Monday, August 31, 2009

BC Liberals Slash Arts Funding

Really alarming news out of Victoria, as the Liberal government guts arts funding through its BC Access fund. Not a direct blow to Pacific Theatre, as we have not previously received funding from this source, but had strong reasons to believe that we would begin to be funded in this cycle. On the one hand, you can't lose what you never had: on the other, we had put some revenue from this source in our tentative 2009/10 operating budget, and hoped that it would ease us through an ambitious season faced with the current economic climate.

But far more troubling is the widespread impact of this action on the arts community at large. Below, snapshots of the impact on two valued local companies, The Vancouver Chamber Choir and Ruby Slippers Theatre. The VCC's Violet Goosen served on Pacific Theatre's board of directors for many years, and as a seasoned arts administrator she is quoted at length in The Vancouver Sun article. Diane Brown directed PT's premiere of CARIBOO MAGI a few years back: this morning I received an email from her outlining the devastating impact of this announcement on her company. These companies are not exceptional cases: there will be a similar impact on arts organizations throughout the province.

I understand that things are tough for everybody in this current economy, and there is immense pressure on the provincial government to steer a way through difficult fiscal times. But if 40% cuts to BC Arts Council funding weren't enough of an indication that the current Provincial government is placing a disproportionate share of the burden on arts organizations (in a province which already has nearly the worst level of arts funding in the nation), surely this announcement confirms that perception.

I am again reminded of Winston Churchill. When asked to cut funding for the arts to finance the war effort, he replied, “Then what are we fighting for?" (quoted by Colin Jackson, "Toward A Surplus Of Meaning."

Denise Ryan, The Vancouver Sun, August 30 2009

VANCOUVER — Dozens of arts organizations received word late Friday that the provincial government is slashing their gaming grants, including groups that had been guaranteed three-year funding.

“It’s a disaster,” said Bryan Pike, executive director of Word on the Street, which may have to cut literacy programs.

The $20-million in cuts will hobble the arts community, said Spencer Herbert, NDP critic for tourism, arts and culture. Arts community members were in shock and tears at Herbert’s Denman street constituency office yesterday as they scrambled to come up with a plan. Some even suggested a class-action lawsuit against the B.C. Liberal government, said Herbert.

The Vancouver Chamber Choir, one of the organizations that had its three-year “guarantee” pulled, will suffer a $60,000 shortfall this year. “Based on our letter from them last year, we planned our season and our program,” said choir general manager Violet Goosen. Goosen said she started to shake when she heard. “This came out of nowhere.” she said. “We we will have to cut outreach programs that bring music to schools and low-income families.”

Many arts organizations, like the Vancouver Children’s Festival, which is losing a grant of approximately $90,000, had already completed their seasons, and are now facing massive deficits. “It’s like the government is just passing their deficits on to our non-profit organizations,” said Pike.

Goosen called the cuts, which come on top of a 40-per-cent cut to the B.C. Arts Council, “a perfect storm” for arts in B.C. “We could have managed if we had a timely warning,” said Goosen. “I’ve worked with many governments over 30 years and none has treated the arts as poorly as this one.”

Last week, The Sun reported that the province’s lottery grants program would focus on social organizations and reduce or eliminate grants in several other categories this year. No one from the ministry would comment on the changes announced in a news release.

The effect of funding cuts on RUBY SLIPPERS THEATRE
Excerpted with permission from an email by the company's Artistic Director, Diane Brown

Dear Friends,

“The humanities done right are the crucible within which our evolving notions of what it means to be fully human are put to the test; they teach us, incrementally, endlessly, not what to do but how to be.”
Mark Slouka, in an article from Harpers Magazine, Dehumanized

Like dozens of arts organizations across British Columbia, Ruby Slippers Theatre had an agreement with the B.C. Government. In that agreement dated April 2008, they stated in writing that over the next three years, our company would receive $120,000 paid in $40,000 installments each spring. A legally binding agreement we assumed, we planned our seasons accordingly, hired people, signed contracts, rented theatres and rehearsal halls, bought advertising, etc. We completed one of our most successful seasons ever at the end of 2008/09.

We are still waiting for our 2008/09 installment of $40,000 and have just been told that it is not coming. In an email on Friday afternoon Aug. 28th, we were informed without any warning or any public consultation that after “a review” of the program, our money is not forthcoming. They are not honouring the agreement. They are not paying the money that they promised and owe us. Moreover, they are not honouring the rest of the agreement for the next two years. Ruby Slippers Theatre is now forced to cancel most of our 2009/10 season, break contracts with people, put people out of work, and look at the biggest deficit ever in our 20 year history.

