Cocktails at Pam's
by Stuart Lemoine
Directed by Stephen Heatley
Staircase Theatre Equity Collective
Studio 1398 (3rd Floor Festival House, 1398 Cartwright St)
Nov 13 to 30th at 8 Pm, Nov 30th at 2 PM.
Vancouver, BC: I hate cilantro. I am in a very select minority of around 15% of humans who are genetically programmed to detest that soapy green herb that chefs and party hostesses in the not-similarly-afflicted 85%, love to use as garnishes or flavourings. I hate the taste so much that in my Sipping and Supping food blog over a two year period, I ranted about cilantro in at least eighteen different stories until I realized "enough already".
So when Estelle, an unexpected guest at Pam's cocktail party, rants about her distaste for green peppers and the presence of green peppers on all the canapés being served, I didn't know whether to feel bad for hostess Pam or to cheer Estelle on.
A rude guest with an anti-green pepper fixation is just one of the disasters that disrupts the perfect party that Pam has so painstakingly planned. In Cocktails at Pam's, originally written in the mid-eighties, playwright Lemoine, a master of the one-act comedy, sets this situation up neatly.
When Pam (Maryanne Renzetti) first appears in her living room to reassure herself that everything is set out just perfectly for her party, anyone who has ever hosted a similar gathering can't help empathizing with her. But slowly you realize that this is not just an ordinary gathering of friends and Pam is not just a normally anxious hostess.
In an interesting convergence of programming, there were common threads running through the three plays we saw in sequence at Studio 16 relating to ideas of recurring nightmares and to life moving off course. What we think our life will be and the way it actually plays out causes many of us anxiety. What happens when the path we thought we were on diverges from our reality? In many ways, these three plays work to answer that question, although that's where the similarity of content ends.
4) Alpha by Evan Frayne
5) Breaking Velocity by Megan Phillips
6) Grey Matter by Mallory Gallant and Jamie Dunsdon
Alpha (running time 60 mins)
Created and performed by Evan Frayne
Venue: Studio 16, 1555 West 7th Street
Still to come:
Mon, Sep 10, 6:15
Thu, Sep 13, 8:30
Sat, Sep 15, 8:00
Written and performed by Evan Frayne, Alpha touches on elements of autobiography bringing Frayne's love of playing hockey and past indiscretions with alcohol to light in a revelatory monodrama.
It's September and in Vancouver that means it is Fringe Festival Time. With a plethora of performances on and around Granville Island, off-island theatres such as the Firehall, The Cultch and other venues like the CBC Studio or the Waldorf Hotel, there is no shortage of choice whether your taste runs to comedy, drama or musical reviews. Check out the shows and events at the 2012 Vancouver Fringe Festival Guide and get on down to see some excellent performers, for the cost of a Fringe Membership ($5.00) and ticket prices of $10 or $12 per show.
With so many shows to see, I (GL) decided that a tag-team approach was needed so I co-opted guest reviewer Amanda Lockitch (ARL). Hopefully we will have divergent views of some of the pieces we see and that will engender some debate and discussion.
Dragons' Improv Tank
Created by Louise Moon and Roger Fredericks
The Improv Centre, Granville Island
Vancouver, BC: Scary as I find the thought of being on stage with lines that I am supposed to have memorized, the thought of having to be spontaneous and improvise on the spot is even scarier. As one of those people who thinks of a witty comeback to a taunt hours after it would be meaningful, I have often thought it would be good for my too-serious, introverted soul to sign up for an introductory improv course to see if I could come up with anything smarter than "duh!"
The challenge: two friends visiting Vancouver, one in June, one in August. One staying two nights with me in Yaletown. One here for a conference and staying at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle downtown hotel on West Hastings Street.
Both wanted to get a feel for what downtown living is like in Vancouver. Both had two days to experience the city. And I wanted to show them that Vancouver has some of the best dining, anywhere. What to do?
The possibilities were so many I had to set some parameters for myself, taking into account their special interests. Both were into fitness and yoga; one into the fine arts, one more of a foodie. The focus was to be on places that we could walk to, but I also wanted to to show them the new Canada Line underground, and take a ride across to Granville Island on one of the two ferry services, the rainbow coloured Aquabus ferries, and the dark blue False Creek Ferries, that ply the waters of False Creek.