August: Osage County by Tracy Letts
Directed by Janet Wright
An Arts Club Theatre Production,
Stanley Theatre Industrial Alliance Stage
Jan 27 to Feb 27, 2011
Vancouver, BC: The 2008 Tony Award and Pulitzer Drama Award-winning play, August: Osage County has created a buzz where ever it has been performed. I missed seeing it in London and New York - have to time my visits better - so I was quite excited to see why this play has had such an impact.
After partaking of the Dine Out Vancouver menus at Red Door Pan Asian Grill, we strolled north two blocks to the Stanley Theatre. I was really hoping that the show would live up to my expectations, and it did.
It has an unusual structure for a contemporary play. With a large cast as pictured, it is long with a running time of around three hours and structured as a prologue, followed by three acts. Yet despite my often short attention span, in this case I was completely engrossed in the dramas of the Weston family from the opening lines to the final scene.
Floating Created and Performed by Hugh Hughes and Sioned Rowlands A Hoipolloi production at the PuSh Festival Arts Club Theatre Revue Stage January 20 to Feb 5, 2011
Vancouver, BC: I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Shôn Dale-Jones first "met" emerging Welsh artist Hugh Hughes. Quick witted, charming, engaging storyteller - the dialogue must have been scintillating. But since it would have been more telepathic than aural, probably even the fly could not have tuned in to witness the birth of their first show, Floating.
Anyway it is the amiable Hugh Hughes, Dale-Jones' alter ego, who comes forward to greet the audience and introduce his grandmother, played by the winsome Sioned Rowlands. Rowlands also appears as other characters, such as the crusty Mr. Morgan, and Hugh's friend.
Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl Directed by Chris McGregor, Telus Studio Theatre A Theatre at UBC production January 20 to 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm
Vancouver, BC: What a clever concept for a play - answering a dead man's cell phone and getting drawn into his world. Let's face it - who does not get annoyed when a loudly ringing cell phone disturbs your quiet meal? And if the jerk who owns the phone just lets it ring , and ring, and ring? Well it's enough to make you go ballistic.
This by Melissa James Gibson Directed by Amiel Gladstone Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company Vancouver Playhouse January 8-29, 2011
Vancouver, BC: Under the able direction of Amiel Gladstone, with a luminous Megan Follows leading an accomplished cast of actors, Melissa James Gibson's This sparkles with humour while touching on the internal angsts and troubled relationships of this group of thirty-something friends.
Jane (Megan Follows), published poet, teacher and mother, is raising her child alone, after the death of her husband a year earlier. She is visiting her friends Marrell (Karen Holness) and Tom (Todd Thomson), the exhausted parents of an infant who only "sleeps in 15 minute increments".
The Secret in the Wings by Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Mike Stack
Music composition and direction by Kevin McNulty
Studio 58, Langara College
Nov 18 to Dec 5, 2010
This show may not have made it onto your theatre-going radar but I highly recommend that you head on over to Studio 58 at Langara College to see The Secret in the Wings. Everything about this production and especially the perfectly paced direction and the outstanding ensemble work is first class. It's definitely top of my current "do not miss" list of shows.
Brown Girl in the Ring
Performer/Playwright: Valerie Mason-John
Director: Linette Smith
Presented by Queenie Productions
at the Vancouver Fringe Festival
Guest review by Rachel Scott
I love the idea of this play: what happens with the black baby descendent of the royal British family suddenly crops up? Inspired by the African-German queen who married George III and the rumors of a black baby offspring to Louis XIV, “Brown Girl in the Ring” has all the makings of a wild ride and hilarious satire.
Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet
Directed by Michael Shamata
Arts Club Theatre Company
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
July 22 to August 22, 2010
Vancouver, BC. Drifting through the Stanley Theatre lobby at intermission, I was struck by the unusual number of men engaged in lively and animated discussion about the events of the first act. There seems to be something about this Mamet piece (other than that it features an all-male ensemble), that makes it resonate more strongly than most productions with male audience members. Maybe its the sense of watching a war-zone where only the strong and ruthless will survive, that makes it so much a man's play.
Henry V by William Shakespeare
Directed by Meg Roe
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival,
Studio Stage, Vanier Park.
to September 24th, 2010
Vancouver, BC: Following her 2008 directing debut at Bard on the Beach with a lively production of The Tempest, Meg Roe has again created a visually exciting and engrossing work in this year's production of Henry V. And this year, instead of having Alessandro Juliani produce a complete soundscape to underscore the production as in The Tempest, she places him front and centre as Henry V. A multi-talented artist - he performs both tasks, sound design (for The Tempest) and acting in the lead role (of two plays at the same time!), with equal aplomb. Juliani is quite entrancing to watch onstage, and he played a Hal and a Henry worthy of the crown he ultimately attains.
39 and Ticking! The Musical
Written and Directed by Sharon Heath
Music by Ted Hamilton with Joan MacLean
Full Figure Theatre
Jericho Arts Centre
August 3 to 8, 2010
Vancouver, BC: I bet there isn't a woman in the audience for "39 and Ticking!" who regardless of age, does not empathize with Rose and the conflicting voices in her head - specially that of her mother. We may not all share the special dilemma of a 39 year old - longing to have a baby versus that darn ticking biological clock but we all at one time or another have been buffeted by conflicting images and desires from voices buried, but not-so-deep, in our subconscious minds.
Writer/ director Heath has taken the voices that plague 39 year old Rose (Lisa Beley) or at least three of them, and embodied them as free spirit/ cougar Mattie (Lisa Bunting), Mom (Joan MacLean) and some kind of existential guru, played by Chery Mullen who doubles as Rose's boyfriend Dan.
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare Directed by Tariq Leslie What You Will Equity Co-op, Jericho Arts Centre July 2 to July 24, 2010
Vancouver, BC: It is a fascinating experience to see how a directorial approach can alter one's perception of a play, particularly something so familiar as Twelfth Night. The production of Twelfth Night that I saw by Bard on the Beach in the 2008 season, was played with rapid-fire intensity and fairly sparkled with light-hearted humour.
This pace of this production of Twelfth Night was much slower and more leisured. This brought out the darker aspects of the play so the overall mood of the play was heavier and more ponderous.