Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

playland | artistic director's notes

With a handful of exceptions, Athol Fugard’s plays are inspired by specific people, incidents, or images. Some real world event sparks his curiosity, and he explores it by writing a play.

Playland began with a photograph. Two men stand in the back of a truck, lowering a naked body into a pit. In the bottom of the pit, more bodies.

Of course, an avalanche of other, larger events also impelled the writing of this play. In September 1989 – three months before the events of Playland – F.W. de Klerk became president of South Africa, and when parliament opened on February 2, 1990, he announced his intentions to dismantle apartheid. Nine days later, Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Fugard’s play debuted in Johannesburg in July 1992. In July 1995, after five years of negotiations and violent opposition, the African National Congress was elected as the country’s new government, and President Nelson Mandela initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate gross human rights violations and heal the wounds of apartheid.

In a sense, Playland anticipates the nation’s experience of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. If it were only a history lesson, a snapshot of a moment in history, a response to political events in a distant country, it would not carry the power that it does. But as well as being a response to an historical turning point, Playland is a response to a specific photograph, a hidden and horrific event that plays itself out in two very particular lives.

The more specific a story, the more likely it is to become universal. The movements of history, the story of a nation, may inspire dread or awe, but the movements of the human heart, the stories of individuals, reach us in a more personal place. The story of apartheid’s end may interest us, and should not be forgotten. But the story of Martinus and Gideon has the power to shake us, twenty years later. We see ourselves in their circumstances, and their stories resonate with so terribly many others that continue to happen, over and over again.

Ron Reed,
Artistic Director

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

alternative art & spiritual promise | linda stratford | regent

And before or after the lecture, a person could check out the Lookout Gallery show

This is an altogether different Linda Stratford.
No relation, as far as I know.
But it's a more colourful picture than the one of Dr Stratford.
A prime example of alternative art.

Alternative Art and Spiritual Promise
Wednesday, October 20, 6:30pm
Regent College

Dr. Stratford received her PhD from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, in History, with emphasis on Art and Society in France. Her life passion is teaching and learning. Before her PhD she completed an undergraduate degree in Art from Vanderbilt University and spent a year studying art history in France. She makes regular research trips to France and is currently teaching art history at Asbury College where she also served as Art Department Chair. In 2005 she was appointed Lilly Scholar at Asbury College, enabling her to pursue research on the theological foundation for calling in the visual arts.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

thoughts on pacific theatre | melaney lyall

A wonderful piece about Pacific Theatre from Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, director of operations for Gather and Give. We have been partnering with Gather and Give for a few years now to make sure those who could not normally attend the theatre get a chance through their organization.

Pacific Theatre - 12th 'n Hemlock
by Melaney G Lyall on Friday, September 25, 2009

I have returned home to the warmth of my sitting room after an evening at the theatre. This is an amazing smaller homespun theatre that puts on amazing productions. Pacific Theatre has been going for 25 years!

I sat and I listened to an evening of "Presence" - full of instrument, song, prose, and story. I was moved to tears at some points and beamed smiles at others and laughed heartily.

I thought for a moment of the depression era and how the Theatre was a place of refuge.

I participated by being fully present during this evening of beauty and creativity.

I came to realize that creative and performing artists can express themselves from the inside out, while we spend our time keeping our stuff in hiding. Somehow tonight I found common ground in lyrics and in word pictures and in the rhythm of strings and keys and the heartbeat of the drums.

Eleven craftsmen, er craftspeople circled on a stage of about 15 ft. by 15 ft. Blending and producing pieces of artistic expression together. Maybe they had run through the set once - but as they watched and listened to each other such beautiful sounds rang through the auditorium....12 string guitar, acoustic guitars, keys, drums, upright bass, banjo, harmonica, and some hand held shakers...and beautiful harmonies of voices through songs and personal stories and reflections.

I sat and knew the people before me are masters at their trades, all of them gathered together to provide 'entertainment' for others to enjoy - they did it with no paycheque, but because of their passion and the talents that Creator bestowed upon each one...these talents that can no longer be leashed but need outlets to be expressed.