In the business world, the government’s kind of behavior would result in lawsuits. They should be accountable and responsible for their agreements, and are guilty of breach of contract and public trust.

To slash and burn the arts and culture sector, one of the few sectors in B.C. that is actually stimulating the economy, is horrendously foolish and short sighted. It makes no economic sense, and absolutely no social sense. What then is the cultural legacy we are leaving our children? An Olympic t-shirt?

Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberals are destroying a sector in B.C. that was stimulating the economy and thereby financially benefiting all British Columbians, and laying waste to a rich cultural legacy for generations to come. . . .


Diane Brown
Artistic Director, Ruby Slippers Theatre

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sep 24-26: PRESENCE opens PT Season! Anna Vandas, Peter LaGrand, Sheree Plett, Eisenhauer...

I'm psyched. It's been a couple years since we had our last non-Christmas CHRISTMAS PRESENCE, and I've been itching to do another. PASSION, CONFESSIONS, TESTIMONY, and now... PRESENCE.

I'm looking at readings from Douglas Coupland, Nick Hornby, A.J. Jacobs, Anthony Bloom (former boss of the Russian Orthodox Church, dontcha know), Luci Shaw, Billy Collins, Mike Mason, and more. Our jazz pianist Nelson Boschman will be there with folks from our more-or-less "PT House Band," and some great musicians headlining. Not everybody's completely confirmed for every night yet, still waiting on schedules to coalesce, but right now I can confirm...

Sep 24 at PT: Anna Vandas, Peter LaGrand
Sep 25 at PT: Anna Vandas, Peter LaGrand, Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer
Sep 26 on the North Shore: Anna Vandas

More to come, but I wanted to give you a sneak preview. SO excited to have Peter playing at a PT show at last! I first heard him when he opened for Over The Rhine a few years back, and he shared the stage with Miriam Jones in a concert on our stage this spring.

And... Wow. Completely new to Pacific Theatre, Anna Vandas. Check this out...

Of course Sher and Jer, who need no introduction: JESUS MY BOY, CHRISTMAS PRESENCE, CONFESSIONS, etc.

Just back from a cross-Canada tour - CBC Radio 3 interviews and all! - with a whole new set of influences: Buddy and Julie Miller, for starters!

More to come!

Sept. 10-20: nggrfg

Andrea Loewen writes...

Our upcoming Simon the Zealot and Pilate in THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, Denis Simpson, is a busy man. You may remember him as an original founding member of acapella group The Nylons, as co-host of TV's THE POLKA DOT DOOR (my personal favorite childhood show), of from his previous work on the Pacific Theatre stage in DRIVING MISS DAISY. Well, now he's directing, and his show is coming to the Vancouver International Fringe Festival:

Small Brown Package Productions

& Guy Un-Disguised

(With the kind assistance of Origins Theatre Projects)

proudly present:


Written and performed by Berend McKenzie

Directed by Denis Simpson

Vancouver’s Small Brown Package Productions is pleased to team up with Edmonton’s

Guy Un-Disguised to present a new play by award-winning actor/writer Berend McKenzie

(creator of the smash Fringe hit "Get Off The Cross Mary”).

Directed by Canadian theatre legend Denis Simpson, nggrfg is a riotous and poignant one-man

tour-de-force about being black and gay in a world that doesn't always have room for either. Inspired

by words that are used to oppress, nggrfg explores the impact of those words in intimate terms.

Berend McKenzie performs four revealing and hilarious vignettes that tell the story of a queer black

kid finding his way through the minefield of straight white Canada: from navigating the schoolyard, to

the perils of dating, to the “glamour” of showbiz and the quest for identity.

nggrfg received its world premiere at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival –

and the reviews are in!

***** 5 STARS – Vue Weekly

***** 5 STARS – CJSR Radio

Who knew? The show with the most confrontational title at the Fringe — just fill in the vowels — turns out to

be a sweet, funny, poignant little multi-scene memoire of what it’s like to grow up out of synch, in a couple of

major ways, with the other kids… finely chiseled, touching… This is entertaining stuff.”

Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal

“…an examination…of the pain, humour, bewilderment, exhilaration, alienation, terror and love of growing up in

Alberta as a gay African-Canadian boy in the 1970s and 80s. It also happens to be a superb play…excellent.”

Minister Faust, CJSR

Vancouver-based writer/performer Berend McKenzie was awarded the Vancouver Hero Award for the

Vancouver Fringe run of his first play, “Get Off the Cross, Mary”, and was voted Best Actor in the Vancouver

Sun’s Fringe Reader’s Poll for his performance in “Beyond Therapy”. Film and TV credits include “Catwoman”,

Andromeda”, and “Cold Squad”.

nggrfg Plays at the Warehouse Theatre at the Vancouver Fringe:

Thur. Sept. 10 @ 10:25 PM Wed. Sept. 16 @ 8:30 PM

Sat. Sept. 12 @ 6:45 PM Fri. Sept. 18 @ 10:35 PM

Mon. Sept. 14 @ 7:40 PM Sun. Sept. 20 @ 8:45 PM


Sep 3: Trace Bundy & Laurell at PT

Mike Wipf (Torah student in THE QUARREL) produced last week's enjoyable CD release concert for Zaac Pick, which also featured Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer (JESUS MY BOY, CHRISTMAS PRESENCE, and - soon! - PRESENCE). He's got another show up next week, right on our very own stage: I've not heard Trace Bundy, bue we've been on the verge of having Laurell play for PT events a number of times - she's swell, check out the song that plays on her website!)

Trace Bundy
with special guest Laurell

Thu Sep 3, 8pm
Pacific Theatre

$18.50 by phone (778) 882-0393
$21.50 online (because of service charges)
$20 day of show

Monday, August 24, 2009

Aug 20-29: Kat Gauthier in MACBETH

Remember Kat Gauthier, who was so lovely as Sky in YOU STILL CAN'T?

Limbo Circus Theatre presents...
William Shakespeare's "MACBETH"
August 20- 29 8pm | Aug 23 @ 4:00pm + 10:00pm | Pay-what-you-can Aug 25 | No show Aug 24
Little Mountain Studios, 195 E. 26th @ Main Street
778 996-2339

To what lengths would you go to control your own fate? This question is explored in a passionate and unconventional telling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy.

Using diverse design components, this Limbo Circus Co-op unearths the roots of the Bard’s haunting tale of vaulting ambition. From flashlights to traditional theatre lights, recorded music to original compositions, from classical to modern influences, we have created a world that is all our own.

With artists from Studio 58, Capilano University, Douglas College, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia and Trinity Western University, this production boasts an innovative and creative theatre experience for people from all walks of life.

Directed by Kevin Bennett. Featuring: Rachel Aberle, Scott Button, Raes Calvert, Joy Castro, Rhys Finnick, Carly Friesen, Katherine Gauthier, Elizabeth Kirkland, Andrew Lynch, Pandora Morgan, Jenna Reed

Sept. 24-26: Presence

Not to dampen your summer-spirit, but as much as we try to forget, September is just around the corner. It's not all bad news though! With the change of seasons comes a new show at Pacific Theatre: PRESENCE. Think Christmas Presence without the Christmas. Come out to see the some new faces and some of the usual suspects from past PT events as they stage readings and play music that will entertain, inspire, and just plain tickle your fancy.

September 24 and 25th at Pacific Theatre
September 26th at Sutherland Church on the North Shore

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"First she takes Manhattan": Libby Skala's TIME TO DANCE in NYC

We brought Libby Skala to Pacific Theatre a couple seasons back to do her one-woman show LiLiA!, which was a great success. This spring she was back with A TIME TO DANCE, and now the show is in the New York Fringe. Check out these reviews! (Who says New York's a tough theatre town? They love Libby!)

"A Time to Dance provides a worthwhile reason to bask in the company of a tenacious woman who fled Nazi-occupied Austria for New York. Funny… captivating… charming… Ms. Skala's convincing portrayal is the reason Polk is brought to life with such vibrancy." ~ Gia Kourlas

“With elegant triumph, Skala manages to hold the audience’s attention—and keep it smiling—with a pointed tale of hardship.... She ultimately leaves the audience with a …message of belief in a great and invisible love, and of faith in the strength of one’s ‘core’ that nothing can touch.” ~ Katy Reddin

“A Time to Dance is a sparkling one-woman show. A vivacious actor, Skala brings childlike exuberance and lots of freeform expressive dance movement to her poignant portrayal of an undaunted survivor.” ~ Lisa Jo Sagolla

