Saturday, January 31, 2009

Holy Mo: Artistic Director's Notes (Final Draft)

Feb 6 - Mar 7
Pacific Theatre | 604 731-5518

Okay, if you promise to keep this just between you and me, I'll tell you something I've hardly told anybody ever before. Promise not to tell Cia? Okay, good.

Back about a hundred years ago, when I asked Lucia what she was working on next, she told me she was going to do a three-woman show for the Fringe festivals that would take the Old Testament story of Moses and tell it with three clowns. One of whom was a mime. I said that sounded great, but I was lying: it sounded really, really stupid. Like one of those "clever, creative" ideas people come up with for their church drama group – one of those "clever, creative" ideas people come up with over and over again. Never learning from each others' mistakes.

And to do their Bible drama in the Fringe? I figured that was the last I'd ever see of my friend Lucia. They'd tear her limb from limb.

When HoMo arrived at the Vancouver Fringe, as a courtesy, with my guard up, already rehearsing the evasive things I could say when I didn't like it in case somebody caught me before I could escape after the show, I slipped in at the last minute, braced myself, and... Marveled. At the work itself, which was outrageous, wise, hilarious, sad, holy, profane. Human, divine. True. And at the audience, who were with the show every breath – and who applauded the Ten Commandments! (Don't feel obliged. I think it was a one-time thing.) They even liked the mime. I even liked the mime!

Instead of evading Lucia after the show, I hunted down Lucia backstage and embraced her. ("Tackled" might be closer to accurate, though it doesn't convey the measure of affection and awe that came into play). We had to have it at Pacific Theatre, had to share it with our audience. Only... It was, like, only fifty minutes long. Could she, I don't know, do it twice? Make up some stuff? Talk really slow?

As usual, she was a step ahead of me. "Oh, I want to do the story of David! I could just add that on! Call it Spew Boy!" At this point, who was going to argue?

So this is the third time we've had the show in our season here at PT – a three-timer, a certified Pacific Theatre Favourite, putting it in the rarefied company of only a handful of shows. Cotton Patch Gospel, Damien... Maybe that's it. Fine company to keep. For a bunch of clowns.

And a mime.

Thanks, Lucia. (Oh, but don't tell her I said that.)


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Feb 1-11: The Emperor Of Atlantis

I've been out of town, so this one snuck up on me. A Soul Foodie, Pat, emailed asking if I knew about the show, which is playing at the Norman Rothstein. I didn't, so she filled me in...

Well, I know what I heard on the CBC. It is an opera, a short one, (1 hour)
that was written in a concentration camp. It was the camp which the Nazis
set up as a model to show the Allies and the rest of the world how
benevolent they were, and how humane their camps were. In it they
incarcerated all the top Jewish and other "non-Aryan" artists, musicians,
poets, writers, intellectuals. The musicians had access to all of their
instruments, a studio, and a Theatre. So, 2 composers composed, in part,
The Emperor of Atlantis. It was a thinly disguised satire of the Regime,
and the project was dismantled, the composers were executed, the musicians
were sent of the work camps, and only 2 young violin players survived, and
the opera survived.

Parts of it were played on the radio, beautiful music, especially beautiful,
perhaps, after hearing the amazing story.

We are not opera buffs, but the story was so captivating, and it is only 1
hour long, so we are going. It is only being performed 4 times, this Sunday
is sold out. Open seating, and the tickets are $40.


at the Norman Rothstein Theatre

Presented by
the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre & City Opera Vancouver
by Viktor Ullmann & Petr Kien
Norman Rothstein Theatre
(950 West 41st Avenue at Oak)

The Emperor of Atlantis is a unique, compelling and deeply moving chamber opera. Its score survived the Nazis. Its creators did not. Although perhaps the finest piece of performance art from its place and era, productions are rare. It has never been produced before in British Columbia.

The opera speaks both to transformation and recurrence. It speaks from the nadir of the 20th century to the continued violence and despair of the 21st. Ullmann and Kien together with their colleagues at Thereisenstadt, created a masterwork.

Among seven characters, two are principal: Death, and The Emperor. Horrified by the murderousness of the Emperor and his regime, Death goes on strike. People are killed but do not die. The Emperor demands that Death resume his business. Death finally agrees, but on one condition ...

When the Nazis realized what Atlantis was about, they shipped its entire company off to Auschwitz. Only its art remains.

