Vancouver Theatre Guide

Our blog offers articles written by our team of resident bloggers as well as various members of the theatre community. It provides reflections on local productions, as well as thoughts on other events and issues affecting our local theatre scene.

Are you a member with a show you'd like to invite one of our blogger to? Email us at info@gvpta.ca with details of the production, including which date(s) you’d like to offer a blogger two tickets, and we’ll do our best to get someone out to cover your show. Details about our blogging program are on the Resident bloggers page.

Do you have a blog post you’d like to contribute? Send us an email at info@gvpta.ca

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  • Friday, July 21, 2017 12:49 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Merchant of Venice

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Mary Littlejohn

    Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice has aged oddly. It’s dated at best and anti-Semitic at worst. How can a show like this remain relevant in modern times? For this production, Bard On The Beach’s fourth interpretation of the play, director Nigel Shawn Williams treads a difficult line and gives us plenty to meditate on. 

    The play is set in modern day, which makes the hateful language all the more jarring and palpable. The characters all look familiar to us - though charismatic, they are rich and entitled. They are hardly sympathetic, and their misfortune seems self-made. Antonio, the titular merchant, enters into a binding agreement of life and death with a Jewish man he has bullied on numerous occasions. Even Portia, generally considered the heroine of the piece, is casually racist, refusing to look a Jewish woman in the eye and making offhanded remarks about how she’d prefer if black men didn’t pursue her romantically.

    In this time and place, it is no longer possible to make Shylock the villain. To rewrite the script and to remove offensive language would be historical revisionism, therefore we must take the text at face value. The mistreatment of Jewish people during Shakespeare’s time was commonplace. However, the famous speeches “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” and “The quality of mercy is not strained” feel more modern in their sentiment. One wonders how they would have landed on Shakespeare’s audiences.


    Shylock is played with quiet strength and sensitivity by Warren Kimmel. Here is a man who has worked all his life to amass his wealth, despite bullying from the Christian men with whom he conducts business. His arc turns this “comedy” into something much darker, as we watch a man who has been downtrodden and publicly humiliated subject to continual indignities, beginning with his daughter robbing him of his money and treasured possessions and ending in the famous courtroom sequence. Yet how can we sympathize with a man who wishes to literally cut out the flesh of his business rival? We can only witness the scene, unable to dispense mercy or justice. It is tense, uncomfortable and devastating. 

    It’s always intriguing to see new interpretations of characters that have become part of the cultural lexicon. This version of The Merchant of Venice asks us to hold up a mirror to the darker part of ourselves. How have we been complicit in creating the Shylocks of the world - men and women who have been abused for simply trying to be accepted as equals? Though challenging, this sobering perspective is necessary to ensure that Shakespeare’s timeless works remain timeless.

    For information and tickets: https://bardonthebeach.org/2017/the-merchant-of-venice/

    Cast: Kate Besworth, Andrew Cownden, Edward Foy, Charlie Gallant, Olivia Hutt, Luisa Jojic, Warren Kimmel, Paul Moniz de Sa, Chirag Naik, Adele Noronha, Kamyar Pazandeh, Nadeem Phillip, Carmela Sison

    Director: Nigel Shawn Williams

    Bard on the Beach presents Merchant of Venice  running June 22-September 16 at the Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre (1695 Whyte Ave, Vanier Park). 


  • Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:50 AM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Keara Barnes

    The title says it all; a great deal of drama …for no reason at all. 

    For when malicious lies are spread and earnestly believed, chaos inevitably results. And when the callous creator of such blatant untruths is given a willing audience of followers, we are no longer in control of the outcome of their actions. Much Ado about Nothing, written over 400 years ago, is as relevant today as it ever was; we need only look at the headline figure in our daily news feed to see evidence of that.  

    Director John Murphy’s adaptation takes place in 1959 Italy, on the set of a film studio. Instead of a prince, Don Pedro is a director. Instead of soldiers, Benedick and Claudio are actors. Beatrice herself is a celebrated actress, as evident in her entire demeanor. The choice supports the characters immensely- fueling their egos and Beatrice and Benedick’s power feud.

    Ridiculous, grandiose requests run rampant in the script (murder requests, faked deaths, staged affairs), but what else would one expect in a Shakespeare comedy? Many performers in the production furthermore embody this grandiose comic physicality, eliciting many a laugh from the audience in the process. The ensemble is strong- capable of wit, farce, and tears, sometimes in the same scene. The production design as well is exceptional, far from minimalistic, and simply beautiful. With rolling set pieces, period film equipment, and, to top it off, two working Italian scooters, it is a cinematic (yes you read that right) feat, fit for nothing less than movie stars.  

