Friday, December 30, 2011

year in review | critic's picks

This is my favourite time of year when everyone makes list of the best things that happened over the past 12 months.  Here are the PT-related highlights from Vancouver's critics top picks for 2011:


Jo Ledingham (Vancouver Courier):

A couple of Jo's "favourite things" included "Kyle Rideout’s splendid directorial debut" in THE GREAT DIVORCE and "Ron Reed’s masterful one-man performance of Scrooge" in A CHRISTMAS CAROL (hey, look at that, there are still a couple chances to see it!).  PT artists Itai Erdal, Drew Facey, and Anthony F. Ingram got shout-outs as well.


Mark Robins (GayVancouver.net):

JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN was his number one pick!  Guess it won Best Production at the Jessies for a reason.  A TRAIN star Andrew McNee was also mentioned for his work in AFTER JERUSALEM.  Honourable mentions went out to MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, Evan Frayne's apprentice production of THE VERONA PROJECT as well as BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS, directed by PT-friend Mack Gordon, with John Voth in the cast.

David C. Jones (OutTV Blog):

Two PT shows made his top! Well, they're sort of both PT shows - JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN got yet another nod (no surprise there), as well as Julia Mackey's beauty JAKE'S GIFT. Both were a part of our season, neither was a PT production - but we'll still feel proud to have them on our stage.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

a christmas carol | silent auction

What happens when you build some amazing props for a show and have no where to store them when the show has closed?  Well you auction them off of course - to help with this year's Christmas Campaign!

Once again Pacific Theatre is hosting a Silent Auction.  This auction will take place at every performance of A Christmas Carol, and will be monitored online here on our blog.  You can make a bid at the theatre, or even make an electronic bid by sending an email with the amount of your bid and the item number to info@pacifictheatre.org.  All bidding will close at midnight on Dec. 31st!


ITEM #1: ROCKING HORSE
Handcrafted wooden horse made as a prop for A Christmas Carol but had to be cut from the production.  It was built to hold the weight of a grown adult.  
Last Bid - Fran V. $200
Next Available Bid - $220
Guaranteed Buyout Price - $1000





ITEM #2: PULLY HORSES
Handcrafted wooden horses made as a prop for A Christmas Carol.  

Last Bid - Marlene V. $45
Next Available Bid - $50

A Christmas Carol runs at Pacific Theatre until Dec. 31st with added matinees on Dec. 27th and 28th.  

jan 10-14 | all the way home | julia mackey

Jules has spent the past four years living through Jake and Isabelle in her knock-out one-woman show JAKE'S GIFT (we hosted a two week run last season, but she's been all over the country with this production), and now she's playing her first new role since putting on Jake's snappy army coat in The Electric Company's ALL THE WAY HOME. Press release below.


In early January, Electric Company Theatre will draw the curtain on its most intimate production to date, ALL THE WAY HOME. After the immense success of 2010’s ambitious theatre/film hybrid TEAR THE CURTAIN, director Kim Collier is back in Vancouver with a new vision that brings the audience right onto the stage of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and into the world of a profoundly moving and personal story.

“This is exciting new territory for Electric Company,” says Kim, the company’s co-founder and last year’s winner of the 2010 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre for direction. “It’s an entirely lo-fi experience offering our audience an extraordinarily intimate connection to the story.”

Tad Mosel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a beautifully crafted journey of love and spiritual transformation. In a quiet, rural town in the early 1900s, a family is shaken to its core by the untimely and accidental death of one of its own. Even as the loss is deeply felt and shared across the divide of many generations, a mother quietly clings to the promise of renewal and life.

As unconventional as it is intimate, ALL THE WAY HOME brings the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to life in a way the city has never seen before. The audience is embedded into the set design, entering the stage from the wings and sitting in the midst of the action. Some of Vancouver’s most celebrated talent have rallied around the Electric Company to take on this challenge and bring Kim’s bold vision to life.

Starring Alessandro Juliani, Nicola Lipman, Julia Mackey, Tom McBeath, Meg Roe, Gabrielle Rose, Haig Sutherland, Jordan Wessels, Donna White, George Young, and Jonathon Young. Designed by Adrian Muir (lights), Marshall McMahen (set), Christine Reimer (costumes), and Alessandro Juliani (music and vocal arrangements).