“If survival is an art, then A Time to Dance vividly underscores that truth. The magic of the show is in its almost child-like simplicity and total lack of gimmicks. Skala deftly impersonates Lisl and credibly tells her story…with unswerving accuracy.” ~ Deirdre Donovan

“Emotions flow as beautifully as [Skala’s] movements across the stage…a fascinating, humorous and touching journey. Libby Skala won “Best Solo Performer” for A Time to Dance at the London Fringe Festival. She will undoubtedly be in the running to win the same at this Festival also.” ~ Oscar Moore

“A must-see! A Time to Dance is truly uplifting without being saccharine, and that is perhaps the greatest miracle of all.” ~ Jon Sobel

“I had tears of happiness in my eyes at the end of Libby Skala’s one-woman play…[Skala] was shimmering as Lisl. I strongly encourage you to see this beautiful show.” ~ Retta Blaney

“Dramatically well structured, Polk's story has the potential to appeal to a wide commercial audience as an inspiring story of the immigrant experience.” ~ Joe Bendel

And last but not least a lovely blog review

Aug. 19-22nd: BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS, Xua Xua Productions

Andrea Loewen writes...

Another show from my side-project, Xua Xua Productions. Neil Labute's dark triad of one-act plays titled BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS has just opened! CLOSES SATURDAY!

From religion to journals (online or otherwise) to reality shows, people have always been looking for ways to confess. In Xua Xua Productions’ presentation of Neil Labute’s BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS, three confessions are drawn out of the basement and into the spotlight. These three dark one-act plays inspired by Greek mythology, the Bible, and pop culture, feature Labute’s trademark talent for hunting down the sinister underpinnings of the all-American glow and yanking it to the forefront. “The difference between a perfectly decent person and a monster is just a few thoughts.” –Neil Labute.

August 19-22nd at 8pm (2pm matinee on Saturday)
2-for-1 preview Aug. 18th
Carousel Theatre (1411 Cartwright Street)
Go to for tickets, or email

To Aug 29: WARDROBE and OKLAHOMA at Chemainus

Pacific Theatre will be bringing Vancouver audiences our lovely two-hander version of THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE that premiered in 1998 with Anthony Ingram and Miriam Brown (Gutierrez), then played at the Norman Rothstein for 22,000 people in 2003 with two casts: Anthony Ingram and Tiffany Lyndall-Knight under Morris Ertman's direction, and Julia Mackey and Paul Moniz de Sa (who won a Jessie for his work) that I directed. This time it will be back in the intimate setting of Pacific Theatre, Kerry VanderGriend at the helm (CHICKENS, THE FARNDALE CHRISTMAS CAROL), with Kyle Rideout (HALO, BEGGARS AT THE WELL OF IMMORTALITY, and plenty of roles at Bard, etc) as Peter and Donna-Lea Ford (THE NERD) as Lucy.

But if you can't wait until November, or happen to be on Vancouver Island, check out a similar two-handed version of the C.S. Lewis classic at Chemainus, starring none other than Mack Gordon (who played the romantic lead in YOU STILL CAN'T this spring), and directed by David Nykl, who toured with Pacific Theatre's DRAGONS PROJECT way back when, appeared as Jake's brother Marty in MERCY WILD, and will be back on our mainstage in REFUGE OF LIES next spring. And while you're there, CTF has a hit on its hands with OKLAHOMA, starring Tracy Neff - who blew me away in GUYS & DOLLS last December at the Gateway, and who we hope to see on our stage before too long.


to August 29
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Original Dances by Agnes De Mille

Filled with all the exuberant melodies you remember, including Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin', The Surrey With the Fringe On Top, I Can't Say No, People Will Say We're in Love, and, of course the title song, Oklahoma! This 1944 Pulitzer Prize winner ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances when it originally opened on Broadway. Later it enjoyed award-winning revivals, national tours and a movie which won the Academy Award. Featuring Tony Barton and Tracy Neff.


From the story by C.S. Lewis
Dramatized by Le Clanche Du Rand

Join Lucy and Edmund as they enter the magical world of Narnia. A bold adventure for all! "We are what we believe we are" - C.S. Lewis For Ages 6+

$10 per person - 4 tickets for $30 | Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aug 19: Zaac Pick release with Sheree Plett

Mike Wipf (he was a Torah student in THE QUARREL) sent me word that Sheree Plett will be singing at a release party Wednesday night. Zaac Pick is new to me, but I'm liking what I hear at - especially Maybelline, so far, and Summer Moon that's got Sheree singing beegees and a swell cello....