    It is a feat for the ears as well, with Shakespeare’s celebrated banter between rivals/lovers Benedick and Beatrice. The contemporary setting highlights Beatrice’s modernity - she is an independent heroine, the star of her own movie, without the need of a man to depend upon. She defies the typical role of a female in a patriarchal society - both in 1598 and in 1959, desiring not to be a subservient woman but a self-sufficient star who is smart, strong and sassy. However, she does end up in the very role she initially refused, that of a wife. It is a love story after all: one very much worth seeing.

    Much Ado About Nothing plays on the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach until September 23rd 2017.

    For information and tickets: https://bardonthebeach.org/2017/much-ado-about-nothing

    Cast: David M. Adams, Lois Anderson, Ian Butcher, Chris Cochrane, Austin Eckert, Ben Elliot, Julien Galipeau, Amber Lewis, Jennifer Lines, Kevin MacDonald, Sereana Malani, Ashley O’Connell, Laara Sadiq, Parmiss Sehat, Andrew Wheeler, Kaitlin Williams

    Director: John Murphy

    Bard on the Beach presents Much Ado About Nothing running June 1-September 23 at BMO Mainstage at Vanier Park (1000 Chestnut Street)

     


  • Saturday, June 17, 2017 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The audience really can set the mood for an evening. Despite the casual, backroom feel of the Havana Theatre (or maybe because of it) Tomo Suru Players’ About Love Festival was received with enthusiasm and generosity. The sold-out house had a supportive community feel that gave the actors the permission to throw themselves into this quirky collection of short plays. 

    The premise was simple - each play, selected from over 200 submissions in 9 different countries, could not be more than 10 minutes and had to be about (you guessed it!) love, in whatever iteration it might manifest. The tone of each play varied wildly and often shifted drastically from one to the next, broken up only by a folksy duo of live acoustic guitars playing gentle love songs. The directing styles were also in stark contrast with one another - hyper-realist, sitcom-like, melodramatic, stark and lonely, and some almost balletic. Despite these differences, the audience was asked to vote for their favourite actors and plays. Judges will make the final decision and award special prizes at the end of the festival. I truly appreciate theatrical events of this nature. It creates opportunities for a slew of up-and-coming directors, performers and writers to showcase their skills and hone their craft in a relaxed and low-pressure setting, while still being adjudicated and receiving beneficial feedback. 

    If I had to choose my favourites, one would be the hilarious and vulgar “Carrots, Baby” by local writer Allyson Fournier, directed and performed with perfect pacing and energy by Justin Anthony (director), Rhea Casido, Haris Amiri and James Challis (the actors). “The Off-Chance” also had me smiling throughout, thanks to the cosmic chemistry of Mallory James and Elijah Silva. The clever conceit of “Small and Almost Honest” could have felt gimmicky, but was treated delicately enough to effective by director Tricia Trinh and the four women portraying two lovers. 

    So what does this series of short plays (compared to speed-dating by Artistic Director Gerald Williams, and with good reason) have to say About Love? That is difficult to quantify. It will be different for everyone. Each audience member will get something out of it, but almost certainly will see themselves in at least one of the stories. 

    One thing that struck me as we moved through these diverse stories and characters was how few of them had healthy relationships. Fair enough, as happy love stories don’t exactly make for compelling drama. Who wants to see two happy, emotionally mature people in love and content with their lives? Instead we got blind dates, chance encounters, emotional abuse, entitlement, perversion, obsession, dissatisfied people who settle, and loved ones dead or dying. These are all warped and subverted versions of real love - some might argue that love is lacking in many of these relationships. 

    That being said, my own personal definition of love might be too broad or too narrow. Insightful moments in “ROAD” and “Miserable” come from characters realizing that they haven’t experienced real love yet and will continue searching until they do. The sweetest, most honest look at the cost of loving someone so completely was a scene between a father and a child in Deanna Kruger’s “Paul and Petandra”. Whether it is infatuation or true love, it is up to us and those we love to define what we believe love to be.  