Produced by Electric Company Theatre in association with the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
Exclusive seven-show engagement January 10-14 at 8pm with Friday and Saturday matinees
Tickets range from $20 to $30 – limited capacity, advance booking strongly recommended
Reserve now through the Vancouver Playhouse Box Office at 604.873.3311
Full cast and showtimes at www.electriccompanytheatre.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Alrighty folks, since we've already given you the "official" PT Christmas card, we'll wish you all a merry Christmas by sharing some of the outtakes.  If you really want to have a good time, print them each off on a separate sheet of paper and make a flip book!  Hey - there's a last-minute gift idea if you're in a lurch.







Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas carol | the many faces of scrooge

A CHRISTMAS CAROL has been adapted time and time again for film.  Here are just a few of the famous faces that Ron Reed is up against in your memories of Scrooge...







adapted by Ron Reed from the novel by Charles Dickens
Dec. 2-31
Tickets $16.50-29.50

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

christmas presence | set lists



Christmas Presence at Pacific Theatre - Dec 13th Set List

Act One 
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Father Christmas excerpt) – C.S. Lewis
Annunciation – Fredrick Buechner
Creche – Nicola Colhoun
No Room at the Inn – Dina Donahue
My Christmas Memory – Kaitlin Williams
Emmanuel- Frederick Buechner
Scrooge – Garrison Keillor

Act Two 
Feast Days – Annie Dillard
Xmas Files – Author Unknown
Ukranian Grandma – Erla Faye Forsyth
Mary Considers her situation – Luci Shaw
Joseph’s Lullaby – Ron Klug
No Safe Place – Shelia Rosen
Irrational Season – Madeleine L’Engle
On Buses – Lance Odegard (from his collection of poems At the Pool We’ve all got Bodies.)

Actors:
Erla Faye Forsyth*
Mack Gordon
John Voth
Kaitlin Gordon

Featured Musicians:
Michael Hart
Sheree Plett
Jeremy Eisenhauer
Lance Odegard

House Band:
Brett Ziegler
Becca Birkner
Rick Colhoun
Kenton Wiens
Nelson Boschman

Christmas Presence in the Valley - Dec 17th Set List

Act One 
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Father Christmas excerpt) – C.S. Lewis
Annunciation – Fredrick Buechner
Creche – Nicola Colhoun
No Room at the Inn – Dina Donahue
My Christmas Memory – Alison Chisholm
Emmanuel- Frederick Buechner
Scrooge – Garrison Keillor

Act Two 
Feast Days – Annie Dillard
Xmas Files – Author Unknown
Mama – Erla Faye Forsyth
Do Not Be Afraid – Henry Nouwen
Mary Considers her situation – Luci Shaw
The Birth – Bible, King James Version
Joseph’s Lullaby – Ron Klug
On Buses – Lance Odegard (from his collection of poems At the Pool We’ve all got Bodies.)

Actors:
Erla Faye Forsyth*
Ken Hildebrandt
Kaitlin Gordon

Featured Musicians:
Michael Hart
Sheree Plett
Jeremy Eisenhauer
Lance Odegard

House Band:
Brett Ziegler
Becca Birkner
Rick Colhoun
Nelson Boschman

Christmas Presence at Pacific Theatre - Dec 18th Set List

Act One 
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Father Christmas excerpt) – C.S. Lewis
Annunciation – Fredrick Buechner
Creche – Nicola Colhoun
No Room at the Inn – Dina Donahue
My Christmas Memory – Kaitlin Gordon
Better Watch Out- Robert Farror Capon
Scrooge – Garrison Keillor

Act Two 
Feast Days – Annie Dillard
Xmas Files – Author Unknown
Mama – Erla Faye Forsyth
A Christmas Memory – Peter La Grand
O Sapientia – Madeleine L’Engle
Joseph’s Lullaby – Ron Klug
Christmas Prayer – Robert Louis Stevenson

Actors:
Erla Faye Forsyth*
Kaitlin Gordon
Mack Gordon

Featured Musicians:
Peter La Grand
Sheree Plett
Jeremy Eisenhauer

House Band:
Becca Birkner
Rick Colhoun
Kenton Wiens
Nelson Boschman

Christmas Presence at Pacific Theatre - Dec 19th Set List

Act One 
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Father Christmas excerpt) – C.S. Lewis
Annunciation – Fredrick Buechner
Creche – Nicola Colhoun
No Room at the Inn – Dina Donahue
My Christmas Memory – Kaitlin Gordon
Emmanuel- Frederick Buechner
Scrooge – Garrison Keillor