There is something about live music and theatre. There is no cutting and editing. There are no dubs or digital effects or hundreds of different camera angles. You really get a piece of the artist's heart and soul - that they bare to all who come. A transparency of self. They may portray someone else but it is just an endorsement of another's creativity that touches their story and heart on a personal level.

Years and years ago, I brought my friend coffee many a midnight and helped paint canvas' and walls for "Cotton Patch Gospel" and I had a crush on one of the performers!! I then had a room mate who was featured in a play or two. I have had many musician friends participate in the Christmas Presence...and even went to a few Reel Light meetings...something continues to draw me to LIVE PERFORMANCE...

Nothing like it!! Yes. I think you should go to PACIFIC THEATRE and experience it yourself.

oct 19-30 | skin of our teeth | press release

Here's the press release for TWU's latest...


Courage. Catastrophe. Pet Dinosaurs. Trinity Western University’s newly minted SAMC Theatre is pulling out all the stops for season opener The Skin of our Teeth, Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy playing October 19 – 30.

By turns absurd and profound, the story places the burden of saving the world – repeatedly – on the shoulders of one family that’s anything but ordinary. Between milking the pet mammoth and inventing the alphabet, the Antrobuses have an odd knack for outwitting global destruction. But when the most shocking disaster of all threatens to tear the family apart, history’s most unlikely heroes must decide: Is humanity worth saving?

“Wilder was a pioneer and his innovation in this show is particularly satisfying,” reflects Jessie-winning director Angela Konrad. “Spanning thousands of years, turning sets upside down…The world of the play is delightfully wacky and unpredictable. And then suddenly its rich and poignant themes sneak up on you when you aren’t looking.”

The play, which TIME Magazine likens to “a philosophy class conducted in a monkey house,” has been a thrilling challenge for Julie Casselman, who was accepted into SAMC’s inaugural BFA class last spring. After playing Celia in last season’s As You Like It, Casselman is getting in touch with her inner femme fatale as Sabina – the family maid with a hidden agenda. “I’ve never played a character quite as fierce and dynamic as Sabina…she’ll do or say anything to get what she wants,” remarks Casselman. “I love keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. And how often does a person get to snuggle up with a prehistoric pet while relaxing in her own cabana? This show is all surprises and no rules, and I love that.”

The production is aptly timed, comments Konrad, who also chairs the Theatre department of TWU’s School of the Arts, Media, and Culture. “This season coincides with the launch of SAMC and a BFA Acting program unlike any other in Canada. With The Skin of our Teeth, we’re bringing to life an epic tale about starting anew. It’s off the wall, it’s larger than life - even the playwright called it his most ambitious piece of work. Altogether, it’s the perfect vehicle for the debut of our BFA class.”

The Skin of our Teeth features Ben Buckingham, Megan Couch, Julie Casselman, Julia Church, Crystal Dodding, Mark Fleming, Karyn Guenther, Jon Hollis, Lyndon Johnson, Cara Lowdermilk, Daniele Neve, Nicola Prigge, Chris Simons, Danielle Spampinato, Jessica Van Elk, and Sarah Weiner. Rounding out the production team are Assistant Director Clare Arney and Stage Managers Becky MacDormand, Ashley MacKenzie, and Thomas Nelson. Costumes are by Barbara Gregusova with set and lighting by Lauchlin Johnston.

Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pm with Saturday Matinees 2pm

For more information and tickets, visit or email

Saturday, October 16, 2010

mon oct 25 | lucia frangione's life onstage!

Keith Johnstone is the inventor of theatre sports - a U of Calgary prof, who knew? His book "Impro" is the touchstone. And Lucia needs no introduction to Pacific Theatre audiences...

Lucia Frangione: "So, Jeff Gladstone and company have asked to do an improv night about my life story. I find this pretty embarrassing to tell you the truth. But it would be even more embarrassing if nobody showed up. Oh please come and be gracious if you can."

Tickets now on sale for the October 25th showcase of THE LIFE GAME featuring our guest LUCIA FRANGIONE and directed live onstage by KEITH JOHNSTONE!"

