Make the Drive to Marion Bridge

L to R: Beatrice Zeilinger, Lynda Boyd and Nicola Cavendish
photo: David Cooper

Kay Meek Arts Centre in West Vancouver is staging Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge, in celebration of its 20th Anniversary.

The premise of Marion Bridge is fairly simple; a trio of sisters gather at the family home in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to care for their dying mother, and sort through a lifetime of family differences and drama. What keeps the play from falling into a movie-of-the-week cliche, are the three fully realized performances by three respected actresses.  The venerable Nicola Cavendish, in her final stage performance, is Theresa – a farming nun, who is keeping up her holy facade despite facing a crisis of faith. Gemini award winning actress Lynda Boyd,  plays Agnes – a long-struggling Toronto based actress who “enjoys a drink” and Beatrice Zeilinger as Louise, the complex but ‘strange’ sister.

Almost everyone should be able to relate to the complexities of the family dynamic, especially with three such different siblings trying to sort out decades of history. In Marion Bridge, the sisters’ mother (dying, off-stage) is the catalyst for them to examine their lives, the mistakes of the past, and look for ways to grow into their futures. While there is a simple evocative set, designed by Tiko Kerr, it’s almost unnecessary,  these three leading ladies could perform on a blank stage with three chairs and the audience would still be entranced by their turns under Roy Surrette’s direction.

photo: David Cooper

Each of the characters has a monologue to flesh out their character, while the actresses were a joy to watch, I did feel they broke up the momentum of the play slightly. The transitions between scenes felt a bit abrupt, almost like the play was written with TV commercials in mind.  Cape Breton inspired music played and lights dimmed, leading to some awkward claps from the audience as they didn’t know if they were at the end of an act or the play itself.  Otherwise, Marion Bridge is an engaging, well-acted play that won’t disappoint.

Just as the characters take a drive to Marion Bridge in the play, this production is well worth the drive to West Vancouver and the Kay Meek Arts Centre.  If that’s not reason enough, the opportunity to witness stage-legend Nicola Cavendish’s final theatre performance before retiring, is an added bonus. 

Marion Bridge plays at the Kay Meek Arts Centre, 1700 Mathers Ave, West Vancouver, until September 20th. Find tickets and details at kaymeek.com

CONTEST: Win tickets to see Comedian Chris Griffin Live

This is your chance to catch one of Canada’s top comedians as JFL NorthWest presents Chris Griffin – the comedian, not the Family Guy cartoon character – in two performances at The Biltmore Cabaret on Thursday, October 18 at 7:00pm and 9:30pm.

Calgary-born, Vancouver-based Chris Griffin has established himself as one of comedy’s most dynamic storytellers. A story of not letting go of your dreams, after earning double university degrees (BAs in English and Political Science), and pulling himself up from modest beginnings to a comfortable living. At 29, he gambled it all to pursue his lifelong dream of performing stand-up comedy. Within a year, he won his hometown’s Great Canadian Laugh Off, quit his job, sold his house, and hit the road to do what he loves best – drinking, making people laugh, and turning a decade of awful “Family Guy” jokes to his advantage.

His gamble paid off, in 2016, Chris Griffin became the only Canadian comic in over 40 years to reach the finals at the prestigious San Francisco International Comedy Competition. That same year, he won top prize at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Competition in Vancouver. He has been featured at JFL NorthWest, Vancouver’s Just For Laughs Festival, for three consecutive years and has shared the stage with such notable comedians as Norm Macdonald, Doug Stanhope, and Bert Kreischer.  At this year’s Festival, Griffin was the only local comedian to appear on Ari Shaffir’s infamous “Renamed Storyteller Show”.

Chris Griffin
Photo: Rebecca Blissett

Griffin’s enthusiasm to dive into life’s wildest experiences without any consideration for the consequences has made him a uniquely entertaining storyteller and a favourite at festivals and clubs across Canada and the U.S. To top it off Chris Griffin has also been presented with the 2018 “Rampant Male Shirtlessness Award” at the inaugural JFL NorthWest Comedy’s Awards. Shirt on or off, Chris Griffin has claimed his name in the world of comedy. 