Act Two 
Feast Days – Annie Dillard
Xmas Files – Author Unknown
Mama – Erla Faye Forsyth
An Inventory, On Buses – Lance Odegard
(from his collection of poems At the Pool We’ve all got Bodies.)
Mary Considers her situation – Luci Shaw
Joseph’s Lullaby – Ron Klug
Christmas Prayer – Robert Louis Stevenson

Actors:
Erla Faye Forsyth*
Kaitlin Gordon
Mack Gordon
Mike deBoer
Rebecca deBoer
Baby Charlotte deBoer
Featured Musicians:
Spencer Capier
Laurell
Lance Odegard
Michael Hart
Peter La Grand

House Band:
Becca Birkner
Kenton Wiens
Nelson Boschman

*Appears with permission from Canadian Actors' Equity Association

dec 23 & 30 | corridors | podplay | pacific theatre

Two more opportunities to experience Joel Stephanson's site-specific podplay CORRIDORS at Pacific Theatre - Friday December 23, and Friday December 30 (you can start any time between 4pm and 7pm on those days.

You'll remember Joel from GODSPELL (as Dan Rowan) and I WAS MEANT FOR THE STAGE. He'll be in 100 SAINTS YOU SHOULD KNOW on our mainstage in late spring.

This is his creation, based on interviews and research into the stories around the Chalmers building, where Pacific Theatre and Holy Trinity Church make their home. Lots of Pacific Theatre voices in the show.

here are the basics from the CORRIDORS Facebook page.  You might also want to check out Emme Rogers' fascinating blog post for more.
Inspired by the work of Neworld Theatre, this podplay re-imagines Vancouver stories from the past hundred years, setting them in a labyrinthine, century-old church building.

Comprised entirely of audio, this mostly indoor walking tour invites you to don your iPod (or the like) and 'eavesdrop' on the story of a man, his wife, another man, and a building of intersecting walkways and lives. A 'history' of fictitious proportions.

By JOEL STEPHANSON

Featuring the voices of RON REED, FRED GALLOWAY, SHARON CRANDALL, CLAIRE LINDSAY, JOHN VOTH, MISHELLE CUTTLER, JANET GLASSFORD, MACK GORDON, JESSE DECOSTE, JON HOLLIS-FRANKS, JOSHUA MCFAUL, DAVID NEWHAM, ANDREW COHEN, SHALYN MCFAUL, FRANK NICKEL & JOEL STEPHANSON

Also featuring:
TOREY ZACHARY, piano
MICHAEL DIRK, organ

TICKETS $12-$16 at www.pacifictheatre.org or 604.731.5518

Remaining Performances: Friday December 23 & 30 before A CHRISTMAS CAROL

The podplay departs every five minutes between 4-6pm, with the last one wrapping up by 7pm. If you haven't had enough by then, stay for Pacific Theatre's mainstage play at 8!

Warning: brief strong language // mature themes // awesome music
The tour also includes climbing stairs and being outside briefly.

christmas carol | BONUS MATINEE PERFORMANCES!

We've added a few extra matinees on to the run of A CHRISTMAS CAROL! Just in time for that lull between Christmas and the New Year when you're looking for something to do with the family...


TUESDAY, DEC. 27TH at 2pm
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28TH at 2pm

Tickets are available online and by calling the box office at 604-731-5518.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

christmas carol | dickens' london

Dickens is known for writing about what life was really like for Londoners of his time. He spent hours walking the streets of his city, and those long walks came out clearly in his vivid descriptions of the city. So what was it like to live in London during Dickens' time?

Fleet Street "then" and "now"

The city that inspired Dickens’ work was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, and experiencing all the benefits and consequences of this. The population grew from 1 million to 4.5 million people in 80 years. While fashionable neighbourhoods like Regent and Oxford Street grew and thrived, so the poor and squalid regions grew dirtier and more crowded by the day.

Pollution, raw sewage, and unlit streets were the hallmarks of Dickens’ London, and overcrowding combined with a lack of personal hygiene made lead to a quick spread of diseases.

The New Poor Law, enacted in 1834 and referenced by Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, was a reaction to the vast increase in poverty in London during the 19th century. Previously, parishes were required to take care of the poor, but the new law allowed them to apply for aid in this work if they banded together and created regional workhouses. The workhouses were essentially a prison for the poor, separating families and removing the civil liberties of those who lived there. In fact, the poor of London did all they could to avoid such “relief”.

