Book and Lyrics by Steven Slater
based on the play by Frank Wedekind
Music by Duncan Sheik
Directed by David Hudgins
Musical Director Andy Toth
Choreographer Shelley Stuart Hunt
at Studio 58, Langara College
Jan 31 to Feb 24, 2013
Vancouver, BC: I have been waiting to see this show for several years. It seems like every time it is on in a particular city, I have either just missed it or leave before it opens so I am glad to have finally caught this show, especially with the talented students of Studio 58 taking on what is quite a challenging work.
Based on Frank Wedekind's controversial 1891 play, Spring Awakening, about burgeoning sexuality in a group of young people in 19th century Germany, the rock musical adaptation does not hold back in portraying the raw sexuality of the youth in question, nor the fears and the ignorance of both youth and adults in the provincial German town in which it's set.
An Enemy of The People
Adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, based on the play by Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Doug Hughes
A Manhattan Theatre Club Production
Samuel J Friedman Theatre
October 20, 2012
New York, NY. My dilemma: a one day stopover in New York en route to a dance cruise; only one time slot open to see theatre, and the usual cornucopia of tempting on-stage offerings. But when I saw that Manhattan Theatre Club was staging a version of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of The People”, this play became the instant pick for my one theatre spot. Some years ago I had the privilege of studying Ibsen’s 12 realist prose play cycle with an Ibsen scholar. My favorite was not any of his rather depressing plays, where the protagonists shoot themselves or fall off a bridge or a tower (can you name the plays?) or even the ambiguously optimistic "A Dolls House" but it was in fact "An Enemy of The People." The thematic thread of holding steadfast to scientific fact and principle despite massive pressure to sugar-coat the truth appealed to me.
By Terence McNally
Directed by Meg Roe
Arts Club Granville Island Stage,
Arts Club Theatre Company
Sept 27 to Oct 27, 2012.
Vancouver, BC. Voice students, Sophie (Shannon Chan-Kent) and Tony (Frédérik Robert) wander around the stage doing their vocal warm up. Manny (Angus Kellett), the accompanist, sits playing at the piano and The Stagehand (Felix LeBlanc) clomps around. It's the 1971-72 academic year at New York's Juilliard School, and the great diva, Maria Callas (Gina Chiarelli) is here to teach. The house lights are still up as Callas sweeps onto the stage and calls for them to be dimmed. We, the audience, are here to watch her conduct a master class. Sophie, Tony and Sharon (Melanie Krueger) are the eager students who are about to become her "victims".
Attempts on her Life
By Martin Crimp
Directed by Katrina Dunn
Sept 27 to Oct 14, 2012
Vancouver, BC: Kudos to director, Katrina Dunn, and her cast of 15 Studio 58 students, who made the one hour and 40 minutes of Martin Crimp's extraordinary "play" pass in a flash. Martin Crimp is a contemporary British playwright and translator, whose 1997 play, Attempts on her Life, challenges conventional theatrical form and structure. There is no storyline, no pre-defined characters and no pre-defined setting. This play consists of 17 apparently unrelated scenarios in which characters provide differing perspectives of a protagonist, Annie, whom we never actually meet on stage. Does she really exist or is she a construct of "woman" - daughter, mother, sexual object?
The Duchess a.k.a. Wallis Simpson
By Linda Griffiths
Directed by Sarah Rodgers
Theatre at UBC
Telus Studio Theatre
Sep 20 to Oct 6, 2012
Vancouver, BC. Linda Griffith's play is a challenging piece of theatre but under the direction of Sarah Rodgers, the ten students of UBC's final year BFA class, playing 25 characters, managed to pull it off with a flair that would have made the duchess proud. Griffiths has re-imagined the commonly known saga of the love affair between Edward VIII, reluctant heir to the throne of England, and the charming upstart American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, later Duchess of Windsor, for whom he renounced his crown.
She sets the story within the frame of the auctioning of the duchess's jewellery collection. The famed rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds are reflected in the jewel tones of the gorgeous costumes designed by Miriam Thom.
Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris
Directed by Janet Wright
Arts Club Theatre Company
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Sept 6 to October 7, 2012
Vancouver, BC: Get your tickets for the Arts Club's Clybourne Park. It's a well acted production of a cleverly conceived and written script (winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), and an excellent evening's entertainment.
Set in the same house in a Chicago suburb, fifty years apart, Norris's biting script examines inter-racial tensions that centre around neighborhoods and communities, and how ordinary people react to perceived threats from the insertion of "the other" into their home environments.
Home Free (running time 55 mins)
Written by Lanford Wilson
Directed by Brian Cochrane
Venue: Carousel Theatre
Still to come
Fri, Sep 14, 7:00
Sat, Sep 15, 10:30
Sun, Sep 16, 6:45
Home Free has long been a favorite of scene study classes, partly because it features two young adults (and therefore covers the correct age range of many people in scene study classes), and partly because both of those young adults are struggling with issues of mental imbalance, manipulation, and fear. While the play is somewhat ambiguous (is their mother dead or living in Hoboken?) siblings Lawrence (Jason Clift) and Joanna (Maryanne Renzetti) know that together they have created the baby (or litter of kittens) inside Joanna's blossoming belly. The play is both unhappy and uncomfortable, but Clift and Renzetti manage to add a sweetness to their characters, even as they bite.
JERSEY BOYS: The story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Directed by Des McAnuff
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music by Bob Gaudio
Lyrics by Bob Crewe
Choreography by Sergio Trujillo
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
September 5 - 23, 2012
Vancouver, BC: I loved JERSEY BOYS. In fact, I actually have tickets to see the show again later this week.
Well what can I say? As a teen in the early sixties, living near the southern tip of Africa far from Newark, New Jersey, I and my friends used to dance to the music of The Four Seasons, along with that of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. And with the aerobic capacity of youth, we sang along loudly as we danced. Even now, the words of "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Walk Like a Man" echo in my mind and and wow - the memories they evoke! And talk about muscle memory. As I listened to the music my body was just itching to get up and dance. Especially when they performed "Can't Take my Eyes off You" with its sexy rumba timing. Fortunately mind over muscle kept me sedately in my seat.
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.