carousel ignites a brilliant alchemy of something bigger, richer, and deeper than the sum of the individual voices. Together they weave a beautiful tapestry of sound and spirit.
Come join Beata and our special guests for an unforgettable evening sure to make your spirits sing!
Both performances will include ASL sign language interpretation.
For more information please call: 604-523-9404

June 23 - 12 noon
Jazz Vespers presents: Gospel Comes Home

St. Andrews Wesley United Church, Nelson & Burrard
With Ross Taggart -piano, Paul Rushka -bass, and Buff Allen- drums.

June 28 - 9:00 pm
ANOTHER SIDE NOW - The Songs of Joni Mitchell
Vancouver International Jazz Festival

O'Douls Restaurant and Bar
1300 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
With Ross Taggart -piano, Paul Rushka -bass

Leora Cashe and The Ross Taggart Trio pay tribute to Canadian icon Joni Mitchell, one of our most influential and innovative recording artists. Grounded in her jazz and gospel roots, vocalist Leora Cashe reaches into the core of the listener with an exquisite range of emotional power. Her rich resounding voice illuminates the stage bringing her own soulful perspective to these Joni classics. She's accompanied by the swinging Ross Taggart Trio and, together, their arrangements capture fresh creative statements where folk, jazz and gospel combine reflecting the sophistication in Joni's early folk recordings.

From the Afro-Cuban beat of 'Carey' to the gospel tinged' Big Yellow Taxi,' Joni Mitchell's songs are as poignant today as they were forty years ago and the limitless possibilities of the jazz spectrum creates the perfect picture frame to revisit songs like 'Circle Game', 'Chelsea Morning', 'Woodstock', 'Michael From Mountains', 'The Gallery', Both Sides Now', 'Rainy Night House' and others. For Leora Cashe and The Ross Taggart Trio, 'Another Side Now' is a tribute to Mitchell's artistry and inspiration. They adore her music and it shows! Join them in this swinging soul filled intimate evening of music. Featuring Juno Award winning pianist Ross Taggart (Hugh Fraser Quintet/Ian McDougal Sextet), Juno nominated acoustic bassist Darren Radtke (Denzal Sinclair), and Juno Award winning drummer Buff Allen (Moe Koffman, Ed Bickert).

Friday, May 23, 2008

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU - production photos

Check out these great photos of You Can't Take it With You, taken by Damon Calderwood.

Vanderhof-Sycamore Family Photo (with friends!)

Brett Ziegler and Kerri Norris as Ed and Penny

Thomas Gage as Kholenkhov and Christy Gage as Essie

Rebecca Branscom as Alice and John Voth as Tony;
Jacqueline Youm as Rheba and Anne Youm as Rhoda

...And people are crazy about this show! Here's what they're saying:

"A marvelous performance. "

"I went to the play on Saturday and loved it! I have and will be recommending it to as many people as I can. "

"I want to thank one and all for the great work you did in the presentation last night.
My friends and I enjoyed the play so much.
What a lot of hard work you've all put into it but I believe you will have great success."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU: Wanna be a star? Walk-ons needed.

At the end of the second act, we need a couple men each night to spend about a minute onstage, say about one or two lines each, and wear a cool looking trench coat and fedora. Want to?

Last I heard, our stage manager (Lois Dawson) was still looking for actors for the following performances:

Friday, May 30
Saturday, May 31 (Both Matinee and Evening)
Friday, June 6
Saturday, June 7 (Both Matinee and Evening)
Friday, June 13
Saturday, June 14 (Both Matinee and Evening) (CLOSING)

If you're interested, email Lois:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jun 16: Lee Aaron benefit for Semiahmoo Family Place

Hello Friends,

I'm on the Board of Directors for the non-profit children's resource centre below and will be performing for their upcoming fundraiser. It's a local show, and should be a really fun evening, with silent auction, wine and Chocolate buffet!
Semiahmoo Family Place is the only parent-run family resource in B.C. and has made a difference in the lives of families in our community for the past 17 years by offering programs, education, and a safe play environment for parents/caregivers of small children to network, support and learn from each other.

Hope you are able to make it!