In Oliver Twist, Dickens describes the London streets: "It was market-morning. The ground was covered, nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire; a thick steam, perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle, and mingling with the fog, which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops, hung heavily above.”

adapted by Ron Reed from the novel by Charles Dickens
Dec. 2-31
Tickets $16.50-29.50

Monday, December 19, 2011

christmas presence artist profiles | spencer capier

The next in our series of artist profiles for CHRISTMAS PRESENCE performers: Spencer Capier! He'll be performing at tonight's final production of CHRISTMAS PRESENCE.


Spencer is a musician extraodinaire who has played on literally 100's of albums for other artists, as producing and even performing as an actor at Pacific Theatre!

Fun facts about Spencer:

-He has been playing with recording artist Carolyn Arends for years, since before she signed a recording contract
-He got his start like so many other musicians: playing coffee shops and small festivals with other artists
-He "likes taking the violin and mandolin into situations that they are not expected."
-His album Instrumental Christmas features (surprise!) instrumental versions of all your favourite Christmas songs, and it always sells quick at CHRISTMAS PRESENCE
-He “just wants to make music you might enjoy while doing the dishes, or perhaps driving in traffic.”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

dec 18-20 | the christmas carol project

Just to show how non-competitive we are about the market for A CHRISTMAS CAROL in Vancouver, here's yet another chance to check out another company's adaptation! (Okay, maybe it helps that our CAROL is dark those days and CHRISTMAS PRESENCE is sold out.) Our friends at The Cultch are hosting their own version, THE CHRISTMAS CAROL PROJECT this weekend.


Most of us have seen at least one variation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol on film and on stage. But at the top of our list is the long-running version by Brass Monkey Productions: The Christmas Carol Project.

An enchanting musical version of Dickens' tale, The Christmas Carol Project is a unique and captivating blend of classic literature and contemporary music.

Since its inception in 1996, The Christmas Carol Project has seen more than 60 performances, three tours, a CD and an award winning television special. The show features an extremely talented cast of Edmonton-based musicians who have created a collection of songs written from the perspectives of their characters. The cast includes Bill Bourne, Kevin Cook, Maria Dunn, Tom Roschkov, Terry Morrison, Al Brant, Dale Ladouceur & Bill Hobson. They have also been joined by narrators Richard Winnick (1996 & 1997), Kenneth Brown (1998 - 2009), Dave Clarke (2010) and are pleased to be welcoming a new narrator since 2011, Chris Humphreys.

Even though it's a story we already know, this classic tale warms the soul. There's just something impossible to describe about A Christmas Carol that entices us to experience the story every year. And again the year after that, and the year after that, and the...

When: THREE PERFORMANCES ONLY!
December 18, 19 & 20, 2011 at 8PM
Where: Historic Theatre, The Cultch
Tickets: From $28! Call 604.251.1363

oct 21-dec 30 | corridors, a podplay | joel stephanson

Update: Don't forget about CORRIDORS, this play is still running!

Joel Stephanson has partnered with our landlords, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and a whole host of PT artists to create and produce CORRIDORS, A PODPLAY.  Never heard of a podplay?  It's an audio play that you load up into your iPod (or other such device) - sort of a mix between theatre and walking tour.  The story is based on the history of our building, The Chalmers Heritage Building.  Tickets are available through our box office, show info below.



It’s a Friday afternoon in the fall. Unlike me, you have a real job. But much like me, you don’t get any work done on Friday afternoons anyway. And so, you think to yourself, how can I transcend week-ending doldrums? How can I move out of this mopey cubicle and into something altogether different?

Ladies and Gentleman, we hope here to devise a cure for what ails you – something you can take in after work but before dinner – or after dinner but before the mainstage show at Pacific Theatre:

CORRIDORS // a podplay
This walking tour & radio play departs every few minutes between 4-6pm, and runs for about an hour. It will occur on the following Friday afternoon/evenings:

October 21, 28
November 4, 11 (before RE:UNION)
December 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 (before A CHRISTMAS CAROL)

Tickets onsale soon through www.pacifictheatre.org or by calling 604-731-5518.

**The final podplay tour will leave no later than 6pm on each Friday. Arrive early to ensure your place.!

Friday, December 16, 2011

dec. 22 | sweet soul gospel choir | alison chisholm

Our Administrative Queen (also known as the Artist and Office Manager) Alison Chisholm is still activating souls in The Sweet Soul Gospel Choir, and they've got a Christmas performance coming up. These performances fill up fast, so if you're going to go, make sure you get there early! Invitation below.


Aloha and Mele Kalikimaka Alison!

Please celebrate the Joy of the Season with the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir.