Hey All,

Just a reminder that tomorrow night is the night! Come out for some cheap drinks and a great show. See you ALL there!

Zaac Pick's 'Fierce Wind' EP Release Party!
Full Band! Cheap drinks!
with Daniel Huscroft, and Sheree Plett
Doors at 7:30pm, show at 8:00pm

St. James Community Square
3214 West 10th Avenue
(Corner of 10th & Trutch)
Vancouver, B.C.
V6K 2L2

Nov 5-8: Honeymoon Bay Poetry Retreat, Richard Osler

Richard has read his work at Pacific Theatre events like CHRISTMAS PRESENCE and TESTIMONY, and I bet his dynamic, energetic presence would make for a splendidly inspiring creative environment.

Thursday November 5th to Sunday November 8th. All-in cost: Double Occupancy $300, Single Occupancy $425.

Date Change! Owing to an unforseen scheduling conflict I have had to move the October Retreat date to November 5th to 8th. But the good news is that means low season rates! This translates into an all inclusive cost of $300 double occupancy (queen-sized beds) and $425 for single occupancy (queen-sized bed). This includes nine high quality meals and all other retreat costs!

Weekend Structure. We will start with a 1 PM lunch on Thursday and a one and a half hour poetry writing session on Thursday afternoon followed by another one-and-a-quarter- hour session Thursday evening. We will have a two and half hour writing session on Friday and Saturday morning and a shorter-wrap up session on Sunday morning. On Friday and Saturday evening there will be time to share favorite poems and some of your own writing. We will use specific writing reflections based on the poems of some of the outstanding poets of the past century as a way to engage our own thoughts and words.And we will be inspired by each other.

Retreat facilitator. Richard Osler, 58. Poet, workshop facilitator and businessman.

Retreat Centre. The Honeymoon Bay Lodge and Retreat Centre near Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island (90 minutes from either Victoria or Nanaimo) This centre, owned and operated by a charitable foundation, is a five star facility with an executive chef. All meals are provided ( high quality!) and each room has two queen-sized beds and a three-piece bathroom. Please check out this link for a virtual tour.

Cost. Reasonable! Thanks to the great package offered by Honeymoon Bay the all-in cost including all meals prepared by staff at the lodge and selected by the participants (dinners) from a menu selection is reasonable! See above. A non-refundable deposit of $100.00 is required to secure a place. WIth the deposit should be a post-dated cheque dated October 15th for the balance owing. The amount of the post dated cheque will be refundable if the cancelled space is filled by another retreatant. Cheques should be made payable to Richard Osler and sent to 1046 Queens Ave., Victoria, B.C. V8T 1M8.

Who should come? Anyone who wants a weekend of reflection and unexpected words.

Who to Contact: Email or phone Richard Osler ( or 604 836 7875.

Response Time. Soon! We have ten rooms available which means a minimum of about 10 to 12 retreatants.We have about 5 to 6 rooms left.

"Most people…think that writing means writing down ideas, insights, visions. They feel that they must first have something to say before they can put it on paper. For them writing is little more than recording a pre-existent thought. But with this approach true writing is impossible. Writing is a process in which we discover what lives in us. The writing itself reveals what is alive…The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know. Thus, writing requires a real act of trust. We have to say to ourselves, ‘I do not yet know what I carry in my heart, but I trust that it will emerge as I write.’ Writing is like giving away the few loaves and fishes one has, trusting that they will multiply in the giving. Once we dare “to give” away on paper the few thoughts that come to us, we start discovering how much is hidden underneath…and gradually come in touch with our own riches.” Henri Noewen

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aug 14-22: Lucia Frangione in VIA BEATRICE

Got a note from Lucia while in rehearsals for this one. Such a lovely singer - do you remember her in HOWARD BUYS A MOTORHOME? That love song she sang to Howard? Brought tears to me every time she sang it. Cia wrote: "I'm starring in a new operetta by Jenn Griffin and Peggy Lee with Marco Soriano and Laura DiCicco, Fugue Theatre, it's playing at The Festival House on Granville Island, we open August 14th and run to the 22. Only 8 shows. It's structured more like a play with music. I think the composing in this show is rather astonishing. The poetry in the libretta is arresting but in particular the music itself is very contemporary, haunting and dissonant and yet melodic and full of story. It's a moving show, good cast. New and wobbly as most plays are, but worth seeing for sure. . . Okay, gotta go sing in three octaves now while being seduced by a handsome Italian guy in Rome in the midst of my suicide attempt. Gotta love the opera!"