Karen Cody ("Lee Aaron")

May 25: Pacific Rim String Quartet at Pacific Theatre

A note from the artistic director of the Pacific Rim String Quartet
Hello friends,

Just a reminder that the next Music at Pacific concert, featuring the Pacific Rim String Quartet (of which I’m the cellist) is this coming Sunday, May 25, at 3:00 PM. The PRSQ will be joined by Eric Wilson, UBC cello professor, in Schubert’s magnificent Quintet for 2 violins, viola, and 2 cellos. The PRSQ’s performance of this piece last week at The Cellar was sold out, so make sure you reserve your tickets for this performance. Flutist Paolo Bortolussi will also join the PRSQ in works by Mozart and Beethoven.

Pacific Theatre is the perfect venue to experience chamber music, with only 120 seats. The furthest seat in the house is the 8th row.

If you don’t know Schubert’s great masterpiece, the String Quintet, don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the greatest works in chamber music live and in an intimate setting. If you do already know it, you won’t want to miss hearing it again.

Sunday, May 25, 3:00 PM
Pacific Theatre
1440 West 12th Ave. at Hemlock (one block east of Granville St.)
Box Office: 604-731-5518

Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Also, check out the PRSQ website at

Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

THE WOODSMAN: Audience response

May 13
I was quite impressed by The Woodsman. I thought it was excellent writing and was acted so well. Words like "naturally" and "compassionately" come to mind.
It's a shame the theatre wasn't filled every performance. I'm sure most people watch much more disturbing portrayals on weekly TV shows and the evening news.
For me, I just must remember not to plan anything in the real world right after the Saturday matinee. I was in a trance when I walked to an appointment with my tax accountant. I could have been run over by a bus.
Warm regards,
Margaret Brown
April 29
Thanks so much for putting on The Woodsman. It really struck a chord with me and I found it very moving, enlightening, and healing. Bravo!

- Mike Mason

And one more April 29 email, a PT friend passing along the response of his guests;
I thought you might like to read the email I received from a friend who is a deep thinker and theologian (not necessarily the same thing) whose wife is a high school principal. I gave them 2 tickets for the Friday night show:

"Thank you indeed for the tickets to the Woodsman. We both thought the play was both harrowing and magnificent. It caused us to talk about all the great themes of grace, forgiveness and repentance all the way home. I suspect that such conversations are the very thing Pacific Theatre hopes for."

Here is the real thank you: "We will subscribe next season."

Again, thank you for a great, courageous performance. Long may PT do the courageous thing that makes a difference in our community.

April 27
Just wanted to let you know that I went to see the matinee yesterday and I was so moved by the performances. Kudos to you for including this play in your season. Forget that PT is a Christian company, it's courageous for any Theatre Co. to produce it, much less a Christian one. But who better to present this difficult and uncomfortable subject with such tenderness and raw humanity.

I applaud you!
L. Ong

April 25

I have had some excellent discussions with my friends and family in regards to the compassion/ trust/ justice issues we should struggle with as a society and as individuals in regards to pedophiles.

I am a police officer and spent several years as sex crimes investigator. I interviewed many pedophiles over those years. Those were interesting conversations. Some were heart wrenching, many were frightening. We do ourselves a disservice to quickly demonize these individuals. Pacific theatre started an important conversation.

Thanks again for your efforts...

April 21
I often think about going to PT, but too often don't turn that into action. Perhaps it's the West Van thing. I'm glad I acted on my intention this time. The cast did a superb job of personifying a really ugly topic. I wasn't really surprised that so many in the audience stayed for the talkback session - at least one-third did - which speaks volumes to the fact they wanted to know more and/or understand, perhaps like me, what had drawn them to attend the play.

Since Saturday night, I've spoken to a few people about having gone to the play and the subject matter. The kindest response has involved dismemberment - and you know the "member" to which I refer. There seems to be a lot of anger / fear and very little grace offered up in this situation.

I was running an errand yesterday afternoon and passed a couple of pretty young girls wearing spring dresses. Normal enough. But my reaction wasn't normal - I was thinking of Walter, tortured by his past actions and seeking some modest sense of understanding and forgiveness from people just like me. My initial revulsion at the thought of someone violating those young girls turned to a door opening on the awareness that the perpetrator would also be a victim of sorts, in need of help as much as those whom he/she violated. Your play caused that door to open for me. Thank you.

Best regards, John Jennings

April 20
I was not planning on going to see the Woodsman. Due to circumstances I could not have foreseen I was invited to go by a good friend last night. Thus, to be with my friend I went to the play. I think he too was surprised he was there. (both of our wives were out of town)

I want to thank you for taking the risk of doing this play. I didn’t want to go because the topic made me queasy and I certainly didn’t want any grace for those f…king perverts. What I experienced was a profound sense of the complexity of sin, the power of friendships and the opportunity of hope in the midst of a sense of defeat in an area of personal struggle with sin (that we all have).