Our next concert will be Sweet Soul Gospel Christmas where we will celebrate by performing spiritual and inspirational songs of the season with a little Motown thrown in to mix things up!

Sweet Soul Gospel Christmas
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 - 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 (tickets are not sold in advance)
Doors open at 6:30 pm

For additional information email us at info@VOCSoulGospelChoir.com or call 604.876.3363

The VOC Sweet Soul Gospel Choir was founded by music director, Checo Tohomaso, with the goal of uniting people of different cultures and beliefs to deliver a message of love, joy, peace, hope and healing through their common passion: singing.

We sing six-part harmony and our 130 members include men and women of all ages, ethnicities and religions. Delivering a high-energy, positive vibe, our dynamic choir mixes together the sounds of Soul, Gospel, R&B, Jazz, Hawaiian, Calypso, and Reggae. Our animated delivery results in an audience that can’t resist joining in by toe tapping, foot stomping, jumping, singing, dancing and hand clapping!

Thank you and God Bless from the

VOC SWEET SOUL GOSPEL CHOIR
We'll Activate Your Soul!

a christmas carol | responses


"Tour de force is a phrase I've used before to describe a performance of Reed's but it's never been as remarkable as it is here. He gives the illusion of having memorized the entire novella, playing all the characters from penny-pinching Ebenezer, to his ebullient nephew Freddie, Freddie's disapproving wife and the street urchin who runs to buy the biggest turkey in town for Scrooge. The only character Reed doesn't play is the turkey. (Considering what happens to the bird, that's probably a good thing.)" | Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

"Reed is a wonderful storyteller and as he moves quickly from a simple reading into full-blown reenactments of scenes, the richness of Dickens' tale shines. Reed has an obvious love for his source material and it pours forth onto the stage with an openness and spirit that easily draws you in. In the final moments of the play Reed is so joyful in his character’s enlightenment I even found my own indifference to the holiday season melt away." | Mark Robins, Gayvancouver.net

"A Christmas Carol with Ron was an entirely moving experience; I left the theatre with a big smile on my face and tears in my eyes. The set was priceless - the Old Curiosity Shop set the perfect Victorian mood. All the old toys and puppets and crows and real candles and, well, curios were endlessly interesting, particularly when they were brought in as part of the storytelling. So lively. And Ron was phenomenal - I was taken in from beginning to end. Gorgeous. Such a timely message for the season. PT outdoes itself again! Love you guys!" | Lorri Romhanyi, email


"The second central strength of this mounting is Reed’s performance. He starts by simply voicing the characters as he reads the book, but he soon moves into full enactments of multiple-character scenes. A Christmas Carol is fundamentally about generosity, and so is Reed’s work. Rather than showing off, the actor impresses with his subtlety and his affection for the characters. I especially enjoyed it when Reed embodied Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit, and his family. His Mrs. Cratchit is timorous and furious, his Cratchit a liquid mixture of optimism and grief. And Reed expresses Scrooge’s giddily ecstatic spiritual rebirth better than anybody I’ve seen do it since Alistair Sim set the standard in the classic 1951 movie." | Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"Ron Reed’s brilliant performance breathes new life into an old classic." | Jan Quiring, email

"Pacific Theatre does great honour to Dickens’ beautiful, humanist message through this imaginative and wondrously entertaining production." | Brian Paterson, Laura Murray PR


"Please go if you can! Ron’s acting keeps you in the moment with Scrooge...I felt I had gone back in time. Very thought provoking. Entertaining too! Great for all ages. I’m taking both my kids and my parents." | Anne Mak, email

"Ron Reed switches between characters so briskly that he’s in dialogue with himself. His transitions are a sight to see: one moment he’s issuing a sincere gale of laughter, all red in the face and jovial, and in the next, he’s hunched, growling and proclaiming Bah! Humbug! like he means it. ... This play is a great reminder of the joys of simple storytelling — and a reminder that we need not wield high-tech media or special effects to partake in them." | Alyzee, Being Emme

"Bah Humbug! Ron Reed’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic was a true delight." | William Hay, blog

"Loved the creativity in the setting and the use of props. As always, Ron’s acting was a delight! We’re recommending it to friends!" | Ron Wilson, email

Thursday, December 15, 2011

christmas presence on the north shore | set list - readings


Act One

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Father Christmas excerpt) – C.S. Lewis
Annunciation – Fredrick Buechner
Creche – Nicola Colhoun
No Room at the Inn – Dina Donahue
The Irrational Season – Madeleine L’Engle
The Risk of Birth - Madeleine L’Engle
My Christmas Memory – Kaitlin Williams
Scrooge – Garrison Keillor

