Tuesday, May 31, 2011

july 9 | jp allen acting (or writing) workshop

JP Allen studied at CalArts with Ron, and they've been working together wherever possible since. In July apprentice Phil Miguel is directing THE CASINO and JP is coming up to direct Ron and Shay in THE DISAPPEARING. We'll also be screening JP's new film, CENTAUR, which premieres in Seattle this coming weekend. While he's here, JP has agreed to offer a workshop!

There are two options - if you're interested, please email Phil at philm33@gmail.com and let him know which one you're interested in. Only one workshop will be offered, if you're keen on both let him know.

Option One

Saturday, July 9, 10AM to 5PM
Fee - $150
This class is an intensive one day workshop on the craft of acting for the camera, with particular emphasis on the relationship between stage and film acting. Through class demonstration and exercises, students will be introduced to techniques of film acting and role analysis, as well as begin to learn relaxation and concentration methods required by the film performer. They will become familiar with film terminology and the manner in which camera shots and production affect the acting process. Students will also be introduced to some “behind the scenes” activities, including on set roles and procedures. Through these activities they will develop a broader understanding of film acting and develop a foundation from which to make confident and interesting acting choices.

Option Two

Saturday, July 9, 10AM to 5PM
Fee - $150
This class is an intensive one day workshop on fundamental concepts of storytelling and how to create dramatic ideas and content for both stage and screen. We will explore various storytelling components of character, plot, action, theme, metaphor, dramatic structure, spectacle, language, rhythm, and audience. Perhaps more importantly, we will examine how to discover and create ideas and how to translate them into personal dramatic works. Students will bring and explore multiple story samples, analyze which show promise and determine methods to shape these ideas into complete scripts.

june 6-22 | anthony f. ingram | lady mary

Anthony F. Ingram (nominated for a Jessie Award for his direction of PLAYLAND) is co-starring in THE REPUTATION OF LADY MARY at the Jericho Arts Centre this month.  Here's the notice...


by Charles Siegel

This is a chance to meet Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Flamboyant, talented, and controversial, she was an important figure in the history of English letters. Much of the play is assembled from material written in the 18th Century by Lady Mary and her friends - Horace Walpole, Lord Hervey, and especially, Alexander Pope.

at the Jericho Arts Centre
1675 Discovery
June 6 - June 22, 2011
Monday through Wednesday, at 8 pm
Tickets $16

ONLINE RESERVATIONS or 604 224 8007, ext. 3

Monday, May 30, 2011

pt family at the jessies | 2011

We've already given you the rundown of the staggering 21 nominations PT got for its 2010-2011 season. We've got an extended family throughout the theatre community though, and you should know who else to be cheering for.

In the large theatre category, our dear Lucia Frangione, whose PT-produced plays include HOLY MO, ESPRESSO, and CARIBOO MAGI was nominated for her role in NOEL COWARD'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER. There are two nominations for actor Bob Frazer who is best known at PT for his role in PRODIGAL SON, but also played Judas in THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT. Dawn Petten was nominated for her acting in TEAR THE CURTAIN!, you saw her on stage at PT in THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT.

In small theatre, Gina Chiarelli received a nod not only for her role in THE BUSY WORLD IS HUSHED here at PT (produced by one2theatre), but also for her work in MAMBO ITALIANO. Another double-nominee is Itai Erdal who has been recognized for his lighting design for JESUS HOPPED THE 'A' TRAIN (produced by Glass City Theatre) as well as HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY, a play he co-wrote and produced. Drew Facey, nominated for his set design for PLAYLAND here at PT as well as MUNSCHA MIA, is also a talented costume designer, as evidenced by his nomination for his work on LOVE FIGHTS.

Finally, in the theatre for young audiences category, Kaylee Harwood was nominated for her performance in SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL. Kaylee still hasn't been seen on the PT stage, but as a former acting student of Ron's at TWU, she's very much a part of the crew. In CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR, Benjamin Elliott knocked our socks off with his physical comedy and musical chops - well it looks like the jury liked his work in MUNSCHA MIA even more, giving him a nomination for his performance. The design team for PHAROH SERKET & THE LOST STONE OF FIRE received a nomination for significant artistic achievement. Included in this group is Jeff Tymoschuk (THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE) and Yulia Shtern (THE BUSY WORLD IS HUSHED).

What a crew! We are proud to have worked with such an outstanding group of artists over the past years.