I am a better, more reflective person for having gone. The cast did a superb job as well.


April 17
As I drove home last night I was thinking of the parallels between the Woodsman and the 'Good Samaritan' story - With 'Nikki' being the Good Samaritan. The men were less than effective in the efforts to 'help' - it was only she, of foul mouth and loose morals, that saw the true person of Walter and loved without condition. Funny as I also saw Walter as someone beat up and bruised. A 'victim' by a very different definition from the common. This play does embody the identity of Pacific Theatre. Asking the questions - what is true Grace? What is forgiveness? Where, as a society are our lines drawn? Where as a person is my line drawn? A brilliant story, a brilliant cast, and a brilliant set, lighting, and sound. wow.

Rory Holland

A couple of my own thoughts in response to Rory's note...
Fabulous comments on THE WOODSMAN. Yeah, I'd say Nikki really is about the best embodiment of the samaritan I can think of at the moment: exactly the last person we think of as that means of grace (redemption through sex?). And yes, Dirk's portrayal of Walter is especially like the man beaten up by the side of the road: very guarded, damaged, wary of blows.

Yeah, parable. Absolutely. We have to turn our expectations, our understanding of what the world is and how it works, upside down to be able to receive this play - which is exactly how Jesus' parables were meant to work. Indeed, the "message" of the parable might never have been as important as the radical chiropractic realignment of our perceptions, preconceptions, attitudes. It's important that parables and theatre challenge specific beliefs about the world: it may be more important that they cause us to adopt a less rigid, fixed and certain general stance toward the world, and toward other people and God. And WOODSMAN demands that of us more than most.

(Further to that conversation, here's a link to Mark Van Steenwyk's thoughts on the way that Jesus' parables work, plus his list of "7 Flicks That Subvert," which includes - wouldn't you know - THE WOODSMAN.)
April 13
Once again, what a delight last night's performance was. Wow. The little girl shadowing Walter was brilliant - such a picture of innocence evoking feelings of fear and menace. But I found myself wondering - was it Walter or the girl who was the source of the menace? Or was it the tension between the two like a newly sober alcoholic and the wine on the table at a dinner party? Brilliant. Dirk van Stralen was totally believable and that takes so much work for it to appear so effortless, doesn't it? I mean, he really was Walter! Just like Camille became Robin.

Rosen was great and the merry go round metaphor is now stuck to my bathroom mirror. By going in circles, we find things we missed the first time around. It reminds me of "When I don't know what I'm doing, I'm doing research. Due to the abundance of 'Theatre Magic,' I completely missed the fact that Rosen, Carlos and Lucas were all played by the same actor!

Wish I could have stayed for the talk back but we have tickets for Stage & Screen evening so looking forward to that.

Lorri Romhanyi

April 10
Kudos to you! I saw ... _The Woodsman_ tonight and was very impressed insofar as I was often uncomfortable with the story unfolding before me. Uncomfortable in a good way ;-). The intimate venue and theatre in the round forced the audience, I think, to confront (or be complicit or part of) what was going on on the stage. At the same time to see other audience members watching the actors from the other side (and to know that I was similarly being watched) seemed to add a feeling of judgment, as if we were judging Walter as he unveiled himself to us. Do we damn him, forgive him, empathize with me??? To do the latter, does that mean we identify an equatable and undesirable aspect within ourselves? Dirk and Rebecca, in particular, were fabulous and handled the difficult subject matter very well. I was grateful to see such evenly acted (not over-the-top or uneven) performances. Just wanted to thank you for rising to the challenge putting on a difficult piece of theatre. It prompted a lively debate after the show with my fellow theatre-goer.

David van den Broek

April 7
Just wanted to say that we watched "The Woodsman" with some friends at Pacific Theatre on Saturday, and were blown away by the quality of the acting and the script. We noticed that the play's script included some scenes (or extended scenes) which were not in the film version, and which helped crystallize the "woodsman" theme. A gutsy choice for Pacific Theatre to put on. And very well performed.

Larry & Sylvia Adams

Apr 3
Just wanted to say thank you for the free tickets to see the Woodsman last night. Brilliant show, went to bed thinking about it, woke up thinking about it, and the more I think the more I relish it!