The World Premiere of Fugue Theatre’s experimental operetta
Aug 14-16, 19-22
Playwrights Theatre Centre

A woman travels to Italy after the suicide of her daughter. They were supposed to take the trip together. Practically giving up all hope for life itself, the woman stumbles upon a haunted tour of Rome led by a slick Italian tour guide. He has his own demons. Together, they become entwined with the ghost of Beatrice Cenci in a roller-coaster ride of sensuality, fright, grief and hope. This seductive operetta stars Laura Di Cicco, Lucia Frangione and Marco Soriano, with each performer acting and singing multiple parts.
Writer and Librettist: Jennifer Griffin
Composer, Musical Direction and Musician: Peggy Lee
Direction: Matthew Bissett
Musician: Ron Samworth

August 14, 8 p.m.
August 15, 8 p.m.
August 16, 2 p.m., pay if you can
August 19, 8 p.m.
August 20, 8 p.m.
August 21, 8 p.m.
August 22, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Collier, Young, Conway Memorial Established

Reposted by Andrea Loewen from Simon Ogden's post Collier, Young, Conway Memorial Established on The Next Stage.

A few weeks ago, an unimaginable tragedy struck the family of Kim Collier and Jonathon Young, the ever-inspirational power couple at the forefront of the Vancouver Independent Stage industry. They lost their daughter Azra and her two young cousins; Phoebe and Fergus Conway, to a freakish flash cabin fire in Eagle Bay on the shores of Shuswap Lake.

It should be an immutable law of the universe that you don’t outlive your children. We join the community in offering our love and thoughts and deepest condolences to the families.

A memorial scholarship is being set up in the name of the children, and donations are being accepted to help with the costs of its development. If you would like to contribute you can drop a cheque off at any Bank of Montreal in Canada payable to Collier, Young, Conway In Trust, or you can mail one to

C. Reid
c/o The Cultch
1895 Venables Street
Vancouver, BC V5L 2H6

You can visit the official site for the Eagle Bay Memorial here, and you can join Tributes and Prayers for the Collier, Young, Conway Families on Facebook here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Aug 12-22: Diana Squires in LAUNDROMAT in laundromat!

UPDATE: Dice will be interviewed this afternoon on CBC Radio's "On the Coast." If you're near a radio at around 4 p.m. you can tune in to 88.1 FM and hear all about THE LAUNDROMAT. . . . If you've been in one of my acting classes, there are a few scenes you're likely to have seen. One play that's in heavy rotation is Marsha Norman's Third & Oak: The Laundromat. It seems that at least one survivor of my tutelage retained enough affection for the piece to tackle a full production - in a laundromat, no less! Brilliant. Diana "Dice" Squires will be playing Deedee, and she notes "Former PT apprentice Christie Maxson is stage managing and TWU grads Jackie Faulkner & Joshua McFaul are also on the team as Costume/Laundry Designer and Recording Technician." I'm not missing this one!

THE LAUNDROMAT by Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman
Aug 13-15 19-22 (pay-what-you-can preview Aug 12)
Swan Laundry - 1352 Burrard Street
Doors 8pm, show 8:30

Directed by Tamara McCarthy ~ Starring Brenda Matthews & Diana Squires
Tickets - $12 - (seating very in advance!)

In Scarlet Satin Productions’ The Laundromat, one wash-rinse-dry cycle sends the audience spinning back to the world of 1979 where, for two desperate housewives, nothing is as it seems. In the intimate setting of a real laundromat, watch two strangers from different worlds stumble in with delicates in hand and reluctantly share their deepest secrets.

With her characteristic humour and realism, playwright Marsha Norman introduces Deedee, who bounces from fidgety to feisty, hitting every hilarious extreme in between; and Alberta, whose restrained propriety masks both tenderness and sardonic wit.

“The themes of loss, loneliness, and the continuous struggle to make sense of our selves and our lives, are as relevant today as when the play was written,” says Tamara McCarthy, whose recent directing work at Carousel Theatre earned rave reviews and a Jessie nomination. “It’s a delight to be telling this simple, beautiful story in a non-traditional performance space.”