Catch Chris Griffin : “I’m Not Your Family, Guy” live, for two shows, at the Biltmore Cabaret, October 18, 2018.
Tickets are on sale now and available online at
https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1746346 for the 7:00pm performance
and
https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1746348 for the 9:30pm performance.
Audiences should note that this Biltmore Cabaret show will be a live comedy taping.

JFL Northwest has kindly offered a pair of tickets for a reader to attend Chris Griffin’s 9:30pm performance on October 18th. 

To enter the contest:

Leave a comment below telling us the person who would share the laughs at the Chris Griffin Biltmore Show. (1 entry)

Tweet the Following & Tag an comedy buddy (1 entry) :

RT to #Win a pair of tix to @jflnorthwest Chris Griffin stand-up show October 18 at @BiltmoreCabaret via @jminter http://ow.ly/5tFC30lKovU #contest #comedy #stand-up

Contest entries will be accepted until Noon on Monday, September 24, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random. Please note, you must be 19 years or older to enter; The Biltmore Cabaret will require photo ID to access the show. 

City Opera Vancouver presents Nigredo Hotel

Be prepared to be thrilled as City Opera Vancouver presents the astonishing and macabre work, Nigredo Hotel, from September 20 to 22, at The Cultch Historic Theatre.

Originally commissioned by Tapestry Opera, City Opera Vancouver’s Nigredo Hotel is directed by Alan Corbishley, with music by Nic Gotham and libretto by distinguished Canadian author and playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald. The one-act chamber opera tells the tale of an encounter between a beautiful but crazed hotelier, Sophie, and a brain surgeon, Raymond, who seeks refuge after a traumatic car accident.

“Part psychological thriller and mystery, both sarcastic and sweet, witty and strange, Nigredo Hotel is
nothing like City Opera Vancouver has ever presented before. This deeply moving, emotionally and
intellectually charged work is full of suspense, broad comedy, and great surprise,” says Charles Barber,
Artistic Director, City Opera Vancouver. “Vancouver audiences will be mesmerized by MacDonald’s highly
evocative libretto and Gotham’s brilliant score that beautifully conveys the complex relationship between two strangers as they embark on a dark spiritual journey. This celebrated opera is an intellectual tour de force and one of the most remarkable works in the Canadian opera canon.”

Tyler Duncan & Sarah Vardy
Photo: Michelle Koebke from
Diamond’s Edge Photography

Internationally renowned opera stars Tyler Duncan and Sarah Vardy will perform a brilliant Jungian-inspired combat between two of the most unusual characters in 20th century opera.
Internationally renowned Canadian baritone Duncan make his City Opera debut as Raymond. Praised for his “powerful voice and dramatic conviction” (New York Times), Duncan is a multi-award winning vocalist known for his performances of art song, oratorio and operatic roles across North America, Europe, and South Africa. Joining Duncan on stage is gifted Canadian dramatic soprano Vardy in the role of Sophie. Hailed for her “emotional yet unaffected quality of performance with a true clear voice” (Saskatoon Star Phoenix), Vardy has delighted audiences in Canada, Europe, Mexico, and China.

The vocalists will perform without a conductor, and are accompanied on stage by a quartet featuring François Houle, clarinet; Laurence Mollerup, bass; Martin Fisk, percussion; and Roger Parton, keyboard.

The world premiere of Nigredo Hotel was performed by Tapestry Opera on May 13, 1992 at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. The production toured Canada, was presented at the Glasgow Mayfest, remounted in Toronto in 1995 and 2005, and premiered in Australia in 2006.
The Cultch Historic Theatre welcomes this City Opera Vancouver production of Nigredo Hotel September 20 – 22, 2018, at 8pm each night. ?Get tickets online at thecultch.com

Join the Slow Fish Canada Dinner

Lovers of local seafood are in for a treat as the 5th Chefs’ Table Society of BC’s Slow Fish Canada Dinner returns to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) on Sunday, September 23rd.