Photo credit: Marcus Youssef and Alexa Devine announcing the 2010-2011 nominations. Photo by Thor-Stern.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011-2012 | subscriber benefits

We are officially accepting subscriptions for the 2011-2012 season!  Starting as low as $59 for four shows, these babies are a screaming deal and a great way to show your support to Pacific Theatre and the work we do.  Every year we offer a wide array of benefits to those who choose to subscribe to a season at Pacific Theatre, and this year we have a few new ones to offer...

Artistic Director Conversations - NEW!
More than a talkback, on the second Saturday of every show at 4:30pm, join artistic director Ron Reed in conversation with the season’s directors, writers, designers, and other special guests. Grab a coffee and join us after the matinee, come early for a pre-dinner chat before the evening show, or if you subscribe on a different day, drop by after your Saturday errands.  Similar to our popular Screen to Stage AD chats from the 2007-2008 season, this time exclusively for subscribers!

Open Rehearsals - NEW!
Subscribers will receive invitations to witness the rehearsal process for each of our shows - true behind-the-scenes access!

Award-Winning Seasons
The 2010-2011 season at Pacific Theatre was nominated for a total of 21 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, including one nomination for Special Artistic Achievement for Curation and Execution of an Outstanding Season of Theatre.  Kinda makes you want to make sure you don't miss out next year, doesn't it?

Maximum Savings
Save up to 20% off regular ticket prices on all shows. Save another 5% when you subscribe by September 9th! Click here to compare prices of Single Tickets vs. Season Passes.

Invite a Friend
Pass Holders can bring a FIRST TIME FRIEND for only $11.

Maximum Flexibility
Only Pass Holders can EXCHANGE ANY TICKET up to 24 hours before the show with no exchange fees.

Bonus Events
Email invitations will keep you in the loop for LATE-NIGHT STONES’ THROW PRODUCTIONS AND APPRENTICE SHOWCASES Subscribers are invited to view the work of developing PT artists at no cost.

For more info on our subscription packages, download our PDF subscription form.  To book your pass, simply call our box office at 604-731-5518 or print and fax or mail in the form.

may 25 @ 3pm | viper central | streaming concert

At 3pm Vancouver time today, Wed May 25, Viper Central in concert - in Scotland! Which might seem irrelevant to anyone on Vancouver time, except for the fact that the show will be streamed by The Medicine Show, "a long running Roots Music Show on Scotland's biggest (and best) independent Radio Station, Nevis Radio."

I love their record "The Devil Sure Is Hard To Please." Kate Nisbet is the fiddler: you know her from Christmas Presence, and you'll know her better when she takes the stage with me in Pacific Theatre's brand new one-man adaptation of A Christmas Carol this December. (So I guess that's a one-man-one-fiddler-show, then, to be precise?)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2010-2011 jessie nominations

The 2010-2011 Jessie Richardson Award Nominations have been announced and we are absolutely gobsmacked with the results! Not that we didn’t know we had an outstanding run this season, but check out these nominations:

Significant Artistic Achievement
Curation and Execution of an Outstanding Season of Theatre
This category includes one-time awards created to recognize work which falls outside the normal nomination categories, such as special ensemble creations, recognition of technical achievements, etc.

Actor in a Lead Role: Michael Kopsa and Tom Pickett
Lighting Design: Lauchlin Johnston
Set Design: Drew Facey
Direction: Anthony F. Ingram
Outstanding Production
Total nominations: 6

My Name is Asher Lev
Set Design: Lauchlin Johnston
Costume Design: Naomi Sider
Sound Design: Luke Ertman
Total nominations: 3

The Busy World is Hushed (one2theatre)
Actress in a Lead Role: Gina Chiarelli
Lighting Design: Michael Schaldemose
Set Design: Michael Schaldemose
Sound Design: David Mesiha
Direction: Richard Wolfe
Outstanding Production
Total nominations: 6

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Glass City Theatre)
Actor in a Lead Role: Carl Kennedy and Robert Olguin
Lighting Design: Itai Erdal
Direction: Angela Konrad
Outstanding Production
Total nominations: 5


Let’s break this down a little more, because we are awfully excited about this. All-in-all, Pacific Theatre’s 2011-2012 season has received:

10 nominations for PT productions
11 nominations for our guest productions
4 out of the 5 nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role
3 out of the 5 nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design, Set Design, and Direction
3 Outstanding Production nominations
1 very special nomination of Significant Artistic Achievement for the season as a whole
21 nominations total!