With rolling carts and brightly coloured bubbles, Swan Laundry offers a world ideally suited to the play’s warmth and retro appeal. Owner Carolyn Currie says, “They told me they wanted to perform the cutest show in town at the cutest laundromat in town…I couldn’t resist!”

The Laundromat marks the debut of Scarlet Satin Productions, an independent theatre company dedicated to creating opportunities for women and forging professional connections for emerging artists while producing unique and thought-provoking theatre. More info at

Directed by Tamara McCarthy, featuring Brenda Matthews and Diana Squires, The Laundromat plays at 8:30 p.m. August 13-15 & 19-22 with a pay-what-you-can preview August 12. General admission $12. Swan Laundry, 1352 Burrard Street. Seating very limited – reserve tickets through

For a chance to win two free tickets to Opening Night, e-mail Scarlet Satin Productions the correct answer to this question: Which play won Marsha Norman the Pulitzer Prize?

Media Contact: Diana Squires
Artistic Producer, Scarlet Satin Productions

Aug 5-20: The Road To Canterbury, Queen E Park

Peter Carlone was a treat as one of the Special Agents in YOU STILL CAN'T, and he's front and centre in this fun CANTERBURY update. An exciting night for the cast, last night; real-life SWAT teams, real-life scatalogical humour. Ah, the vissicitudes of site-specific theatre!

Itsazoo Productions presents
The Road to Canterbury
Queen Elizabeth Park (meet at Bloedel Conservatory)
Aug 7-20 @ 7pm
Previews Aug 5 & 6 @ 7pm
2pm matinee Saturdays, no show Sundays
604.221.6604 |
Itsazoo Productions, who brought the sold-out Grimm Tales to Mt. Douglas and Queen Elizabeth Parks last year, is pleased to present The Road to Canterbury. A modern-day re-imagining of The Canturbury Tales (by Grimm Tales author Sebastien Archibald), The Road To Canterbury, lead by a Chaucer enthusiast, takes the audience on a tour of Queen Elizabeth Park, and five of Chaucer’s tales. The Road to Canterbury runs (Vancouver).

Updated for the 21st Century, Archibald’s take on The Canterbury Tales features contemporary counterparts of Chaucer’s classic characters telling hilarious, insightful, and often sordid tales of love, power, and religion. Five tourists, who are (unbeknownst to them) modern versions of The Canterbury Tales’ classic characters, partake in a guided tour themed around Chaucer’s life and times. The tour is lead by a chipper Chaucer enthusiast, who leads the audience through the beautiful landscape of the Park. However, he quickly looses control of the proceedings when various “audience members” take over and begin telling their own stories, complete with re-written modern pop songs. The Knight is now a mercenary. The Wife of Bath has morphed into a gin-swilling British socialite. The Miller has transformed into a beatnik. The Road To Canterbury showcases the timelessness of The Canterbury Tales and the themes it explored with three main tools Chaucer would no doubt approve of: wit, satire, and music.

“This a dynamic theatrical event,” says Chelsea Haberlin, General Manager and Director of The Road to Canterbury. “The synthesis of play and audience in an outdoor environment is a one-of-a-kind experience. This show is alive, it's active and it's hilarious. Furthermore, many of the social and societal criticisms and insights exemplified in The Canterbury Tales are relevant to today.”

Founded in 2004, Itsazoo Productions is a twenty-something theatre company made up of UVic graduates. Their mandate is to create opportunities for emerging artists, produce theatre outside of the traditional playhouse setting, present theatre to a younger and more diverse audience, and to produce new Canadian plays. 2008-09 marked their first theatre season, with four plays produced. They were recently named “Favorite New Theatre Company” by The Westender, and were nominated for their first Jessie Richardson Theatre Award.

From Adrian Chamberlain, The Times-Colonist:
Vancouver playwright Sebastien Archibald has adapted five of Chaucer's stories for Itsazoo Productions. The troupe of talented 20-somethings (many of them University of Victoria theatre grads) do justice to Archibald's madcap opus, which aims primarily to tap into a contemporary comic sensibility.

If you enjoy Saturday Night Live, Little Britain and other sketch-comedy shows, you'll get a kick from the sharply conceived Road to Canterbury. Added plus: Seeing theatre in a oceanside park is a great way to beat the heat.

