Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jan 3: Wyndham Thiessen & Steve Dawson, Pacific Theatre!

Very excited about this one! Wyndham Thiessen moved away a bunch of years ago - philosophy at U of T, then l'Arche work in Alberta and now, hmm, Saskatoon? Before that he was a fixture at Pacific Theatre: a couple versions of COTTON PATCH GOSPEL at Pacific Theatre and on tour, and regular CHRISTMAS PRESENCE appearances, occasional concerts. (If you've got the CHRISTMAS PRESENCE cd, you'll remember "Talking Home Invasion Blues.")

Well, he's back for Christmas with his family (you also know his brother Matthew from YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU and prior Stones Throw shows, and his bro-in-law Steve Dawson from various PT musical events) and he comes bearing gifts, a sackful of tunes old and new. It was going to be a living room concert, but there's only so many people you can fit into a living room, so we at Pacific Theatre invited him over to our place (where we've got a few more chairs).

Want to join us? Steve will also be playing - of Zubot & Dawson fame, who produced Jim Byrnes' amazing "House Of Refuge" cd, and "The Sojourners" follow-up recording. It'll be fab.

Wyndham Thiessen in concert with Steve Dawson — a fundraiser for PT
Saturday, Jan 3 @ 8pm
Pacific Theatre
Tickets $12 at the door, or call 604 266-1019 (instead of the PT box office) to reserve in advance

Dec 29: MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL in the Cathedral

by T.S. Eliot
Monday Dec 29, 7pm
Christ Church Cathedral

This compelling examination of political power, individual integrity and transcendent faith is being presented on the 838th anniversary of the martyrdom of Thomas a Becket, featuring Russell Roberts as Thomas Becket and an original musical score by George Ryan.

This compelling examination of political power, individual integrity, and transcendant faith is performed by a diverse cast of professional artists and includes Damon Calderwood, David Adams, Paul Moniz de Sa, Parnelli Parnes, Colleen Winton, Stephen Aberle, Sean Allan, Vanessa Richards, Valerie Sing Turner, Judith Berlin, Quelemia Sparrow, George Ryan, and Sharon Heath, and is directed by Renee Bucciarelli. Visit the City Stage New West website to see the video teaser.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dec 21: North Shore Christmas Presence STILL HAPPENING

I know it's snowing, but we're going to do our best to put on the show! (I'm an Alberta boy. I never let a little snow deter me.)

See you there!


JESUS MY BOY Audience reaction

Hey, I've been slow to get these up! Christmas gets busy around PT, with JESUS MY BOY followed by FIRST CHRISTMAS followed by CHRISTMAS PRESENCE in the Valley and on the North Shore (8pm tonight, Sutherland Church, 630 East 19th St, North Vancouver), on top of our Christmas Matching Campaign (still a few thou needed before I can settle in for a long winter's nap). But as I find more kudos in the old email backlog (it's so much nicer to think of it as a yulelog), I'll pop 'em up here. Tons of audience, really strong word of mouth - "a sweet, gentle Christmas show you can bring your Mum to!" But with terrifically alt.folk tunes by Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer. Closes this coming Saturday!

"A triumph. Personally, it is the most affecting 'Christmas play' I've seen in recent memory. If this was risky, it was well worthwhile." Paul Thiessen

"I have been sadly lacking in Christmas spirit lately, and the show turned out to be a wonderful gift to me. David Adams was so engaging and believable. I really believed he was Joseph, and will not think of the manger scene in the same way again! The story was marvelous and his delivery and timing were impecable. The layering of the music with the play's action was lovely, and so well done. Kudos to Sheree and Jeremy for committing to something new and bringing a freshness to the play." JL

Saturday, December 20, 2008

JESUS MY BOY "Ninety minutes of bliss" - Vancouver Sun

Joseph builds a charming holiday story
Jesus' stepfather walks a fine holiday line between Hannukah and Christmas
Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun theatre critic

It's a Judeo-Christian Christmas at Pacific Theatre, where the Jewish stepfather of Christianity's Son of God holds forth on what it was like to raise Jesus Christ -- not from the dead, but from birth. Mary's husband Joseph is a middling carpenter, a great guy and an outstanding surrogate dad in John Dowie's charming Jesus, My Boy, a one-man show for an actor attuned to walking the fine holiday line between Hanukkah and Christmas.

David Adams does so with élan. The veteran actor steps outside his own religious roots to give his Joseph the reverberating nature of a Jew who understands his religion's place in the rapidly changing world of old Judea; Joe is not unaware that the followers of the young man he raised point to a whole new era. ...

Dowie writes Joseph as a joker who loves to tell a story, and Sarah Rodgers directs the one-act show with an eye to delivering a complete Christmas package. As Joseph tinkers in his basement workshop, frequent serenades of sweet seasonal music come courtesy two musicians performing live. From a clarinet lick of klezmer to the use of half a dozen different guitars, Jeremy Eisenhauer and Sheree Plett accompany themselves as they sing, in pretty harmony.

The story is a simple chronology of Joseph's emergence as a pretty crummy carpenter, especially compared to his father, before hitting the road. When he met and married Mary, life seemed pretty darn good for Joe -- until his good lady wife announced she was pregnant. By no less a Father than God Himself.

Joseph shrugs. What are you going to do? I love her, we'll raise him as ours and have some more -- the old-fashioned way -- along the way.

