Archives for July 2016

Which show should you see at Theatre Under the Stars?

TUTS, Beauty and the Beast

Okay, the idea of having a boyfriend who is part beast IS appealing. At TUTS, Peter Monaghan and Jaime Piercy help to make the fantasy PG and charming.

Which show should you see at Theatre Under the Stars? Much to my surprise, the answer is Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast—or Disney’s Beauty and the Beast if you must—tells the story of a bookish village girl named Belle. Her boorish village neighbours think she’s weird because she reads. But her familiarity with fantasy stands her in good stead when she follows her missing father into the forest and ends up in an enchanted castle. It’s the Beast’s castle of course. He used to be a handsome—and superficial—prince, but a witch put a spell on him: he will become ever more animalistic—and may be trapped forever in that form—unless he learns to love and be loved in return. In unfortunate collateral damage, the members of his staff are all slowly turning into objects. Cogsworth, the head of the household, is becoming a clock. Lumiere, the butler, is assuming the shape of a candlestick.  [Read more…]

Q2Q queers the coast

Q2Q, Paul Wong, Camera Obscura, Leslie Ewen

In Camera Obscura (Hungry Ghosts) playwright Leslie Ewen takes inspiration from artist Paul Wong.

For months, the frank theatre company and SFU have been planning a queer theatre conference called Q2Q: A Symposium on Queer Theatre and Performance in Canada. Check out the line-up. It’s phenomenal.

The conference, which runs at SFU Woodwards’ Goldcorp Centre for the Arts from today, July 20, to July 24, features a number of two-hour roundtable discussions. Subjects include, “Acts of Faith”, which is about religion and secularism in queer theatre, and “Across Generations”, which will explore forms of queer kinship. [Read more…]

The best of Bard on the Beach

Sereana Malani and Kamyar Pazendeh as the ghostly Queen Thaisa and King Pericles at Bard on the Beach

Sereana Malani and Kamyar Pazandeh as the ghostly Queen Thaisa and King Pericles at Bard on the Beach

The question I get asked most at this time of year is, “What should I see at Bard on the Beach”? Quick answer: Pericles and Merry Wives.

If you can only see one show, I’d go for Pericles. The play is hardly ever produced—and you’re never going to see it done again like director Lois Anderson is doing it here. Anderson has ripped the not-very-good text apart and pasted it back together in a new order and with new material, including snippets from Rumi and Euripides. In doing so, she has turned a rambling, episodic play—much of which was not written by Shakespeare—into an enchanting fairytale.  [Read more…]

Movements No. 1&2: the show doesn’t work, but the talent is exciting

Movements No. 1&2

In the actual show, Movements No. 1&2, human actors play the parts.

I didn’t like it, but I’m glad I went. Playwright James Gordon King and the rest of the artistic team on Movements No. 1&2 are so talented and ambitious that there was something lovely about watching this piece, even though the script didn’t work for me.

In this hour-long one-act, King introduces us to Olivia and her partner Jeremy. Olivia wants to do something, to risk everything, to start a movement. Jeremy throws himself behind the woman he loves. But, when he suggests that they draw up some kind of message and convey it to the public, Olivia balks: she doesn’t want to sully the movement with specifics. When Jeremy argues that a message is a basic requirement for a movement, Olivia cautions, “Please be careful with that tone, okay?” [Read more…]

Just in case you were taking the Jessies too seriously…

Empire of the Son, Tetsuo Shigematsu, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre

Tetsuro Shigematsu’s breathtakingly original and moving Empire of the Son was shut out at the Jessies; if you were nominated and didn’t win, you are in excellent company.

Just in case you’ve been taking last week’s Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards too seriously, consider this: in terms of trophies, one of the best shows of this or any other season was shut out.

Tetsuro Shigematsu’s Empire of the Son went into the evening with seven nominations—including outstanding production and direction in the small-theatre stream—and could legitimately have won in any of those categories. But it didn’t triumph in any of them.  [Read more…]