Every time I’m at Pacific Theatre I see something that feeds my soul...thanks for bringing truth and beauty to our city!

Janice Miller
Worship Arts Director
Langley Evangelical Free Church

And here is an email from Alison Chisholm, part of our staff at Pacific Theatre, with a beautifully personal response. A bit of a SPOILER warning for the first paragraph;
Hey Ron;

(The person who saw the play with Alison) liked it. He was relieved that it was not quite as graphic as the film. We both thought that Kevin Bacon was a lot creepier than Dirk, which was a good thing. I think (my friend)'s issues (with the film and play) were that Walter only redeemed himself after finding out the girl was already a victim (which my friend didn't seem was all that redemptive). We actually talked about it a lot after show. In the end we just concluded that there may not have been a permanent change in Walter, but that at least for a moment he was able to stop being a wolf to become the woodsman. Which I think is the whole point of the story. Everyone has the chance and capability to show compassion and be a hero, even if just for a moment. I really hope to make it out to the talk-back. ...

Thanks again for choosing this show. It means a lot to me, personally. I'm so proud to be on the staff of the company who produces shows such as this. It's just another great reminder as to why I work in theatre.

Thanks again,


Monday, May 12, 2008

May 13, 25: Pacific Rim String Quartet

Artistic Director Brian Mix writes...
Hello friends,

There are two performances of the Pacific Rim String Quartet coming up soon.

The first is Tuesday May 13, at the Cellar Restaurant & Jazz Club, 3611 West Broadway. This is presented by David Pay’s Music on Main series at the Cellar. Enjoy great classical music in a relaxed setting with dinner and dessert. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Please order your meal by 7:40 PM. Music starts around 8:00 PM. The Pacific Rim String Quartet will perform two works by Schubert: the vibrant Quartettsatz and the luminous and epic Quintet for 2 violins, viola, and 2 cellos. The guest cellist will be Eric Wilson, professor of cello at UBC and former cellist of the Emerson String Quartet. Seating is limited to 80, so book early through the Music on Main website ( Tickets will also be available at the door.

The second concert is part of the Pacific Rim String Quartet’s own series at Pacific Theatre, W. 12th and Hemlock. The date is Sunday, May 25 at 3:00 PM. The intimate space of Pacific Theatre is perfect for chamber music. The concert will feature Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D, Beethoven’s Serenade for flute, violin and viola, and a repeat performance of Schubert’s glorious String Quintet. Guest performers Paolo Bortolussi, flute, and Eric Wilson, cello will be joining the PRSQ. Only 120 seats are available, so book ahead through the Pacific Theatre website ( or phone 604-731-5518. Tickets will also be available at the door.

If you don’t know Schubert’s great masterpiece, the String Quintet, don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the greatest works in chamber music live and in an intimate setting. If you do already know it, you won’t want to miss hearing it again.

Tuesday May 13, 8:00 PM
Cellar Restaurant & Jazz Club

Sunday, May 25, 3:00 PM
Pacific Theatre

Also, check out the PRSQ website at

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

THE WOODSMAN: Reflections from a Cast Member

Hey Ron,

I suppose I didn't really want to feel this, but I miss the show.

I woke up Sunday morning after closing with tears streaming down my cheeks, and the subsequent days here in Wells have been quite a process of letting go; long tensed-up muscles in my back have been slowly relaxing, and I've been feeling waves of powerful emotions rolling through me as I let go of Walter.

The Woodsman was one of the richest and most profound theatrical experiences of my life – emotionally, personally, technically and artistically. My experience of the process was grace-filled and bathed in a particularly spectacular light the whole way through. I felt an intense need to be a good steward of this production, and was frightened at the commitment level I knew it would require. Morris made the rehearsal hall a very safe place to work in, however, and fear was replaced by the exhilaration of the challenge.

The cacophony of souls on this show produced a uniquely beautiful song I will treasure for years to come. I loved / hated playing the show each night, and could think of little else throughout the run, even on days off.

I have never had a theatre experience where the sense of audience participation in the show was so utterly palpable, even if most people stayed away in droves. There was a tangible feeling each time that those who dared come were challenged, stirred, offended and moved. So rare!

This experience was a much-needed reminder for me of the privilege it is to be a artist, to say nothing of the sort of miraculous transcendence a play with themes as ugly as this one can inspire. I haven't felt so alive in my art, my loves, my life or my sense of purpose for a very long time.