    It’s a emotional roller coaster ride of an evening, with plenty of laughs, thoughts provoked, and a gut-punch or two. I look forward to hearing the results and I hope the run is successful enough that this model can continue to be replicated. There was certainly plenty of love between the audience and performers on the night I attended, and that love facilitated some unforgettable theatre. 

    For information and tickets

    Tomo Suru Players presents A Festival of Short Plays: About Love at the Havana Theatre until June 18, 2017.

  • Monday, June 12, 2017 1:25 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Hamlet

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Gerald Williams

    Spoiler alert - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die. I know Hamlet enough that I get it; a guy’s annoyed his dad was killed by his uncle who marries his mom so he drives his girlfriend to suicide and hangs out with the skull of an old buddy as one sometimes does. I’m not exactly an expert, but not entirely unaware of what I’m getting into.

    I often shy away from Shakespeare productions because ones I’ve seen can present themselves like Elvis’ impersonators with the audience being tasked to watch someone have fun doing something they enjoy with music you like – nothing for the audience. That is not the case with the Sandbox Production of Hamlet directed by J-C Roy. I enjoyed my evening at this play. I was entertained. I’m glad I went.

    The first time I saw a Shakespeare play was Macbeth at Stratford in Ontario. It was part of a high school trip to get cultured. I have two vivid memories of that production. The first was the stillness in the hands of Lady Macbeth. I was mesmerized by her lack of movement filling the theatre. The second was that I wasn’t bored. I had of course been studying the play in school, and was shown one of the film versions in class, which I recall being boring and incomprehensible. The fact that I wasn’t bored during the live production at Stratford came as a real shock to me, and, and this must be partly why it stands out, a close friend and I secretly confessed to each other that we liked it. Liking a Shakespeare play and other teenage male secrets, how exciting.


    There is a lot of theatre in Vancouver at different levels of ability and detail. Some people, I have been told, only see productions from particular companies. This is very supportive, but limiting. It would be similar to living in New York but only going to see shows produced in one theatre. Other people apparently only see shows that their friends are in. Can you imagine only watching TV shows that your friends are in? This may be admirable, but I’d quickly have to change my definition of friend.  There are other reasons for going to see a play. It might be a good script. It might have production decisions that make you see something new. It might even be something that you know but want to see again.

    When my companion and I drove home after the show we talked a lot about why people should go and see this show and why people will resist going.  We talked about what surprised us, and what we’d forgotten. We talked about things we liked and didn’t like. We had one of those 25 minute drives where all we talked about was the production we’d seen, about Shakespeare, about a play we’d like to produce together. We talked theatre. Go and see Hamlet with a friend. Then talk theatre. Surprise yourself.  

    For information and tickets: https://thecultch.com/events/hamlet/

    Cast: Kurtis Maguire, Meghan Hemingway, David Quast, Yvonne Gustafson, Tatiana Robinson, Devon Oakander, Tara Webster, Lloyd Darling, and Ryan Caron

    Director: J-C Roy

    Sandbox Theatre presents Hamlet running June 8-10, 14-17, 21-24, 2017 at 7:30pm at the Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables Street)

       

     

     


  • Monday, June 05, 2017 4:59 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Hand to God

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Gerald Williams

    That I love going to the theatre is probably not a surprise if you’re reading this -  after all, I do write this blog after seeing plays. I discuss, read, write and even direct plays. After seeing Hand Of God, I contemplated why I liked it so much.

    I like sitting in the theatre soon after the doors open and looking at the set. At Hand of God I saw a basement in a church. Elements of which recalled my own childhood, right down to a copy of the picture of Jesus that hung in the rec room of the house I grew up in. There was evidence of childhood whimsy with decals of animals including a giraffe and cut-outs of butterflies. I saw the familiar places I’d known; places of innocence wrapped in a cheerful dreariness.


    The play started and I experienced the thrill - immediately. You may recognize that thrill. It is when something happens that makes you sit up and pay attention. You’re not sure exactly what’s happening, but it’s unexpected, dangerous, and provides danger while you’re safely seated amongst the anonymity of your theatre-going peers.

    During intermission I heard one person quietly express that the play is ‘vulgar’. My initial internal reaction was that the world presents far more vulgarity in the form of dishonesty and deceit in public officials and we tolerate that….then I got off my high horse and agreed. It is vulgar. Fantastically, joyously and sometimes hilariously vulgar. The type of vulgarity that stems from rage and inarticulate anger, emotions that are not understood.