All tickets: $40.00 (s/c included)

Sunday Feb 1st: 2:00pm matinee
Feb 4th, 7th. 9th, 11th : 8:00pm

Order By Phone: 604.684.2787
Call Centre Hours
Monday to Friday 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Holy Mo: Artistic Director's Notes (Draft One)

Okay, I'm just back from a whirlwind trip to California, threw together my program notes for HOLY MO...

Feb 6 - Mar 7

Program Notes (Draft One)

Holy Mo is a really good play, which is why I picked it. It's about Moses, which is what "Mo" means in the title. The second half of the play is about David, but "Holy Dave" didn't sound right, so Lucia called it "Holy Mo."

The three actors in the play are really good at acting. You can read about them in their bios. Morris Ertman is a really good director, and even though his bio is usually quite boring, he also writes program notes, so you can read those.

We did this play before, but I hope you won't be bored seeing it again.

That's all I can think of, so I'll fill the rest of my space with something from my favourite website. "Oh, what a boring subject, right? Yeah, I agree, reading about bilge pumps is not too thrilling. But this is a subject which I've been harping on for a long time, apparently without a lot of success based on the continuing and overwhelmingly casual attitude that boat owners have for their bilge pumping systems."

Ron Reed,
Artistic Director

Back to the drawing board...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jan 30: Pacific Theatre / Regent Library Event

Friday, January 30, 2009

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with refreshments just outside the Allison Library.
Selected manuscripts and plays from the collection will be on display in the
Library. The theatre readings begin at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Come celebrate the intersection of theology and theatre with Pacific Theatre
and the John Richard Allison Library at Regent College. Pacific Theatre
Director Ron Reed has gifted his sizable collection of manuscripts and plays
to the Allison Library. He and several other actors will be reading from a
variety of plays from the collection and that have been produced by Pacific
Theatres over the past twenty-five years. Come for an evening of
entertainment and celebration of the arts!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Damon Calderwood bird photography

This just in from Damon Calderwood - the Elephant Man himself!

Hi Folks!

Just in case anyone is in the area and would like to have a peek at my framed prints on exhibit and/or see my latest Powerpoint show, I'm doing the show Tuesday, Jan 13th at 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the New Westminster Public Library (716 6th Avenue, New Westminster).

My framed prints are on display in the Library's Gallery as well for the month of January.

The Powerpoint show is about an hour long (including time for questions), and includes pictures from my book, Flights of Fantasy and from my latest work-in-progress, Moments of Discovery.

I would love to see you there!

Here is a link.

Happy New Year!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Jan 14, Jan 28, Feb 11: Nelson Boschman Trio at Yaletown Blenz

Nelson - the unofficial leader of our unofficial "PT House Band" for Christmas Presence and such - is back at Blenz. Best of all - no cover charge!

Jan 20: Richard Austin performs Gerard Manley Hopkins

A note from Loren Wilkinson...

Richard Austin, a British actor (quite a bit of TV work) has recently spend much of his time performing (brilliantly) the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He will be doing this at Regent on Tuesday Jan. 20 at 6:30 pm.

I met Richard at a Hopkins conference at Oxford a few years ago, and have encountered him in Hopkins contexts (Dublin and Regis University in Denver) since. He has recently moved to the Sunshine Coas... You would appreciate very much his interpretation of the poems, which is better than anything else I've heard recorded. (Including Richard Burton).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Jan 29 - Feb 22: Kirsty Provan in BYE BYE BIRDIE

Two seasons ago, Kirsty Provan - yup, daughter of the Regent prof - was a PT apprentice. Played Joseph in REMNANTS (A FABLE). Headed off to Studio 58, now she's playing the female lead in their upcoming production of BYE BYE BIRDIE - a real swell musical, if you want my two bits worth!

Bye Bye Birdie
JANUARY 29 - FEBRUARY 22, 2009
Studio 58

Fan mania!! What are the teeny boppers of Allentown, Pennsylvania to do, now that their American idol, rock ‘n roller Conrad Birdie has been inducted into the Army? The directing team that brought Guys and Dolls to Studio 58 is back with a hit musical. One Last Kiss, Put on a Happy Face, Kids, and Spanish Rose are just a few of the musical theatre classics from this 1950’s nostalgic romp. Bye Bye Birdie's original cast s tarred Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera. This is tops in imagination and good old fashion fun.