Moreover, doing a play about a man whose deepest secrets are on the table has inspired new levels of trust and honesty in my own relationships that have awakened, challenged – even threatened – and renewed them in an almost embarrassing flood of riches.

I am humbled and feel beyond lucky to have been a part of this.

Thank you thank you thank you.

Much love,


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 15 - Jun 14: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Pacific Theatre

The Comic Classic by George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart
at Pacific Theatre | 1440 West 12th Avenue emerging artist showcase

Wednesdays to Saturdays 8pm, Saturday matinees at 2pm
Pay what you can preview May 15, on day-of at door, or $10 in advance.

TICKETS: 604.731.5518 or email
You can also BUY ONLINE

Vancouver, BC – May 15-June 14 (opens May 16)

It’s the middle of The Great Depression, but there’s nothing depressing about life in the Vanderhof-Sycamore household – they dance, they make plays, they make music and babies and revolutionary tracts, and fireworks in the basement. All is peaceful anarchy until Alice brings home her all-too-ordinary Wall Street boyfriend…

Join Pacific Theatre and Theatre at TWU in lauding the remarkable talent of emerging artists, ranging in age and background, and coming to you from Vancouver, all over the Lower Mainland, and as far away as Arlington, Virginia. You can’t take them with you, but you can invest in their passion and talent, and laugh out loud all the way home. Starring Karl Petersen (Curious Savage), Rebecca Branscom (The Importance of Being Earnest), and John Voth (Pride and Prejudice), and directed by Ron Reed (A Bright Particular Star), this first rate comedy is not to be missed!

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s sharply funny classic won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 – it premiered at the Booth Theater and ran for an astonishing 837 performances. It was the basis for the 1938 Academy Award-winning Frank Capra film starring Lionel Barrymore and James Stewart. Frank Capra took home the award for Best Director and the show won Best Picture.

For those of you who think you’ve seen the movie so you don’t need to see the play, you’re making a big mistake! Uproarious errors combined with acerbic social criticism will make this play one of the most enjoyable shows ever presented on the Pacific Theatre stage.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Five Actors

What do these five actors have in common?

Keir Dullea Broadway credits; Doubles, P. S. Your Cat Is Dead!, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Butterflies Are Free, Dr. Cook's Garden. Film credits; Hoodlum Priest, David & Lisa (Golden Globe winner), The Fox, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Good Shepherd.

Mia Dillon Broadway credits; Our Town, The Miser, Hay Fever, The Corn Is Green, Agnes Of God, Crimes of the Heart (Tony nominee), Once A Catholic (Drama Desk nominee), Da. Co-starred with Jane Curtin and Paul Newman in Newman's return to live theater at Westport Country Playhouse, Connecticut, in "Our Town", June 2002.

Chris Sarandon Broadway credits; Cyrano de Bergerac, The Light in the Piazza, Nick & Nora, Censored Scenes From King Kong, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Rothschilds. Film credits; Dog Day Afternoon (Leon Shermer), The Day Christ Died (Christ), The Osterman Weekend, The Princess Bride (Prince Humperkinck), The Nightmare Before Christmas (Jack Skellington).

Joanna Gleason Broadway credits; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony nominee, Drama Desk nominee), Into the Woods (Tony winner, Drama Desk winner), Nick & Nora, Social Security (Drama Desk winner), Joe Egg (Tony nominee, Drama Desk nominee), The Real Thing, I Love My Wife (Theatre World winner). Film credits; Hannah & Her Sisters (Carol), Crimes & Misdemeanors (Wendy Stern), Mr Holland's Opus, Boogie Nights.

Libby Skala LiLiA!, A Time To Dance, Twelfe Night, etc.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

May 3-10: Lucia Frangione in NO EXIT

Hey, we just opened No Exit last night at the Digital Centre for Media Arts off Great Northern Way. Electric/Virtual. I have to say, it's a really cool show. I think you'd really like it. It closes May 10th, catch it if you can. It's a neat hybrid of film and theatre, I'm loving every second of this. So nice to be acting again. .... Lucia

by Jean-Paul Sartre
A Live-Cinematic Interpretation from Director Kim Collier
the French existentialist masterpiece
co-produced by Electric Company and The Virtual Stage
starring Lucia Frangione, Laara Sadiq, Andy Thompson and Jonathon Young

May 1 - May 10 at the Centre for Digital Media at the Great Northern Way Campus, Vancouver

Tickets and information: Click Here or call Tickets Tonight at 604.684.2787

In May 2008 Electric Company joins forces with The Virtual Stage in a production of Jean-Paul Sartre's modern classic No Exit. Virtual Stage Artistic Director Andy Thompson approached Kim Collier to direct the play and Kim quickly began to envision a concept that will result in the presentation of both a live performance and a film, simultaneously. This project is in some ways a departure for Electric Company, but it represents a natural continuation of our investigation into the intersections of live and mediated performance.