    The play is about a young boy, Jason (Oliver Castillo) and his mother Margery (Jennifer Lines). Her husband died months prior and they are coping with the loss. The mother teaches a class in her church on puppetry and the boy has created a puppet, Tyron (Oliver Castillo), who lives on his arm and is the source of a great deal of the vulgarity.

    I had a very close friend whose husband died when she was 26 and had a four-year-old son. The effort she took to ensure her son was being raised in a balanced and supportive environment was remarkable. With her extended family she would regularly discuss what type of support the boy needed as he was growing; sports activities, vacations, trips with male family members. She had also worked out that once a year she could, for two weeks, take time away from her son and be a single woman and not a widow with a son. Watching Hand of God it is easy to picture a family in grief slipping into unhealthy behaviours and harmful attempts searching for life-balance.

    Go and see this play. It is familiar, provocative and rewarding in the way you want theatre to be. And how often do you leave a theatre saying, “That kid with the puppet, wow!”

    For information and tickets: http://artsclub.com/shows/2016-2017/hand-to-god

    Cast: Oliver Castillo as Jason/Tyrone, Mike Gill as Timothy, Julie Leung as Jessica, Jennifer Lines as Margery, Shekhar Paleja as Pastor Greg. 

    Director: Stephen Drover

    Arts Club’s Hand to God is at the Goldcorp stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until June 25th.

     

     


  • Wednesday, May 31, 2017 9:59 AM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Children of God

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Trilby Jeeves

    Last Sunday afternoon was a sunny, extraordinary Vancouver day. But, I and a large gathering of people spent it in a dark theatre witnessing the play Children of God, a production by Urban Ink Productions, at the York Theatre. My goosebumps burst at the introductory primal drum and the First Nations’ presence that lead us into the tragic story of the residential schools in Canada. This tightly knitted show culminated with an audience bonding and a talk back. The conversational finale helped to give more meaning to the depths of feelings I was experiencing.

    “I don’t want to look like an Indian today” “Good luck with that!” This exchange between grown son, Tom, played by Herbie Barnes, and his wise mother, Rita, played by Cathy Elliott, as Tom dresses for a job interview, summarized the backbone of this coming to light historical story.

    Last week I worked on a TV series doing background costuming and connected with a wonderful First Nations woman. She and I quietly chatted in the dressing tent as we waited to go to set and she revealed some of her story. She was taken away from her mother to be put in a residential school. It was the first time I had met someone who had experienced this. Or, it was the first time someone had talked to me about it. I asked questions. I felt so sad that “my people” felt they needed to “take the Indian out of the child.” I pondered the idea of how anyone could rip a child from their safest place, their home and mother. And, that it was “good” for them.

    It was appropriate that days later I was given the opportunity to seeChildren of God.

    Director, writer, lyricist, musician Cory Payette undertook the significant job of illuminating the concealed traumatic story of Canada’s residential schools. Payette chose the musical format to recount the whitening of the rich culture of our First Nations. Our Aboriginal. Our Indians.

    The set design, costumes and lighting were simple, powerful and efficient. The musicians and actors (nine skilled performers) were intelligent, honest, and true to the piece. I cannot imagine having to experience the journey they go on show after show, AND do a talk back.


    Children of God cast, Photo credit: Emily Cooper

    As I write, I struggle with saying the correct ideas, and expressing myself when my thoughts are somewhat naïve. The talk back brought up my ignorance and re-ignited my anger at my young education. I was never told about this historical issue. Why wasn’t I? Why was I allowed to graduate and not know about our history? Oh yes, I was told about the Mic Mac Indians in PEI but it was more about how they lived. And, in Banff, we celebrated “Indian Days” and I was excited to receive a beaded choker gift from my visiting Granddad. And, I loved my moccasins.

    During the talk back, the eloquent leader and actress, Kim Harvey, reminded us to look inside and do a personal investigation to see what stories we contain regarding First Nations People, our attitudes, and also our lack of knowledge. I did that. I was uncomfortable. I’m one of those people who “didn’t know.”

    But. I’m here. And, I’m looking. I’m reading. I’m watching. I’m listening. And, now, I’m communicating. And,reconciliation is now in my vocabulary.

    Thank you for the tough afternoon journey. Thank you for making a piece of entertaining theatre that opens a wound, so it can bleed and heal.

    See it. Learn. Breathe deeply and allow any tears to flow. And, wait for it. The vital musical beats I longed to hear throughout the whole show finally are released. My goosebumps returned.