photo: Meighan Makarchuk

This annual event allows seafood lovers to interact with local chefs and indulge in local sustainable seafood. Starting with Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) culinary student-prepared canapés, and Frizzante Rosé from Salmon-Safe winery St. Hubertus & Oak Bay Estate Winery, attendees then flow through PICA’s eight professional teaching kitchens to meet the visiting chefs, who will each be preparing a tasting-sized portion of local sustainable seafood delicacies.  Chefs’ Table Society event committee lead by chef Darren Clay, executive culinary chef instructor at PICA, and Poyan Danesh, culinary director at Ocean Mama Seafood welcome guests to a sensational seafood supper.

photo: Meighan Makarchuk

This year’s participating chefs include:

Julian Bond, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
Andrea Carlson, Burdock and Co.
Welbert Choi, Forage
Warren Chow, Juniper
Jason Harris, Colette Grand Café at Holt Renfrew
Edgar Kano, Four Seasons Hotel
Greg McCallum, Le Crocodile
Mark Singson, Food Art and Music (Top Chef Canada Finalist Season 6)

Dishes will include the chefs’ creative interpretations of how to serve sustainable local sturgeon, arctic char, Humpback Shrimp, Honey Mussels, Spiny Scallop Geoduck, Albacore tuna and Octopus.
Wines pairings from Peacock & Martin, and several Salmon-Safe BC wineries, will compliment the chef’s creations.

photo: Meighan Makarchuk

The Slow Fish Canada Dinner takes place at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, on Granville Island, September 23, 2018, 6pm-9pm.

Tickets are available online now. Only 100 tickets are available for the Slow Fish Canada Dinner. Early Bird $99 (+ taxes and fees) tickets are on sale until September 9th, before rising to $109 from September 10th until sold out.

The evening’s proceeds, as with all Chefs’ Table Society events, help fund scholarship; including one that will be awarded at the Dinner. In addition to fundraising, the event also aims to raise awareness for Slow Fish Canada (a Slow Food initiative) and its role in protecting our oceans.

Picks of the Week – September 5, 2018

As we move past Labour Day, and people head back to school and work, it’s easy to think summer is over, but we still have a couple weeks to go, so let’s keep it going with these picks.

Bard: There’s just days left for some of the shows at Bard on the Beach 2018.  Make your picks between a brilliant Beatles themed version of As You Like It,  or the dramatic Macbeth on the Mainstage, and find Timon of Athens or Lysistrata on the Howard Family Stage, all wrapping up in the next week.

Fringe Fest: Midtwenties Theatre Society – The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant

Fringe: The 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival opens Thursday, bringing 11 days of cutting edge theatre and entertainment all around town.

Punt: The BC Lions return to BC Place to host Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night

Park: The much anticipated Skookum Festival makes its debut at Stanley Park this weekend,  bringing 3 days of music, food, & art to Brockton Oval & Meadow featuring Florence & The Machine, The Killers, Metric, Arkells, Stereophonics, X Ambassadors and more.

Cycle: This weekend watch for the RBC Gran Fondo, North America’s largest, to bring masses of cyclists to the sea-to-sky.

Sisters: Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Daniel MacIvor’s acclaimed play Marion Bridge, at Kay Meeks Arts Centre in West Vancouver until September 20th.

Things: The Museum of Vancouver’s exhibit Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives,  brings the great outdoors, indoors to take a look at the relationship between local plants and animals and the people and places in the city, showing until 2019

Inked: The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Art examines the deep-rooted traditions of Indigenous tattooing, piercing and personal adornment, in BODY LANGUAGE: Reawakening Cultural Tattooing of the Northwest  an exhibit curated by Dion Kaszas of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, until January 2019

Emilio Suarez plays Tyrant Studio Friday Jazz, September 7

Lounge: The Tyrant Studios continues their Friday Jazz and Saturday Night Comedy Series into September

Rock: After cancelling a series of shows due to illness, the Foo Fighters return to the stage in Vancouver on Saturday night at Rogers Arena

Cabin: Take a trip to the cabin while staying indoors, at the Vancouver Art Gallery as Cabin Fever  an exhibit tracing the history of the North American cabin as an architectural form and a cultural construct, on view until September 30, 2018

Laugh:  Head Back to School with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports League lampoons the classroom, also check out the other laugh-filled show like the late night show WTF – What The Fun!