Click here for a history of all 116 Jessie nominations 
received by shows on the PT mainstage since we became eligible in 1994.

Friday, May 20, 2011

2011-2012 season

It's official!  Our 2011-2012 season has been released on the world wide web!  Check out our website for the full story, including casting.  Here's a quick overview:

Tuesdays with Morrie
by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom 
Mitch Albom is a high flying sports journalist challenged by his long-forgotten promise to a former college professor. From the wonderfully funny book that spent four years on the New York Times Best-Seller List, a life-changing story about generosity of spirit in the face of death.
a guest production by Gallery 7 Theatre

by Sean Devine
November 2, 1965. Norman Morrison drives to the Pentagon with his infant daughter, a jug of kerosene, and a box of matches. 36 years later, in the wake of 9/11, his daughter returns to confront the costly legacy of sacrifice.

A Christmas Carol
adapted by Ron Reed from the novel
by Charles Dickens
An impassioned one-man interpretation of Dickens’ masterpiece of storytelling, Reed’s adaptation restores the thrilling originality, wit and fire, glorious language, vivid characterization and compelling social conscience of this classic work.

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
by John Patrick Shanley
In a rundown bar in the Bronx, two strangers meet at the end of their ropes. Haunted by the past and trapped in the violence of the present, Danny and Roberta begin the ruthless act of revealing themselves - a brutal exposure that threatens to change everything.
PT presents Annunciation Pictures

Doubt, a Parable
by John Patrick Shanley
A progressive priest locks horns with Sister Aloysius, an orthodox nun who guards the young students in her care as fiercely as she upholds order, tradition, and discipline. A tightly woven mystery, this Pulitzer Prize winner is an eloquent, provocative investigation of elusive truth and terrible consequence.

The Meal
by The Lost Gospel Ensemble
Four singers swig wine and break bread while anxiously awaiting a late guest of honour. It's the Last Supper - in a funky, theatrcial new song cycle inspired by the Gospels of John, Thomas, Judas and Mary Magdalene, featuring some of Vancouver’s top indie music artists.
a guest production by The Lost Gospel Ensemble

100 Saints You Should Know
by Kate Fodor
Matthew is a faithful priest caught in a spiritual crisis. Theresa is a former wild girl whose earthbound life as a freelance maid has her asking Big Questions. As she journeys toward a faith that he's falling away from, unexpected events leave them grappling with both their worldly and other-worldly longings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

great divorce | photos

Well folks, it's upon us: the final show of the 2010-2011 season at Pacific Theatre.  Tomorrow night is the official opening of THE GREAT DIVORCE and we couldn't be more excited about this stunning and imaginative interpretation care of director Kyle Rideout and his amazing team of designers.  Here are some photos to tickle your fancy - see you on stage tomorrow night!

The Great Divorce
May 20-June 18th

photo credits
1 Phil Miguel and Jeff McMahan
2 Kirsty Provan, Holly Pillsbury, Kyla Ferrier, Stephanie Elgersma
3 Evan Frayne and Masae Day.
4 Holly Pillsbury
5 Matt Beairsto
6 Sarah Ruth and Stephanie Elgersma

all photos by Ron Reed

jun 17 | mike mason | book launch

A note from my buddy Mike Mason. I'll be there for sure!

Dear Friends, 

I spy with my little eye something that is VIOLET

What is it? Give up?
It's Mike Mason's brand new fantasy novel 


Due to be published on June 1, this sequel to THE BLUE UMBRELLA is already available for pre-order on Amazon

And of course, a new book deserves a BIG PARTY! 

Come to the official VIOLET FLASH book launch at 


FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 7:00-9:00 pm

for a combination of fun, good literature, live music, fine coffee, neighbourliness, a funky atmosphere, and PRIZES! 

That's right: We're giving away 3 free copies of the book, plus a GRAND DOORPRIZE of a BEAUTIFUL BLUE UMBRELLA just like the original! 

Why do this at Porter's? Because that's where the story is set! Come see, touch, and imbibe the very atmosphere that Mike's book turns into a magical place full of wonders! 

And all this for a ticket price of just $6.00, which includes a specialty beverage and a chance at the doorprize. 

Reading and talk by the author at 7:30! 
Signed books for sale at $10.00 each! 

Tickets go on sale May 20 at Porter's (cash only, please). Get 'em while they last, because seating is limited to 50, or 75 with standees. If you can't pick up a ticket in person, but can guarantee you will come, just reply to this email and I'll reserve you a place. 