This is Kirsty in REMNANTS. Not so you'd know. But I like the picture.


If you saw the guest production of THE GLASS MENAGERIE at Pacific Theatre several years back, you'll remember Jade Shaw's exquisite performance as Laura, brother to Ian Farthing as Tom, and opposite Bob Fraser's Jessie-nommed Gentleman Caller. Well, Jade launched her own company, and is onstage soon...

Squidamisu Theatre
Stewart Lemoine’s
Shocker’s Delight!
January 15 - 24, Wednesday through Saturday
Preview January 14
Time: 8 pm
Saturday matinees at 2pm
The Beaumont Stage, 316 West 5th Ave. Vancouver
Tix 604.603.0695 /
Info 604.880.8039

"Stewart Lemoine is an original. There is simply no one, anywhere, who writes like this Edmonton playwright. Shocker's Delight! is simple. Spare. Powerful." Colin Maclean, CBC

Shocker’s Delight! is a love story gone askew. It is the story of lifelong friends Marcus, Julia, and Rory, who meet as students in the mid 1950's. Their study of the eclectic disciplines of ballroom dancing, golf, and 19th century furniture design provides the backdrop for a classic tussle of emotional versus intellectual attraction. A story that begins in a collegiate whirl of boilermakers improvised in rowboats and late night Latin dance assignations, transcends its whimsical beginnings when an unforeseeable calamity give rise to a resolution of ecstatic and unexpected beauty linking the present, the future, and the distant past.

Directed by Matthew Kowalchuk and starring Paul Herbert, Jade Shaw and Richard Stroh. Shocker’s Delight! will be the second production for the burgeoning Squidamisu Theatre.

Stewart Lemoine's plays are highly imaginative and witty comedies. They are contemporary fairy tales for adults, which juxtapose the strange and the familiar, and are often deeply moving.

About the Playwright
Stewart Lemoine is an Edmonton-based playwright, director and producer. Over the course of his career, Lemoine has written over sixty plays including All These Heels (1982), Two Tall Too Thin (1992), Shockers Delight! (1993), Pith! (1997), the Exquisite Hour (2002) and At the Zenith of the Empire (2006).
Lemoine is the winner of four Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards, the New York International Fringe Festival’s Award for Overall Excellence in Playwriting and in 2008, Lemoine was honoured with the Tommy Banks Performing Arts Award.

About Squidamisu Theatre
Squidamisu Theatre (pronounced: squid-a-mi-su), was established in 2008 by actors Jade Shaw and Richard Stroh. Upon the completion of their first undertaking, Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain, the company was officially born. The moniker, Squidamisu, is inspired by a scene in that play, and is a rare and unique late-night delicacy that is comprised of tiramisu ... and squid. With that, the company promises to inject the theatrical equivalent into the Vancouver arts scene.

Squidamisu Theatre. Things are not always as they seem.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

May 11-22: Bruce Marchfelder film course, Regent College

Reading Film: A Theological Approach
May 11-22
On a few occasions, I've listened to (and watched) Bruce Marchfelder work through a section of a film with a group of people: the opening section of HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, a large portion of Chaplin's CITY LIGHTS, the initial sequence of CITIZEN KANE. Bruce is an extraordinary teacher, opening up a film with a body of knowledge and a passion for the art form that is exhilarating and engaging. For several years I have looked for the opportunity to take one of Bruce's film courses, but always they have conflicted with something else, and again that's true this year. But if I weren't in production week for YOU STILL CAN'T the first week of this Regent two-week intensive, I'd absolutely be there. So I'm going to recommend that all of you go in my place.

The Ethics Of Filmmaking
July 27-31
Also note the tag-team of Winter and Stackhouse will be doing an intriguing course on The Ethics Of Filmmaking at Regent Summer School this year. Ralph Winter is a first-rank producer, called on to captain many of Hollywood's most expensive and elaborate productions. He's widely known not only for getting the job done, but for the way he treats people in an industry known for its extreme pressure and bottom-line mentality. My personal tastes don't generally run to the sorts of films he's called on to produce, but I'm very drawn to him as a person, and have immense respect for the way he truly brings his Christian faith to bear in the way he goes about his work. I bet the course will be marvelous.

More details on spring session and  summer school at the Regent College website.