Monday, Oct. 25th at 7:30pm
Arts Club Revue Theatre

Tickets here!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

campbell government: more casinos, less arts funding

Keith Higgins writes...
Governments (both the provincial government and municipalities) used to justify the expansion of for-profit gambling by trotting out the benefits to charities. Then, in 2009, the premier and Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for the Gaming Branch, announced that they did not feel bound to honour commitments made to the people of B.C. that a proportion of casino and bingo revenue had to go to charities.

Now, a massive casino expansion -- big enough that the provincial government ordered up B.C. Place staium's new roof at the request of the casino developer -- is on the books in Vancouver.

Please join the B.C. Association for Charitable Gaming in asking, again, that the government honour commitments made to the people of this province, and restore funds to charities, including charities in the arts and culture. You can also join the BCACG in asking Vancouver's City Council to oppose the expansion of Edgewater Casino. You can do both of these things by attending tomorrow's rally (11 am, Thursday October 14 at Vancouver City Hall) and by signing the BCACG's online petition.

Here are the links.

The rally and press conference

The online petition
You may also want to check out the Facebook page Organizing Against Campbell's Cuts To The Arts

And while we're talking politics, I bet you'd never guess who said the following: “Any government which says it has a plan for economic recovery and doesn’t have a plan in place for arts and culture doesn’t have a plan for economic recovery.” Keith Higgins? The NDP Arts and Culture critic? The Georgia Straight? Ron Reed? Nope. Conservative Federal Heritage minister James Moore. And it sounds like he was talking about our provincial "Liberals." Here's the story in the Times Columnist.


National average for provincial arts funding?
$26.00 per capita

BC's arts funding, *with* newly restored $7M?
$6.54 per capita

the busy world is hushed | responses

"Directed by Richard Wolfe for one2theatre, this is a taut, absorbing production with excellent ensemble work by Chiarelli, Bergquist and Kroon. Chiarelli strikes just the right note with her smart, somewhat world-weary scholarliness coupled with ferocious love for her son. As a performer, Chiarelli always appears to be a storm about to break. Even when she's relaxed, there's a compelling, restless energy just under the surface." - Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

"You manage to find so many brilliant shows to produce, but this one was amazing! I was so drawn into the questions of faith and life, and the love story was so honest (if not one I've been terribly familiar with). The commitment each of the actors made to the show - to loving each other without being false. Amazing.
I cried at the pain each was feeling at different times - and the bit at the end . . . just hit home.
Gina is incredible. I remember her from Agnes - what a powerhouse of a performer! And the two guys were so great.
Thank you for being willing to produce a show like that - and one that brought audible gasps of shock from some of your perhaps more conservative audience members. This is the world we live in, and we need to be living in it, not ignoring it.
GREAT! - thank you." Audience member, facebook note

"We saw The Busy World is Hushed on Saturday night. Wow! Very powerful - the play, the acting. Loved the set and the music, too. A night at PT guarantees there will be something to talk about after the theatre." Audience email

"@Pacifictheatre Thank-you for The Busy World is Hushed. Thought provoking and beautiful. I really enjoyed it." -twitter

"Saw the show tonight and loved it. Thank you for putting on honest shows, it helps me have the guts to be honest too." -facebook wall

"Go see "The Busy World is Hushed" at @PacificTheatre. Amazing! Cried so much i thought my face was melting. But in a good way." -twitter

"The Busy World Is Hushed has a generous heart. . . . Under Richard Wolfe’s direction, the cast is tremendous. With his humble posture, stray-dog winsomeness, and the boyish way he sticks his tongue out when amused, Sebastian Kroon goes a long way toward making the elusive Thomas charming. Adam Bergquist intelligently and thoroughly delineates the landscape of Brandt’s shyness, longing, and grief. And nobody is more openhearted on-stage than Gina Chiarelli, who plays Hannah. In the Act 2 crisis, Chiarelli makes us feel as well as understand what it’s like to screw up while behaving with good intentions." - Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"We saw Busy World last night. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Thoughtful script - WELL cast - great acting - amazing set. It made us uncomfortable, made us think, made us celebrate exactly what PT is about. A great start to the season!" Audience email