Hope to see you there! 



P.S. Want to know more about THE VIOLET FLASH? Visit my website at mikemasonbooks.com and click on "New Release." And by the way, this book includes something you've never seen before between covers: OUTTAKES! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

necessary theatre 5 | necessary community

This series of essays originally appeared in theatre programs for the 1998-99 season of Theatre & Company, Kitchener, Ontario, where author Stuart Scadron-Wattles was the producing artistic director.

T&Co was in many ways a sister company to PT. I was very struck by these ideas at the time, and they've been on my mind again recently. Stuart's given me permission to reproduce them here. This is the fifth.

Five Short Essays on Necessary Theatre:
Necessary Community

by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

Necessary Theatre recognizes that there must be community in order for there to be theatre. One task of the theatre is thus to find community. Finding existing community seems quite simple. Where are people gathering? Around what symbols or commonly held values? Where are people sharing goals, seeking vision? Is there some experience which the theatre could give to this found community?

Obligatory theatres tend to ask the above as market research questions, forgetting that these questions will end up defining what and how the theatre is, not just how it is marketed. A theatre must adopt a community or series of communities, and vice-versa. Theatre is not a commodity sold to a public; it is an event centered in community. Necessary Theatre and surrounding community affect one another.

Necessary Theatre goes beyond simply finding existing community however, it also forms community in performance. This can happen whenever the theatre artists are able to propose a language or set of symbols around which their audience can gather and with which both audience and artists can play. It is exciting to sit in a performance where the audience suddenly “gets” something. As understanding grows in hearts through the theatre, something takes place. The group laughs together, becomes quiet together, and becomes corporately alert, intent on sharing the experience. The artists at the performance seem to have more freedom to create.

At its best, this shared experience encompasses people of different backgrounds, cultures, and understandings, through its universal implications. The theatrical experience might be all that could possibly be held in common by a particular audience. Skillful theatre artists who present three-dimensional work experience this formation of community more often, because the work they present is simultaneously accessible to more people.

This is the means by which Necessary Theatre is able to take us to new perspectives, despite our entrenched mundane existences. We see differently, not only because of the art, but because of the experience of this art is shared with many others. We are enabled to go beyond ourselves to that which we did not know or were even able to conceive.

Obligatory Theatre can only tell us what we already know; it can only repeat what we have seen and experienced before. This is why Obligatory Theatre seeks to provide better technical effects (e.g., falling chandeliers) or more attractive people (e.g., film/television stars): since it can only repeat, it seeks to do so in an improved way.

Necessary Theatre does not seek to innovate for the sake of innovation; it has no need to do so. Instead, it seeks community. It forms community. And in its very process, it celebrates community.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

meet an apprentice | phil miguel

The second and final instalment in my series of apprentice profiles (the series is pretty short when you only have two people on your list).  You've already met Evan Frayne, now meet Phil Miguel.

It seems Phil's passion for theatre is second only to his passion for computers... or their keyboards.

May 20-June 18

Monday, May 16, 2011

sheree plett | shore 104 song search

Our good friend Sheree Plett has been singing on the PT stage for years in CHRISTMAS PRESENCE and JESUS, MY BOY in between cross-country tours and raising a baby.  Now she's in the top 20 of local radio station The Shore's Song Search!  We'd love to see her in the Top 10...

Help her reach the Top 10 by clicking "like" on this video (watch it above).  No need to sign up or give your email address, just go to the link and "like" it!  Then go check out more of her wonderful musical stylings on her Myspace page.  Or maybe do it the other way around, your choice.

For more about the contest, check out The Shore's site here.

necessary theatre 4 | necessary significance

This series of essays originally appeared in theatre programs for the 1998-99 season of Theatre & Company, Kitchener, Ontario, where author Stuart Scadron-Wattles was the producing artistic director.

T&Co was in many ways a sister company to PT. I was very struck by these ideas at the time, and they've been on my mind again recently. Stuart's given me permission to reproduce them here. This is the fourth.

Five Short Essays on Necessary Theatre:
Necessary Significance

A Necessary theatre will find correspondence in the lives of its audience. Many theatre producers seek that by consciously selecting pieces of theatre which will have current relevance for their audiences.We have a socially conscious society here in Canada, and theatres and funding bodies have sought to work with that dynamic to attempt to create Necessary theatre.