Act Two

Feast Days – Annie Dillard
Xmas Files – Author Unknown
Camels of Ancient Yore – Wayne Harrel
My Christmas Memory – Peter La Grand
Mary Considers her Situation – Luci Shaw
Joseph’s Suspicion – Rilke
No Safe Place – Shelia Rosen
Christmas Prayer – Robert Louis Stevenson

Dec. 17th in the Valley
Dec. 18-19 at PT (SOLD OUT)
www.pacifictheatre.org

christmas carol | dining with dickens

Last weekend we had a very special Subscriber Appreciation Saturday, Dining with Dickens. Our lucky subscribers (or the ones who signed up at any rate) got to enjoy a taster menu prepared by Chef Nikolai Braun from Chef in the House of food inspired by Dickens. The meal was accompanied by a discussion from UBC professor (and former PT publicist) Julie Sutherland about food in Dickens' era. Drool over the menu and read a snippet of Julie's chat below!


'I want some more': The Truimphant Working Class in the Novels of Charles Dickens
by Julie Sutherland

If you were middle or upper class during the reign of Queen Victoria, and hadn’t squandered your wealth on wine, women, and song, you could be assured you would be well fed. It was a period of extravagance where, being entertained at a host’s banquet, you might enjoy upwards of nine courses; enough to make the buttons burst off your dinner jacket or the ribs crack on your whale bone corset. It was the age of the rise of the afternoon tea, where scones hung in a delicate balance between perfectly buttery and downright disgustingly rich. The Victorian poet Christina Rossetti provides us with a mouth-watering list of the kinds of delicious foods available for consumption. In “Goblin Market”, a tale that at once dives into the secret erotic love life of a deeply repressed society, explores the nature of Christian sacrifice, and considers capitalism and the rise of Victorian market economy, we get a gastronomic orchestra of the kinds of food accessible to those with money:

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck'd cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek'd peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries; -
All ripe together
In summer weather, -
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces ,
Rare pears and greengages ,
Damsons and bilberries ,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy."

And buy they did. It was an age where money meant something.

To read the rest of Julie's lecture, download the PDF here.  Want in on the next event like this?  Become a subscriber!

christmas presence artist profiles | ken hildebrandt

Ken is a first-timer with CHRISTMAS PRESENCE this year, and will be reading at the Abbotsford performance tomorrow (Saturday) night!


You saw Ken already on the PT stage this year in the Gallery 7 Theatre production of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE that kicked off our season.

Here's a few more fun facts about Ken:
-He is the founder and artistic director of Gallery 7 Theatre in Abbotsford
-He is an announcer at The Abbotsford International Air Show (a very coveted position, from what I hear)
-He teaches occasionally at Columbia Bible College
-He flies around the Fraser Valley in a Cessna (no big deal)

Here's a little video he made promoting this season's work at Gallery 7 Theatre:

christmas carol | reid farrington, nyc

Remember THE PASSION PROJECT? Can you imagine that same creative mind tackling A CHRISTMAS CAROL? Wish I could be in New York!



Created and directed by acclaimed theater artist Reid Farrington, this exciting work takes the form of a Victorian-era phantasmagoria, conjuring up ghosts of the past, present, and future by integrating media and live theater with the well-known holiday classic.

Haunting images from seventy different film versions of A Christmas Carol are projected on moving screens using a modern-day version of the magic lantern. Film clips collide and combine with live performers on stage, eerily blurring the distinction between performance and video projection.

Through complex staging and choreography, the show mashes together over one hundred years of film history. Performers slip in and out of characters from the Alastair Sim, George C. Scott, and Bill Murray versions of A Christmas Carol, as well as The Muppets and Mr. Magoo variations (and many more) to create an imaginative and new interpretation of the beloved Dickens story.