"The quest for truth reared its sometimes ugly head last night in the Pacific Theatre / one2theatre co-production of The Busy World is Hushed, in a beautiful story of love and loss that touched my heart. ... Chiarelli is almost perfect in her dual role, simultaneously the scholarly priest and loving mother. We can see as her external shell is gradually chipped away as the life she hopes to have with her son begins to once again materialize and just as quickly rebuilt as that reality does not come about. Kroon does an equally good job as the lost boy who reinserts himself with little guilt back into the family dynamic, with a selfishness and an anger that percolates just under the surface.... it doesn't get much better than this." - Mark Robins,

"An intelligent and complex play, Keith Bunin’s The Busy World Is Hushed is actually a guest production from one2theatre. And an excellent production it is under Richard Wolfe’s confident direction. ... I was genuinely interested in the characters and the way they might work out their various human dilemmas." - Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Plays

"I don't often recommend shows, but try to catch 'The Busy World Is Hushed' at Pacific theatre now thru' Oct 16. Richard Wolfe directing, Michael Schaldemose, design, and stellar performances by Chiarelli, Bergquist, and Kroon, it raises the bar, folks. Excellent production all around, and a well written, thought- provoking play. I just sat back and enjoyed." - Michael Kopsa, facebook wall

"I laughed, I cried (yes even me.. shut up peanut gallery), and I am going to go back and see it again. So much to take in on several different levels. Thanks for a great evening!" - Maria Denholme, facebook wall

"Gina Chiarelli, who turns in a nuanced, complex performance as the Reverend Hannah, displays both intelligence and vulnerability." - John Jane, Review Vancouver

"Busy World is one of those shows that reminds me why I do theatre. Congratulations. And thank you." - Angela Konrad, facebook wall

feb 22 - mar 12 | she has a name | burnt thicket, alberta

Steve Waldschmidt's Burnt Thicket Theatre produced HOCKEY DAD in the PT space during the Olympics. Their second show premieres February / March 2011 in Alberta.

by Andrew Kooman

World Premiere
February 22 - March 5, 2011 in Calgary | Epcor Centre's Motel
March 9-12, 2011 in Red Deer | Scott Block Theatre

Haunted by anguished voices, a lawyer poses as a john to build a legal case against a brothel trafficking girls into Bangkok. Can Jason win the trust of a young prostitute known only as Number 18 and convince her to risk her life for the sake of justice?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

oct 19-30 | skin of our teeth | twu

julia church is wacky. she was lily tomlin in godspell. and she made this up. yikes.

only the website link is okay, so she can't spell. but she's funny.

october 16 | sweet soul gospel | alison chisholm

Our lovely administrator Alison Chisholm (remember her from I WAS MEANT FOR THE STAGE?) sings once again in the Sweet Soul Gospel Choir.  This time she's joined by Karina Nickel, wife to our production manager and resident improv performer, Frank Nickel.  According to their website, they will "active your soul!" - I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to miss that.

Sweet Soul Gospel Motown - spiritual, inspirational & love songs from Motown
Saturday, October 16th, 2010 - 7:30 pm
St. Andrews Wesley Church
1022 Nelson St. Vancouver (Burrard & Nelson)
Admission by minimum donation:
Adults $15
Seniors & Students $10
Youth 10-15 $5
Kids under 9 FREE
Tickets Available at the Door
Doors open at 6:30 pm

Friday, October 01, 2010

oct 21-30 | joel stephanson, macbeth

Last year's apprentice Joel Stephanson (Dan Rowan in GODSPELL, Peter in the matinee cast of THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE, my grandson in TRAVELER IN THE DARK, and you saw him in I WAS MEANT FOR THE STAGE) plays Ross and the Porter...

Alchemist Theatre Guild
Oct 21-30
at the VanCity Culture Lab (at the Cultch)

Love, war, betrayal, magic. These are the ingredients that make up the Alchemists Theatre Guild's production of Macbeth. In a sharp, violent conceptualization of Shakespeare's classic tale, the edges of what one will do for love and the prices paid for those betrayals are explored in a vicious, unforgiving fashion. A perfect story for the Halloween season, filled with horror, violence and the black arts, Macbeth will thrill in a spectacular fashion.