With little result, it seems. It is not difficult to form community around social issues; it is just difficult to form an aesthetic community around them. “New” plays dealing with specific issues of once current importance litter the landscape of the Canadian theatre scene. Most of the theatres founded with social/political agendas have either disappeared or broadened their audience. How then, does the Necessary theatre find its audience?

By seeking to be significant, as opposed to relevant. Significance literally refers to the process of signage: something which points in a direction, invites a journey. Necessary theatre becomes significant by finding correspondences between one’s own set of signs (developed though living your life), and those one experiences in the theatre. You know what a chair is, for example. When an actor playing a character sits in one, the act is familiar to you; done in a certain way, the action may even trigger certain memories or understandings in you, and you are engaged. Your heart and mind are responding to what is going on in front and around you.

When it works, Necessary theatre helps you to make sense of that swirling chaos of sensations, memories and emotions: life. It proposes a certain order, an understanding of connections, not necessarily as simple as cause-and-effect, but powerful for its complexity. Things can begin to make sense. At the end of these theatre pieces, we are satisfied, even if we may not quite understand everything rationally. Comedies often have that effect on us by proposing chaos in the first act, complications and further chaos in the second act and resolutions in the third. But dramas and especially tragedies can bring us to that significant sense of order as well.

Of course, Necessary theatre can do the opposite: it can take an ordered understanding-- the one with which we enter the theatre-- and propose that it is not so ordered after all. This is the theatre which is often most puzzling to us, because it questions what we have assumed to be true, and those assumptions have been part of our stability in life. That questioning can even come from a false premise, one which we do not accept as fundamentally true for our lives. We may not believe in ghosts, for instance, but that does not prevent us from allowing Hamlet’s dead father into our imaginary world to ask us whether Denmark is really as sound as it seems.

The power of Necessary theatre to do this kind of work still comes from its significance, however. Necessary theatre purchases its entrance to your heart through resonantly powerful impressions. These impressions may not immediately mean something to you; rather, they seek a meaning in you. Since this happens at a very deep level, these impressions affect us in a way which we often cannot immediately express.

Because of this, it is important to realize that Necessary theatre does not always have an immediate effect. I often leave good pieces of theatre with a strong desire not to discuss the piece for a while, usually because I do not yet have even the thoughts - much less the words - to express what I have just witnessed. (I have great respect for those reviewers who are capable of writing cogent thoughts on art to very tight deadlines.)

A Necessary theatre audience should be given and should give itself permission not to have to respond to an artistic work as soon as it is over, because the work of the work is not finished. Indeed, it may not be so for days.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

may 17 | szabo on merton

Thomas Merton's Life & Thought series
Lynn R. Szabo: Thomas Merton's Poetry
Tue May 17

The 'Unspeakable' in Thomas Merton's Poetry by Lynn Szabo (Associate Professor of English, Trinity Western University). This event is co-sponsored by the Thomas Merton Society of Canada and the Vancouver Public Library. Admission is free. Everyone is welcome! Free

Central Library, Vancouver
Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level

great divorce | costume inspirations

A play about a bus ride from hell to heaven is a veritable playground for any costume designer!  Our young, up-and-coming designer Flo Barrett shared some of her costume inspirations for THE GREAT DIVORCE.  Can you spot which ones are from heaven and which are from hell?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

auditions | pacifica singers

The Pacifica Singers will be holding auditions for new members on Tuesday, May 31, and selected dates throughout the summer.

The Pacifica Singers are a select ensemble of 16-18 voices led by award-winning conductor John William Trotter, Assistant Conductor of the Vancouver Chamber Choir. The ensemble was established in 2009 to provide a performance venue for experienced and motivated choral singers whose goal is to make music at a very high level. In providing direct exposure to the world of professional music making, it offers an experience of exceptional value for singers intending to make music their career. Current members are drawn from throughout the Lower Mainland region, with many also serving as conductors, music educators, and/or professional singers in their communities.

The Pacifica Singers will perform in four concerts with the Vancouver Chamber Choir in the course of the 2011-2012 season, in addition to an independent production.

Most rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings, with occasional Sunday rehearsals and additional dress rehearsals as required.

For more information on Pacifica Singers

For more information on John William Trotter

For more information about auditions, or to schedule an audition time, contact John William Trotter at jwt@vancouverchamberchoir.com

necessary theatre 3 | necessary threshold

This series of essays originally appeared in theatre programs for the 1998-99 season of Theatre & Company, Kitchener, Ontario, where author Stuart Scadron-Wattles was the producing artistic director.

