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As I See It

Jennifer Suratos, Christopher King and Ryan Lino. Photo by Nicol Spinola

I have always been bemused by the terms "fairy tales" or "children's stories" used to describe the collections of German folk lore compiled in the 19th century by the appropriately named Brother's Grimm, Jakob and Wilhelm. Although sanitized and glamorized into gentler, happier and pretty versions  as in the animated Disney films that even young children love to watch, the actual stories tell of violent acts and cruelty that don't always end with the protagonists living "happily ever after."

Just think of Cinderella, abused by her step-mother and sisters, without any help or intervention from her own father. There is...

Evan Frayne, Ron Reed. Photo by Damon Calderwood

Vancouver, BC: Who would have thought that a 65 minute play about an imagined conversation between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis could be as spell-binding as I found this show to be? I was enthralled throughout.

And this just might be Ron Reed's finest performance yet, as the physically ailing Freud, whose mind and wit remains sharp as it ever was despite the excruciating pain of his oral cancer.

Graham Percy as Marlowe. Photo by Benjamin Laird Arts and Photo

Vancouver, BC:  Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe is a tough, hardboiled, private detective, who operates in the seedy underworld areas of 1940s Los Angeles. First appearing in The Big Sleep, his second appearance as protagonist was in Farewell My Lovely, the novel that is the basis for this adaptation.

The storyline is a tad hard to follow but as expected in the genre of private  eye fiction there are beautiful and mysterious but lethal women, guns, blood and bodies, and strangely a psychic who turns out to be ... someone else.

 Raresh DiMofte and Michael Kopsa. Photo by Tim Matheson

Everything was Blasted ! The protagonists, the set... and I. Knowing what was about to explode on stage before my eyes, I fortified myself with a pre-show glass of wine but that in no way softened the impact of this play. The anger, fear, acts so violent that I closed my eyes, hit me like the ton of the rubble that fell from the ceiling.  Yet Kane's characters are so appallingly grotesque that mercifully I felt emotionally distanced from the pain I was observing...

Richard Russ as Wolfie. Photo by Tim Matheson

What a joy and a privilege it is to be witness to the premiere of a powerful beautifully written and performed Canadian play. The impact of Kanagawa's sensitive adaptation of Ibsen's play was evident by the momentary electrically-charged silence of the audience before applauding at the end of both the first and second act.

The image that ended the first act, of the boy floating in water, was quite haunting, and will fix this play in my memory for a long time.

Andrew Wheeler and Emmelia Gordon. Photo credit: Pink Monkey Studio.

I missed last year's run of PROUD at The Firehall so I was happy to be able to get to the opening night of this 2015 run of PROUD. Although, knowing it was a political comedy about Stephen Harper, and being far more of a fan of Harper than a detractor, I confess I was a bit apprehensive that this would be a carping diatribe against the PM and his policies.
Was I wrong!  Michael Healey has written a clever, very funny political satire. His script shoots verbal arrows that skewer his target dead on yet don't leave nasty...

Susinn McFarlen & Anna Galvin. Photo by David Cooper

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
by Christopher Durang
directed by Rachel Ditor
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

If the names did not already tell you that Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is intended to be a comedic homage to Anton Chekhov, the bust of Chehkov in Alison Green's wonderful book-lined sitting-room set would be a strong indication.

The ensemble cast of Trojan Women at Douglas College. Photo by Krista Graham.

On a miserably cold, rainy night we took the Skytrain from downtown Vancouver out to Douglas College in New Westminster. We went to see a student production of Charles Mee's adaption of Euripides' The Women of Troy. I was overjoyed to experience a production that was so much a visual and auditory delight that it made our sodden trek out to New Westminster more than worthwhile.
Euripides' The Women of Troy describes the fate of the women of Troy, waiting to learn their future after the capture of the city by the Greek Army......

Columbia University professor Wallace Sayre famously quipped in reference to competition in the academic realm, that "competition in university politics takes the most vicious and bitter forms because the stakes are so low."  The same concept, that the smaller the stakes the fiercer is the competition, has been promulgated by many others including educational guru, Laurence Peter of The Peter Principle ("In hierarchical organizations every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence").
In Sebastien Archibald's futuristic corporation, management has found a way to raise the stakes and beat the Peter Principle. Employees in line for promotion must...

The Fringe Presents: Marathon and Virtual Solitaire at Studio 1398, Granville Island,  March 17 to 29, 2015

In Vancouver, September is synonymous with Vancouver Fringe month. Over a couple of weeks, venues on and off Granville Island are crowded with people. Some love to cram in as many shows as they can, while others come to see a friend perform and the Fringe Festival may be their first exposure to theatre. Fringe 2014 featured  91 artists in more than 800 performances of over 80 shows in 11 days on Granville Island in theatre spaces and other odd sites as well...

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