Friday, January 16, 2009

PuShing in Busy Season

Theatre seems to have its slow times (read: the past 3 weeks) and its busy times (read: the next 3 weeks).

Starting Monday, the PuSh festival rolls into town with its diverse, international offerings. This is my third year as a volunteer for the festival and I always look forward to seeing a number of shows. On my calendar for this year:

1. Siren (UK) - A music/performance piece that looks at the relationship betwen light & sound.
2. Skydive (Vancouver) - My second time seeing this award-winning play that makes a quadriplegic man fly.
3. Nanay: A testimonial play (Vancouver) - Exploring live-in care-giving, this local play was written in collaboration with the Phillipine Women Center.
4. Five Days in March (Tokyo) - In Japanese with English surtitles, I think this play will either fly or flop - not sure which, but I'm curious to find out.
5. Assembly (Vancouver) - Won critics choice, but more importantly a mentor said that it was worth seeing. Reason enough to see it, yes?

Also, for my volunteer postition I'll be working at Club PuSh January 27, 29, 30 & 31 as an usher/ticket taker, so if you pop in, come and say "hi!" I'll be the one with the name tag that says "Lois" on it.

As well as the PuSh Festival, the Vancouver Playhouse just opened Miss Julie: Freedom Summer. I saw a preview earlier this week and after a year or two away from the Playhouse I was pleasantly surprised. Often I am enthralled by their production elements, but walk away feeling like the show has missed the mark in a lot of other ways, but this time (despite a few minor things) the production felt very coherent, and all of the elements - acting, directing, design - felt like they were at the same, high level. It's certainly worth checking out.

On smaller stages there is Squidamisu's production of Shocker's Delight! at the Beaumont Studios. I worked on a production of this a few years ago and had forgotten just how sharp & funny the script was.

Sidebar: I had never been inside the Beaumont Studios before tonight, but their 65-seat theatre is a treat. For a city that is really struggling to find performance space, this is a GREAT option for companies that are just getting established and would like a little more flexibility than the Havana. Though I'm told by the actors that the only way to get from stage left to stage right without crossing the stage is to run around the building!

Also, the school's are opening their first spring term shows in the next couple of weeks. I have tickets to see Bye Bye Birdie at Studio 58 & Medea at UBC. I am looking forward to both of them. I think Cap University is opening 1949 as well, but I rarely make it out to where they are. At some point I'll do something about that.

On the community theatre front, There Came a Gypsy Riding opens at the Jericho Arts center next week.

I go back into rehearsals on Monday, so it's a busy time, but getting out there and supporting the rest of the artistic community is important. If I can't make time to go and see someone else's show, how can I expect them to have the time to come and see mine?

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