PS from Ron and the wife of Bath...
"Purity in body and heart
May please some--as for me, I make no boast.
For, as you know, no master of a household
Has all of his utensils made of gold;
Some are wood, and yet they are of use.
The Lord calls folk to Him in many ways,
And each has his particular gift from God,
Some this, some that, even as He thinks good."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

"The Holy Crossing"

NORMAN. Counting down to the long awaited Feast Of The Holy Crossing, it was twenty years ago today! Or it will be in a couple days. August 8, 1969, commemoration at 11:35 sharp, the commemoration right here on KRBY, Radio That's Way Beyond The Norm! . . .

NORMAN. Anybody come yet?
(BEA shakes her head.)
NORMAN. Probably nobody listens to my station.
GRANDPA. So when's air time? For the crossing?
NORMAN. No show today.
GRANDPA. No show. You've been talking about this one for weeks!
NORMAN. I'll do it another time.
GRANDPA. But today's the eighth. You said it had to be August eighth.
NORMAN. I'll do it another year.
GRANDPA. Norman! I can't believe what I'm hearing. What about all the special food you had Sky pick up for you.
NORMAN. You can eat it. I'm not really hungry.
GRANDPA. But I thought it was for some kind of special religious feast, or something.
NORMAN. The Feast of the Holy Crossing of Saint Paul and Saint John.
GRANDPA. Exactly! And wasn't there some ritual we were supposed to do?
NORMAN. I guess.
GRANDPA. Norman, don't guess. You never guess.
NORMAN. Okay, fine! There's a commemoration. At 11:35. But people will be crossing all over the world. They don't need me.
GRANDPA. WE need you, Norm. Whatever this thing is, it's exactly what we need!
NORMAN. Look, it's stupid, okay? Frankly Grandpa, that sort of thing doesn't seem real important today.
GRANDPA. I'm very disappointed in you, young man. I never thought of you as selfish. (Pause.) Norman, I'm sorry. Nobody around here feels much like celebrating anything. Truth be told, I feel the same. Don't even feel up to a funeral today, and that's pretty low. But Norman, that's exactly when we need to celebrate. Something bigger than ourselves. All this will pass, but if we neglect the things that will last through the ages... I want to celebrate. Something. And you know, if Sky was here, she'd celebrate with us. It wouldn't matter to HER that she was in jail.
(A moment's silence.)
NORMAN. You're right. No need to apologize, Grandpa. I've got a party planned. And that's one thing you don't give up on! (Inspired, he strides over to GRANDPA and gives him a sudden, awkward hug.) Thanks. . . .

NORMAN. Ladies and gentlemen, the Feast of the Holy Crossing of Saint Paul and Saint John. And let us not forget Saints George and Ringo.
NORMAN. It was twenty years ago today... (R MILHOUSE holds up a framed copy of the Abbey Road album cover with the inscription "11:35 A.M., August 8, 1969") And now, the feast! Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, and of course my own invention, Strawberry Fields! (He holds aloft a whipped cream concoction, studded with strawberries.) The Feast Of The Fabs!

Text from "You Still Can't"
Photo #1: Tim, Ron, Alison, Amy
Photo #2: Tim, Ron, Linsy, Alison
Photo #3: Alison

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

There's Something About Judas

Andrea Loewen writes...

Lately I've had Judas on the brain. I am more than excited for THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT to open the season at Pacific Theatre, and there are many many reasons why. Here are a few:

First of all, just think about it: a courtroom drama to determine the eternal resting place of Judas Iscariot. Witnesses include Mother Theresa, Freud, Judas' mother, a foul-mouthed Saint Monica, and, of course, Satan. It sounds like it could be a bad episode of Judge Judy, but instead each character finds a deeper question or dilemma of Judas' situation as inspired by their "specialty."

The second reason is playwright Guirgis himself. He is an artist in residence at LABrynth Theater Company in New York with co-founding member Philip Seymour Hoffman (heard of him?). He's also got quite a knack for bringing these dilemmas from Galilee into present day, and it looks like he's been looking at questions of faith and redemption for a while. Past plays include JESUS HOPPED THE "A" TRAIN and OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET, both of which feature a plethora of eclectic characters from the Bible and beyond asking all those tough questions.

Finally, the original cast featured none other than Eric Bogosian himself as Satan! Not to mention Sam Rockwell, who later went on to play James Reston Jr. in the film adaptation of FROST/NIXON, and of course, Mr. Philip Seymour Hoffman directing.