In the Hangar at the Digital Media Centre we are building our own hotel room as the site where Sartre's three characters must endure each other's company for eternity. This sense of entrapment will be intensified as the actors will be literally confined within the four walls of the tiny room. Through modern projection technology will audiences be able to watch with cinematic intimacy, a meticulously staged live film of what goes on inside the box.

But that's not all... Inhabiting the space between audience, hotel room and giant movie screen is the play's minor character, The Valet (Jonathon Young). Just what he gets up to out there beyond the confines of the script must be seen to be believed. By creating a theatrical space around the walls that traditionally define the perimetre of No Exit, we are widening the frame and possibly finding an exit to this famous play about eternal damnation.

THE WOODSMAN: One Last Audience Letter

May 2

I am a PT season ticket holder (several years now) who attended last Saturday night's play, The Woodsman. I stayed for the talkback session afterwards and hoped to speak briefly with you following that, but since others were already approaching you, I left.

A few days later I was enjoying brunch with a friend at Sophie's in Kits when friend Ian Farthing dropped by, and the talk drifted to the topic of theatre. I brought up the play and my reaction to it, and Ian encouraged me to email my thoughts to you. I do hope this gets to you, Ron, it often seems professional email accounts don't get accessed as frequently as personal ones, but here goes.

I still cannot get that play out of my head. It was riveting. I've described it to friends as both raw and gentle, sweet and repugnant, brutal and yet oozing grace. Who would have guessed, given the subject matter?

And the audience talkback was such a bonus--a thoughtful, sensitive way for all of us to go a bit deeper and make some sense of the emotional overload. It was comforting to connect with others who were also struggling to process this.

The whole experience felt scary, holy and a privilege. (Those words seem strangely out of context to me now, but that was my exact comment which prompted Ian's suggestion I contact you.)

I so admire your very bold decision to stage this play, and your commitment to its themes. And thank you for the background blurb you wrote in the programme.

It occurred to me later that there are blessed places the audience cannot get to unless we dare walk into very uncomfortable territory. And because you took the risk, we all benefitted.

Thank you.

Anita Orendi

THE WOODSMAN: Artistic Director's Notes

I'm a pacifist. I've never hit anyone, can't even remember yelling at anybody. One time I pushed my cousin, and I still feel bad about it.

I'm also a father. Once one of my elementary-school-aged daughters didn't show up at her friend's house when she was expected. Probably nothing was wrong, but there'd been word of a man driving around the neighbourhood in a van, so as I raced to my car to scour the neighbourhood for my daughter, I took the time to go to my garden shed and grab a baseball bat.


I kept seeing the trailer before shows at the Fifth Avenue. "What's the worst thing you ever did?..." "An unforgivable act. A chance to start over. A fight for redemption...." "I'm not a monster...." And I knew The Woodsman was a film I had to see.

It opened, and Morris happened to be in town, so we went together. The end credits rolled, tears streamed down my cheeks, and we said to each other, "Did you see what I just saw in that movie?" The credits told me it was based on a play, and I knew The Woodsman was a story we had to stage.


Not so long ago a sexual offender was released into a lower mainland neighbourhood, and he was hounded from community to community by angry, frightened people. You heard about it on the news. His pursuers didn't seem quite human, they seemed like a mob: or, they seemed all too human. Human or not, it seemed quite apparent that they didn't see this man as human. He was a predator, and they wanted him gone. And I was glad we'd decided to put The Woodsman on our stage.


This play goes to a very dark place. I don't know what to think about it: I don't know if it goes too far, or if it doesn't go far enough, but I'm glad it has the courage to go where it does. And finally, that's enough for me. This is not a position statement, it's not a documentary, it's not a theological treatise, it's not a community action plan or a psychology textbook: it's a play. The story of a man, a story that implicitly asks whether we can see him as a human being. A fellow human being.

And at the end of it all, I think of that Bruce Cockburn song that goes, "Even though I know who loves me, I'm not that much less lost."

Ron Reed,
Artistic Director