Last call! A handful of tickets remain for the final 4 performances of Reid Farrington's A Christmas Carol. Get yours now

The audience reactions to this show have been overwhelmingly positive, we had to share some of our favorite quotes that were posted to the Readers' Review tab on the NY Times:

"...one of my favorite aspects of the show is that the actors do not just play the characters from "A Christmas Carol", but also take on the roles of the storytellers - one might see the Narrator/Bob Cracthit as playing Dickens himself. More importantly, the storytellers do not seem to agree on just exactly how to tell the story (perhaps a product of how many different versions are used in the show). The result is a delightful conflict between not just the characters of Dickens' story, but also between the actors who are telling the story; it's a narrative within a narrative, and helps to tie the whole show together (as well as to lighten the mood). Overall I found the show to be both thoroughly enjoyable as well as wonderfully critical of the same tired old Christmas themes.
It's also worth mentioning that, in the context of Occupy Wall Street and this year's presidential race, the story of A Christmas Carol seems particularly relevant!" - Sam Newman, NY, NY

"The evening is a rollercoaster ride through one of the most familiar of tales. Through the repetition and the incredible work by the actors, we are reminded of childhood memories and forced to remember the artful language and insight into the human spirit which has made this a mainstay of the holiday season. Props to Mr Forkner, Mr Loar and Ms Nicoll for their amazing work." - LEE, Brooklyn, NY

"After my annual trip at Art Basel Miami Beach, where I was exposed to hundreds of pieces of visual art--some of them good, most of them bad-- Mr. Farrington's A Christmas Carol was a refreshing experience that renewed my faith in the transformative potential of Performance Art. He is an incredible visual artist, blurring the lines between theater and film, taking full advantage of modern technology in a completely original way. The show was great and I look forward to his next project." - jackay227, NY, NY

The final 4 performances are this week: Thursday at 8 / Friday at 8 / Saturday at 8 / Sunday at 4
All performances take place at Abrons Arts Center - 466 Grand St. at Pitt St. on the lower east side

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

dec 14-18 | bah humbug!

It's another CHRISTMAS CAROL in Vancouver this winter! Our good friend Tom Pickett (you saw him in PLAYLAND) is performing in this adaptation that benefits community-engaged art practice in the Downtown Eastside and the Heart of the City Festival. Ron spoke in The Globe and Mail about the connection between Dickens' work and modern social justice - what a perfect way to engage in both!


Bah! Humbug! A Spirited Benefit for the Downtown Eastside

Victorian England meets Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) this December with Bah! Humbug!, a theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Reconceived as a staged reading and musical event, this imaginative all-ages production offers a bittersweet twist on a cherished seasonal classic that celebrates the transformative power of human redemption. Bah! Humbug! runs December 14 – 18, 2011 in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Commissioned and co-produced by SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs in partnership with Vancouver Moving Theatre, Bah! Humbug! is a benefit for community-engaged art practice in the Downtown Eastside and the Heart of the City Festival.

Now more than 150 years old, Dickens’ timeless story remains relevant today, especially in light of parallels between the economic disparities of Victorian London and Vancouver’s DTES.

“Dicken’s vivid portrayal of the plight of community members displaced and driven into poverty during London’s boom years has never been out of print,” says Savannah Walling, Artistic Director of Vancouver Moving Theatre. “Not only is it a haunting ghost story with unforgettable characters and a comic touch, but Dicken’s advocacy for social justice, ethical transformation and generosity of spirit are just as urgently needed today. ‘Charity begins at home,’ Dickens said, ‘and justice begins next door.’”

Bah! Humbug! runs for six performances only December 14-17 (7:30 pm) and December 17-18 (2:00 pm) at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings. Tickets are $19 (students/seniors) and $29 (adults) and can be purchased at the Vancouver Playhouse Box Office by phone at 604-873-3311 or online at www.sfuwoodwards.ca

christmas presence | selling out

No, I don't mean selling out in the "giving up on your values in favour of tons of money" way, but in the "we are running out of tickets" way. If you're hoping to join in on this tradition and you don't have tickets left, you have one opportunity left: The Valley.


CHRISTMAS PRESENCE IN THE VALLEY
Saturday, December 17th at 8pm
at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium in Abbotsford

Tickets available through the PT box office online or at 604.731.5518 OR in person at The House of James in Abbotsford.

It might seem like a long ways to go, but we always have a magical time out in the Valley!

christmas carol | director's notes

The notes from director Sarah Rodgers!


As a good little English girl I grew up on the works of Dickens. When all my friends were reading Enid Blyton my father was introducing me to A tale of two Cities and Great Expectations.

As I began my research for this production I was reminded of the great Dickensian novel: The Old Curiosity Shop.

As I began to dream about how to present this story in a fresh and theatrical way I realized what a wonderful playful setting an old curiosity shop would offer.

My actor and musician and I have had a joyful ride as we have discovered the curiosities in the shop to support our storytelling of this beautiful heart warming tale.