T&Co was in many ways a sister company to PT. I was very struck by these ideas at the time, and they've been on my mind again recently. Stuart's given me permission to reproduce them here. This is the third.

Five Short Essays on Necessary Theatre:
Necessary Threshold

by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

“Where is the theatre?” I recently asked that question in a high school directing class and at least one student understood correctly that I meant “where does the theatre take place?” Some think the theatre takes place on the stage, others in the audience. At Theatre & Company, we believe that the theatre requires both, but actually takes place in a third space, a space we term the liminal space.

Liminal means “at the threshold,” and that is why we use it. Both audience and theatre artists are at the doorway to one another’s worlds. The act of performance takes place on one side, that of witness on the other. When the two sets of human imaginations are working together, the theatre has been entered. This is the space between two worlds. It is admittedly, a thin space, which is why we call it “liminal.”

Children understand this liminal space better than adults. They enter it more quickly because their personalities have yet to contain the many social imperatives that make us into adults. We love including children in our audiences because they enter that space more quickly, and can often take the adults with them.

In this liminal space, we are better connected with our unconscious thoughts and with the substance of story than we could be in our daily lives. In this world, metaphor is allowed to flower. Sometimes the flower is even allowed to go to seed. And sometimes that seed falls into the softer ground of our unconscious lives.

This meeting of the imaginations occurs in other art forms, of course, but the obvious difference in the operation of the liminal world in live performance is the key to its fascination: the world on the other side of the audience is constantly shifting, responding to our responses; it is literally alive.

On stage, the performers are affected by how the audience imagines the proposed world of the stage, and its shape changes accordingly. How you imagine that world is also shaped by the friends and strangers who have gathered with you for the experience. The audience’s enthusiasm for a particular aspect of the world we are creating together will likely cause the performers to deepen or expand that aspect. An audience which is having difficulty apprehending a part of that world may find its performers moving more tentatively or explicitly on that ground.

The liminal world exists only because the theatre artists and audience have achieved some sort of tacit understanding about this new space. However well the theatre artists set up the paradigm, the audience is free to ignore it. You may find an intentionally serious moment funny and vice-versa. And we have to proceed from there. As do you. The liminal world is permissive and participative.

In a good piece of theatre, anything can happen. This is what makes live theatre alive: the powerful potential of human presence.

Friday, May 13, 2011

artwork spotlight | danny and the deep blue sea

Up next in the series of Emily Cooper's wonderful artwork for the 2011-2012 season.  Here is the image for DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA.  This one is a PT presentation of Annunciation Pictures' production from two summers ago that was a massive success.  We are quite excited to have this in our season.

The story of two strangers who meet in a rundown bar

meet an apprentice | evan frayne

For the past few years our year-end show has been an emerging artist showcase, with a special focus on our season apprentices.  This year is no different, with Evan Frayne and Phil Miguel acting in THE GREAT DIVORCE I thought it would be fun to give you a taste of the personality behind the faces of our two apprentices.  This is Evan Frayne.

It seems Evan didn't really want to be interviewed... can't imagine why.

May 20-June 18th

Thursday, May 12, 2011

necessary theatre 2 | necessary imagination

This series of essays originally appeared in theatre programs for the 1998-99 season of Theatre & Company, Kitchener, Ontario, where author Stuart Scadron-Wattles was the producing artistic director.

T&Co was in many ways a sister company to PT. I was very struck by these ideas at the time, and they've been on my mind again recently. Stuart's given me permission to reproduce them here. This is the second.

Five Short Essays on Necessary Theatre:
Necessary Imagination

by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

In my last article, I suggested that when we go to the theatre, we ask a probing question: What makes this piece of theatre necessary? By “necessary,” I do not mean to imply “important.” At the time he was writing and producing, no one really knew how important Shakespeare would become.
A Necessary piece of theatre can appear quite trivial on the surface. Its subject matter may not be original, it may be the result of an overproduced script, it may deal with the most shallow of topics. What makes it Necessary is its process and its effect.

Necessary theatre employs the imagination of both theatre artists and audience to create a third world, a place where the imagination has free rein. In this place the audience members sense that anything could happen; the theatre artists sense that they can take the audience anywhere.

Wherever this participative and permissive imagination occurs, we as an audience are able to release our selves. In some measure we let go of the time/space world in which we find ourselves and enter another one. In the simplest terms, we get involved with the performance to such a degree that we forget our selves. In this state, we are not even spectators. We are no longer aware of the components of the set, or the effect of the lighting, or the affecting monologue. These elements have combined with our imaginations to the point that we have entered into the work itself.