    Take tissues.

    For information and tickets.

    Cast: Herbie Barnes, Cathy Elliott, Kim Harvey, Trish Lindstrom, Kevin Loring, Cheyenne Scott, Michael Torontow, Aaron M. Wells, and Kaitlyn Yott.

    Director: Corey Payette

    Children of God runs at the York Theatre until June 3rd, and continues to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa from June 7-18, 2017.

  • Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Ties of Blood: The Brontes

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Gerald Williams

    I like the Havana theatre. There’s something about a journey through a busy restaurant, then slinking past a tempting bar before arriving at a theatre. Like you have a secret that these casual diners don’t share, you’re going to enter a world they won’t know, your own journey through the back of the cupboard, your own Narnia.

    Ties of Blood: The Brontes is suited to this theatre as much as the moors are suited to Heathcliffe’s ghostly wanderings calling out for Catherine. This intimate 60-seat theatre brings you close to the actors so you catch every word, every sigh of these writers, poets, and, new to me, an alcoholic brother Branwell, (Nicholas Yee).  I first read the well-known Bronte works, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, as homework. I was blessed with a high school English teacher who believed we would never amount to anything in life until we learned how miserable people in the 19th century really were. I was enchanted by the stories of the authors. So, I went to the 1970’s version of Wikipedia, the encyclopedia, and read about how the Bronte sisters were caged animals abandoned by their father and, with no TV, were forced to write stories; as what other opportunities did women have. Wikipedia and this play are clearly more enlightening than encyclopedias of my youth.

    The play reflects on the difficulties within the Bronte household by inciting moments drawn from their great works of fiction. I revisited both the famous novels since first reading them as assignments, and am proud of my limited familiarity. I can’t be certain though if the scenes in the play use actual text from the books or were imagined to fit the story. My companion for the evening was sadly a TV writer, so has never read anything in her life, and admitted that she felt a bit lost. Happily, she has promised to check IMDB to see if there are any movies or TV programs she can access to increase her understanding of great literature.

    The play, like their lives, includes a great deal of death, and the great sorrow that is obliged to come with that. Death in the prime of life was not uncommon in the 19th century. In watching the deaths of the three siblings on stage, all of which occurred in actual fact within eight months, I was pondering how a life is mourned and how a life should be remembered. Does grief take place in one dramatic lunge or does it take up residency and abide with us for life. In the case of the Bronte’s, with their works living on, it is possible we can grieve for too long and miss out on reading their great works of fiction. Go read a book, they’re free at the library!

    Ties of Blood: The Brontes is at the storied Havana Theatre till May 20th

    Cast: Grace Fournier, Amy King, Carly Pokoradi and Nicholas Yee. 
    Director: Nick Heffelfinger

    A Theatre Hera West Production, Ties of Blood: The Brontes presents at the Havana Theatre May 10-20, 2017.

  • Wednesday, May 17, 2017 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Gerald Williams

    I’m a fan of Judy Garland. Like every young person since The Wizard of Oz came out in 1939 I was enthralled by this 'aw shucks' girl whose gumption outsmarted that wicked witch. As an early teen and aspiring film buff I discovered her movies with Mickey Rooney, released in the 1940’s, and watched her grow up. All the while I was discovering her, she was in her final years, riding the drugs and booze that eventually ended her life.

    End of the Rainbow takes place in 1969 a few months before her death, and during the five weeks she was in London doing a stint at a nightclub. The play by Peter Quilter opens with Judy’s accompanist (played by Gordon Roberts) playing the piano in the hotel suite which makes up the set. This unobtrusive opening is a beautiful way of bringing the audience into the atmosphere of the time. When Judy and her soon to be final husband, Mickey Deans (Jeffery Hoffman), crash into the scene we are immediately brought to the destructive dynamic of the relationship she has with men and with herself; the need for alcohol and drugs, the heightened sexuality, the use of her celebrity to gain unearned favours. We know the end of the story, but there is enough detail to keep us fully engaged with a good smattering of recognizable tidbits to make us feel the impulse to keep watching this tragedy with music.