We hope you enjoy our Christmas offering and as Tiny Tim says ‘God Bless us everyone’.

adapted by Ron Reed from the novel by Charles Dickens
Dec. 2-31
Tickets $16.50-29.50

Monday, December 12, 2011

christmas carol | christmas pudding

By request, here is the recipe for the Christmas Pudding that we served on opening night of A CHRISTMAS CAROL.


Sharon Newman's Cranberry Pudding

1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries

For the Pudding

Measure molasses, baking soda and the boiling water in a 2-cup measure. Stir this together, causing it to foam up, then set aside.
Measure and mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cranberries in a large bowl.
Add the molasses mixture to the bowl and stir together well.
Spray or butter a pudding mold (a medium-sized pyrex dish or stainless steel bowl works very well) and pour pudding batter into it.
Cover very well with foil, pinching it tightly around the top edge.
Rig a steamer in a large pot by placing a small rack or vegetable steamer in the pot.
Place your pudding on the rack and pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the mold.
Cover the pot and let it simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check the water level every now and then cool your steamed pudding, removing it from the mold while it is still warm.
Reheat to serve by a short re-steaming, or even better, a little trip through the microwave.
This pudding is a great make-ahead. It freezes, thaws and re-heats perfectly.
Serve with sauce.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the Sauce (don't skip this . . . it makes the pudding!)

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
Add the sugar and cook this together on medium low heat to dissolve the sugar. Be patient!
When it is smooth and bubbly, slowly whisk in the whipping cream, stirring until it is complete incorporated.
Add the nutmeg and vanilla.

Serve the warm sauce over warm pudding to your grateful guests. They'll love you for this one!

Enjoy!

christmas carol | artistic director's notes II

Here is the second instalment of AD (and adapter/performer in A CHRISTMAS CAROL) Ron Reed's notes. First instalment here.


It started as a gag.

February 2011, and I’ve got a season to schedule. Need something to fill the gap between the one about the Quaker who burns himself to death and the character study of two lost and self-destructive souls in a Bronx bar. A pair of gorgeous, soulful plays that lead us far from despair, deep into love, but hey— there’s no way we’ll convince anybody to see either. Folks love PT for taking risks, but when it comes to buying tickets, most people like what they know. So...

Let’s do A Christmas Carol! The clich├ęd save-the-theatre selection, the Christmas chestnut of all time. The kind of audacious programming this company’s known for!

And heck, if we’re selling out anyways, how about a one-man-show! It’s all in the imagination, heck, we don’t even need a set, blah blah blah, “theatre magic,” they liked it for Wardrobe (three times), we can sell it again! And there’s no royalty payments, right? The author’s dead. I think. (Check that, Alison. And copyright laws while you’re at it...)

Only, what starts as a gag idea soon enough stops making me gag. Fact is, I love this story – a Dickens show at Theatre Calgary was my theatre epiphany at the age of twelve, a one-man Christmas Carol in a Camrose gymnasium rekindled the spark when I’d fled my calling during my twenties, and a reading for a church basement Christmas party a decade ago kept it in my mind.

And come to think of it, this isn’t such a sentimental choice after all. Dickens was a tough old bird, with a raging social conscience and a fierce sense of justice – supernatural, don’t-mess-with-the-poor, eternal retributive judgment, as a matter of fact. Come to think of it, this one’s pure Pacific Theatre – the glories of language and character, the power of essential Story: choice and consequence, judgment, transformation, redemption, rebirth.

There are two old, old stories that are told at this time of year, two tales that embody the Spirit of Christmas beyond all others. One takes place in a manger, where a God becomes a baby. The other, in the frozen heart of a man who is called on to become...

Well, you know how it plays out. With some stories, knowing the ending spoils everything. But with the best ones, it only adds to the pleasure of the telling.

You know this one. How it ends, and how it begins. Say it along with me. “Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that...”

adapted by Ron Reed from the novel by Charles Dickens
Dec. 2-31
Tickets $16.50-29.50

christmas presence | north shore photos

Our first CHRISTMAS PRESENCE has come and gone - this one gathered the likes of Laurell, Peter La Grand, Garth Bowen, Brett Ziegler, Spencer Capier, Rick Colhoun, Becca Birkner, Nelson Boschman, Kaitlin Gordon, Peter Carlone, and Erla Faye Forsyth on stage. Yep, it was crowded. Here are some pictures of the night!  Still FOUR more performances to go...














Dec. 13, 18-19 at PT
Dec. 17 in the Valley