In so doing, we leave behind our own world with its disappointments and triumphs, its sense of well-being conferred or not. For better or for worse, we enter the world before us. There are pieces of our selves here and there, and we have differing responses to the world we have entered, but-- having entered it, we have left behind that socially-acceptable, assembled self who parked the car and picked up the tickets. In the freedom of the imaginative play of Necessary Theatre, our self is in many parts. We identify with the characters; there may be no one who is exactly me, but parts of me and my world are recognizable. New connections and correspondences emerge.

Actors know when art and imagination have connected in performance; we can feel the freedom you give us, the unequivocable permission to take you where we need to go. Good actors prepare for such an eventuality. We know that it will not be present every night-- audiences vary widely-- but we also know that if we are not ready, we will not be able to rise to the challenge of that free and open stage which comes with Necessary Theatre.

After the piece is done, we as audience come back to our selves individually. Our passions, our laughter, our outrage, our sense of balance... all come back to us, and we reassemble our selves. This is our own creative act, because as they are returned to us, those parts of our selves are not in the same order in which they left us. In one sense, our selves are recreated. Whatever staleness our lives contained is gone in those moments; it is as though some parts of us have gone through a refreshing cleansing. Some areas of our lives tingle-- with hope, or new awareness. Some are satisfied, the appetite met with good nutrition. We make new connections between parts of our selves, our memories. We exit into the surrounding city with a different way of seeing, with our sensibilities sharp.

And we remember-- this is what recreation means.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

may 19 - jul 30 | emily cooper

Emily Cooper is Pacific Theatre's official New Favourite Person - you'll see her artwork for our next season when we unveil the new brochure at the opening of THE GREAT DIVORCE May 20, and her publicity shots for that show are pretty much my favourites ever. Well, the night before we open, Emily opens her own gallery show on Main Street: here's the poster.

Emily Cooper’s new body of work was photographed in Mexico, South East Asia, and Cuba over a period of four months. Collecting old books and discovering beautiful pieces of paper, Emily turns these lost and discarded objects into self-portraits.

Join us for the opening reception, meet the artist and enjoy a glass of wine.

I'll also add the one for her simultaneous show in Seattle - just so you can get a look at more of her work.

Want even more? Here's a link to Emily's website.

great divorce | artistic director notes

Evan Frayne in THE GREAT DIVORCE.   Photo: Emily Cooper

Has it struck you how many PT shows in the past couple seasons are about life and death, heaven and hell, judgment and eternity? Refuge Of Lies, Playland, even the vast majority of the parables John Michael Tebelak chose for the misleadingly cheery Godspell. Most especially the Giurgis plays, The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot and Jesus Hopped The 'A' Train. Now that I come to think of it, the same preoccupation spills over into next season - our Christmas Carol isn't so far removed from any of these other theatrical investigations of the nexus point between what happens in our lives and what will happen once they end.

I wish I could claim to be a canny enough artistic director to have planned it that way, but I can't - mostly I just notice these things once they're already happening.

To be honest, I'm not a guy who normally spends a lot of time thinking about death, or judgment, or heaven and hell. For me, it's mostly a matter of what's happening here, now: even at my most religious, it's all about how to treat people, how to connect with eternity in the everyday, how to maybe make a difference, how to live out what an ordinary day. Not much pie in the sky, sweet by-and-by. And, depending on grace, not a lot of preoccupation with judgment or damnation.

But that's the brilliance of this masterful reconsideration William Blake's "marriage of heaven and hell." As much as C.S. Lewis's voracious, utterly unique imagination plays with the question of what it might all be like "on the other side," that's still only a framing device, an entry point, into what we humans are like on this side - at our profoundest moments, and our most mundane. As in his masterful Screwtape Letters, Lewis is unrelenting in his consideration of human narcissism, pettiness, arrogance and quiet cruelty: he traces the seeds of hell in the most minute of earthly choices, while finding room in heaven for the most monstrous of sinners. He writes about humans who choose, gradually, perhaps unknowingly, to become monsters - and others who find other ways.

That's what I love about theatre. We don't set out to tell anybody anything in particular: we just look for the wildest, widest variety of amazing, peculiar, fresh stories we can get excited about telling. Worlds we feel like exploring. And then what happens? Often as not, it turns out that the stories themselves bring things we never imagined: they end up having something to tell us, in the process of making them. We get schooled - challenged, provoked, enriched, confused, rearranged - by the very things we create.