    Included in the play are a number of songs and pieces of songs to whet the appetite of any Garland fan, or poke the curiosity of those who aren’t as familiar with her music or the music of that era. I found myself humming A Foggy Day in London Town on the way out of the theatre. I also wondered how long will Judy Garland keep her place in the public imagination. Will she have the life span of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe? Will she ever become a poster as popular as Albert Einstein. During the play, references are made to those in Garland’s celebrity sphere; Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Frank Sinatra, Deanna Durbin. I bet most people under 70 years of age have no idea who Deanna Durbin is. I expect Dean Martin and Sammy Davis have little life for anyone under 50. Fame, or celebrity, is fleeting, yet, thanks largely to the Munchkins, Glinda, those ruby slippers, and stories like End of the Rainbow, Judy Garland will always be relevant to audiences. If you know who got the heart, who got the courage and who got the brains, you’ll enjoy this play. I did. 

    Cast: Janet Gigliotti, Jeffery Hoffman, Gordon Roberts and Matthew Simmons

    ACE Productions presents the English Canadian premiere or End of the Rainbow, April 26 - May 20, 2017 at the Jericho Arts Centre.

  • Tuesday, May 09, 2017 12:00 PM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    On a First Name Basis by Norm Foster

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Trilby Jeeves

    Take an upper echelon, self-absorbed (until today) writer, and his clever, underappreciated housekeeper and throw in some expensive bottles of booze. The result? A wonky waltz of intellectual and emotional discovery.

    When writer, David, insists on them using first names and crossing boundaries, the awkward fun begins. Especially as he didn't even know her first name. After twenty-eight years of service. 

    First Impressions Theatre has once again produced a fun, thoughtful, and emotional (dammit, you made me cry!) piece of theatre, written by the clever Norm Foster. Directed by Claude A. Giroux, and starring Louise Porter as Lucy Hopperstaad, and Ryan Crocker as David Kilbride, they tackle this wordy script with affection and playfulness. I love watching two of my friends banter with twinkles in their eyes. I always say: "If you're having fun on stage, then we are having fun in the audience." Oh, and that yummy set. My favourite colours.

    The script is smart and has us thinking about the English language and our life. Expressions are explored. "Died prematurely" turns into a discussion about "dying right on schedule". "Saw it with my own eyes"... well, what other eyes would you have? There are philosophical questions that also arise. "Who will be by your side when you die?" "It's all about life's little vignettes."

    I would give more examples but it would spoil your journey when you go to see the compelling duo manage their differences and discover their secrets. After the show, at the pub, you might find yourself sharing your secret playlist on your device with your friends.

    Do we really know each other?

    Treat yourself to a Deep Cove outing where the view is still beautiful at this time of day, have a bite to eat, and pull up a seat for some live theatre.

    Vive le Théâtre!  

    On a First Name Basis is produced by First Impressions Theatre, and runs Wednesday through Saturdays at 8pm at the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre from May 4th to May 20th, 2017.

    Information and tickets: www.firstimpressionstheatre.com

  • Friday, March 17, 2017 11:00 AM | GVPTA (Administrator)

    Almost a Stepmom by Keara Barnes

    Reflections by GVPTA blogger Heather Evens

    Keara Barnes planned a six-month trip to Ireland. She ended up staying 2+ years, and almost became a stepmom. What happened to her during those 2+ years is the basis of her solo show, aptly named, Almost a Stepmom.

    Throughout the story, we meet the key players in Keara’s life in Dublin, and we learn what made her stay (spoiler alert: her heart), and ultimately, what made her leave (also spoiler: her gut).  We learn that her journey to almost stepmom-dom and back took Keara through the full gamut of emotions and experiences, and we get to re-live those with her through this show. My friend said that at one point in the show, she had to consciously regulate her breathing because she was getting caught up in Keara’s struggles. That’s a testament to the kind of ride we were taken on during this production – Keara puts her heart and soul into the story and into the performance.

    Almost a Stepmom started out as a 30-minute show that had a successful run at two different Fringe Festivals. Keara was then encourage by her friends to tell more of the story, which led her to this expanded version currently running as part of Vancouver’s Celtic Fest.

    We’ve all done crazy things in the name of love, and Keara’s show is an entertaining retelling of one of hers. I don’t know I’d have the courage to open myself up like that and tell such a personal life story in front of an audience. Kudos, Keara, for bringing your story to life and sharing it with us! If the audience’s reaction opening night was any indication, you’ve got a hit on your hands!

    Almost a Stepmom is being produced by Standing Room Only Theatre, as part of Celtic Fest. It’s running until March 18. Info and tickets are through standingroomonlytheatre.org. Good news – If you miss the show this week, it'll be back in town during the Vancouver Fringe Festival in September.


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