Such sweet sentiment flavours this show like sugar on a Christmas cookie. It's also spiced like cinnamon by the sharp observations Joseph makes about the horrors of Roman occupation (his detailed description of crucifixion is particularly horrifying) and has just enough Hanukkah oil in its lamp to enlighten us on many of the events that have become archetypal at this time of year. Lauchlin Johnston has hammered together a set that's the spitting image of any basement workroom, my father's included, where the patriarch can retire to saw and nail and enjoy coffee from a thermos. Jesus, My Boy is about 90 minutes of bliss for anyone who loves the smell of wood shavings and the telling of not just any Christmas story, but the Christmas story.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rehearsal Photos: FIRST CHRISTMAS 2008

Spencer Capier, Roy Salmond, Becca Robertson,
Nelson Boschman, Elaine Adamian Myers, Allen Desnoyers

Byron Linsey

Allen, Elaine

Elaine, Nelson

Roy, Becca

Allen, Elaine, Spencer

Byron, Allen

half of Spencer, Elaine, Allen

Ron Reed, Allen Desnoyers, Roy Salmond
Elaine Adamian Myers, Byron Linsey

...and Becca Robertson, Nelson Boschman and Spencer Capier

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December 21: Nine Lessons and Carols, St John's

Hi friends

This is a reminder and an invitation to join us this coming Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. for the Nine Lessons and Carols service at St. John’s, where I’m in the choir.

It’s a very traditional Anglican service that features exactly what it says it will: nine scripture readings telling the story of Christmas, and nine carols, sung both by the choir and by the congregation. We’re singing some really gorgeous music by, among others, Lauridsen and Rutter. The highlight for me will be Lauridsen’s haunting “O Magnum Mysterium”.

The church is all decorated now and the candles will be burning. Hope to see some of you there!

St. John’s is the big church at Granville and Nanton (about 28th avenue) in Vancouver. Can’t miss it.

Plan to arrive early to get decent seats; a similar Advent service was quite packed this year!

Diane Tucker

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dec 12: WINTERGARTEN CABARET, benefit show for PT and Genus

Wintergarten Cabaret
Dec. 12, 2008, doors at 8 pm, show around 9
Tix $15 in advance, $20 at the door
Anza Club (On the corner of West 8th and Ontario, two blocks west of Main St)

Doktor Luke Productions and Genus Theatre present a cabaret fundraiser for the Vancouver theatre commununity, featuring burlesque acts from the Starlet Harlots, comedy from Genus Theatre, flapper dancing by Glitter and Gold Showgirls, and ventriloquism from Kellie Haines.

This will be a 1920s themed cabaret, replete with a smoky atmosphere (tobacco free, of course). Drinks will be cheap and plenty, the extraordinary acts are coming along incredibly (we’ve got all sorts of talented surprises up our flapper dresses for you), including our headliner act THE STARLET HARLOTS!

Hosted by Doktor Luke Productions and Genus Theatre. All proceeds will go to Pacific Theatre and Genus Theatre, so buy your tickets early and drink plenty!

You’ll see our poster, pasted below, designed by Kolke (see - that little jewel is just a small sample of the talent we’ve got lined up for this show. So come one, come all, and support the Vancouver Theatre Community!

See you there!
Julie & Frank


Some of my compadres from those Sunday night gigs at West Point Grey Baptist, plus Allen Desnoyers. Should be swell!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Georgia Straight:
in Doug Curtis's CONFESSIONS OF A PAPER BOY. God speaks directly to 10-year-old newspaper carrier Christopher Columbus. Soon, Christopher is delivering miracles. Talk about a subscription drive. But assuming God isn't in this to up circulation, what exactly is the Almighty doing and why has S/He chosen this kid to do it with? Apparently this show from Calgary's Ghost River Theatre, which runs next Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in the Cultch's spiffy new VanCity Culture Lab, is all about faith and loss. It's also about the possibility that Satan lives in the brown bungalow down the block.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Feed The Lake" - Thoughts from our Stage Manager

Lois Dawson is Pacific Theatre's resident stage manager. This is from her blog, Lois In La La Land.

Back in early September, my friend Angela wrote a blog post following her attendance at Bard's production of The Tempest. In it she talks about learning that there is no point in jealousy because when one artist succeeds we all end up winning. She said:. She said: "The problem is, I have a degree in directing and I've been doing it for a long time but I don't know that I could create a work this accomplished. So for part of the performance I was torn between admiration and dejection - 'wow this is really good/wow that's really depressing' -something like that.... But when a truly gifted artist creates a work for others to share, we get the present. My life was enriched by the production I saw tonight and as a result, my work will be enriched." It was a sentiment she echoed after she and I attended Unity: 1918 a couple of weeks back.

But further in the post she talks about an image that appears in Madeline L'Engle's Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith & Art (which is, by the way, one of my top arts reads, regardless of faith orientation. L'Engle was the talented writer behind A Wrinkle in Time.). She discusses an analogy drawn by Jean Rhys in which art is a lake and the artists of the world are various sizes of rivers, streams, & trickles.

She quotes Rhys as saying "I don't matter. The lake matters. You must keep feeding the lake."
I love that image. The idea that all of art is this giant lake (actually I'd like to jump in and bathe in it - let it soak into my soul!), and that regardless of the size of our contribute we must continue to feed the lake.

Often, as a Stage Manager, I forget that I am also responsible for feeding the lake. I want to leave that role to the directors, actors & designers whose work is so clearly art. But creating a space in which it is possible for those artists to produce (and even better: to thrive!) is an art all its own, and I need to remember that when I get down about my role in the process.

Feed. The. Lake.