There's no life like it.

Ron Reed,
Artistic & Executive Director
(I prefer to think of it as A&E director. I'm picturing me, with my clipboard and an arts and entertainment t-shirt, at the summer camp of life. "Anyone who wants to work on tonight's skit from Chekhov, meet in the craft building after lunch...")

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

necessary theatre 1 | necessary or obligatory?

A friend (Michael LaRoy, in fact - the guitar player for GODSPELL) recently posted a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke: "A work of art is good if it has grown out of necessity. In this manner of its origin lies its true estimate: there is no other."

Which got me thinking about this question of necessity and art, and things a friend of mine was thinking about a decade or so ago.

During the 1998-99 season at Theatre & Company in Kitchener-Waterloo, artistic director Stuart Scadron-Wattles published a series of reflections on something he called "Necessary Theatre," with one brief essay in each of the season's five mainstage shows.

T&Co was in many ways a sister company to PT. I was very struck by these ideas at the time, and precipitated by the Rilke quote, they've been on my mind again recently. Stuart's given me permission to reproduce them here. This is the first.

Five Short Essays on Necessary Theatre:
Necessary or Obligatory?

by Stuart Scadron-Wattles

During the gasoline rationing days of World War II, one was supposed to ask oneself a searching question: Is this trip really necessary? It has become for me, a question which I increasingly ask myself about pieces of theatre in these times of relatively scarce live performance, and I commend that question to you in somewhat modified form: What makes this piece of theatre necessary? From that question, we end up describing two kinds of theatre experience: the Necessary and the Obligatory. Allow me to explain:

Necessary Theatre results in the kind of production from which you depart resolved to tell someone about your experience. In Necessary Theatre, artists and audience imagine together and, as a consequence, both are led beyond themselves.

Obligatory Theatre is its opposite. There, artists and audience attend together (sometimes even with the required skill and attentiveness), but they never meet. Everyone may agree that the performance had merit and the audience interest, but there it remains. Artists and audience depart an Obligatory Theatre experience with that distant satisfaction of cultural duty done.
Necessary Theatre begins by taking one on an artistic journey, and ends by being a valued companion to one’s own life journey. Here, we explore other selves only to return to ourselves, that we may know ourselves anew. This is the literal meaning of recreation: at the end of Necessary Theatre, your self is re-created as you reassemble it from the exploratory thoughts and feelings inspired by the imaginary world of the theatre.

Obligatory Theatre presents, depicts, and even challenges, but never involves: all it can do is present something to you. There is occurrence, but not event. As an audience member, one can be aware of artistic skill and even greatness in Obligatory theatre, but one is not touched. As an artist, one can present one’s best work, but there is a sense that it has been wasted: Skillful sex without lovemaking. Core commitment without involvement. Provincial politics without leadership.

Entire productions can be Necessary or Obligatory, but most productions have a bit of both. Poorly rendered exposition in a theatre piece which later grips the soul, for example, will result in a mixed experience.

Both artists and audience participate in determining whether and where the theatre experience is Necessary or Obligatory. Necessary Theatre, for example, requires the participative imagination of everyone: actors, audience, and crew. Obligatory Theatre can be the result of the influence of an inattentive audience upon a group of imaginative artists or the result of an artistically rigid performance for an expectantly perceptive audience.

Here at Theatre & Company, we know that we have produced both kinds of theatre. So we ask variations of the question as we select scripts, as we cast, as we create, and as we perform. We ask it individually, and as an ensemble. We commend it to you as our audience.
Is this piece of theatre Necessary? Our aim is to have that question answered with a resounding “yes” from both sides of the lights.

kyle rideout | leo awards

We already knew that THE GREAT DIVORCE director Kyle Rideout is a great filmmaker. Now it turns out the good folks at the Leo Awards (BC's film and television awards) agree! His film HOP THE TWIG has been nominated for not one but FIVE Leo Awards!

Best Cinematography in a Short Drama (Byron Oren)
Best Musical Score in a Short Drama (Joelysa Pankanea)
Best Production Design in a Short Drama (Karen Mirfield)
Best Costume Design in a Short Drama (Sydney Cavanagh - costume designer for our production of PLAYLAND!)
Best Visual Effects in a Short Drama (Blake Laing-Smith)