 

Chan Centre opens the season Aida Cuevas

photo: Aida Cuevas

The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC opens its season by welcoming Grammy Award-winning Mexican superstar Aida Cuevas along with the band Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán on September 22, 2018, at 8pm in the Chan Shun Concert Hall.

Hailed as ‘The Queen of Mariachi’ and renowned for her elegance, charisma, and stunning vocal range, Cuevas will sing traditional Mexican songs by the late singer-songwriter and musical icon Juan Gabriel in this hotly anticipated season opener.

“Aida is a star in every sense of the word — a singer with a gorgeously emotive voice and dynamic stage presence,” says Joyce Hinton, Co-Managing Director of the Chan Centre. “When I first found out about her project honouring the music of Juan Gabriel, I knew it would be a significant event for fans of Mexican music and culture. It is fitting as well that the concert falls just six days after Mexican Independence Day. Ranchera music sung by women is incredibly special, and I’m so honoured to have this trailblazing female artist kick off our series performing in a genre that historically has been dominated by male musicians.”

photo: Aida Cuevas

A ranchera music legend, Cuevas has been celebrated both in her home country and on the world stage for more than four decades. Her unique voice and style have left a significant imprint in the history of Mexican music, with 39 albums selling more than eight million copies worldwide. This year, Cuevas broke new ground as the first female singer in the mariachi category, a normally male-dominated genre, to win a Grammy Award.

The concert at Chan Centre will pay homage to Gabriel, who passed away in 2016. The influential musician was not only Cuevas’ personal mentor, he was also Mexico’s best-selling recording artist of all time, a Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame inductee, and six-time Grammy award nominee. Cuevas is the only artist authorized by Gabriel’s estate to tour his music, and she will perform a selection of his beloved classics, including “Te Lo Pido Por Favor,” “La Diferencia,” and “Te Sigo Amando.” She will be backed by Mexico City-based Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlán, alongside special guest musicians on requinto guitar, accordion, percussion, and keyboard.

Related to the concert, fans of Aida Cuevas may also enjoy the following events; 

Film Screening: Dos Tipos de Cuidado (Two Careful Fellows) — Thursday, September 13, 7pm, at The Cinematheque (1131 Howe St.).
Indulge in nostalgia for the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema with this beloved black and white film that follows the trials and tribulations of two best friends turned enemies. 

Pre-Show Talk with Ricardo García — Saturday, September 22, 7:15pm in the Royal Bank Cinema at the Chan Centre.
Ricardo García, a UBC graduate student 
from the Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies, will be discussing the way in which female identity and empowerment is negotiated within Mexican music, with a special focus on mariachi and the legacy of Aida Cuevas.

Tickets for events are available online at chancentre.com

Marion Bridge coming to Kay Meek Arts Centre

This week, West Vancouver’s Kay Meek Arts Centre celebrates the 20th anniversary of Daniel MacIvor’s renowned play Marion Bridge

photo: David Cooper

When three estranged sisters (Agnes, Theresa and Louise) make the trip home to Cape Breton to care for their dying mother, their shared past resurfaces in all of its tangled intricacy. Eldest sister Agnes, battling addiction and failed ambition, is forced to revisit her most agonizing decision. Middle sister Theresa, a longtime caregiver to their mother is questioning her Catholic faith, while Louise, the youngest of the trio, is struggling towards independence. In the kitchen of the family home, the women circle their respective pain and grief, confront the ghosts of the past, and struggle towards some hope for the future.  

L to R: Beatrice Zeilinger, Lynda Boyd and Nicola Cavendish
photo: David Cooper

Presented with Wing & Prayer Productions and under the direction of Roy Surette, Marion Bridge features the legendary Nicola Cavendish as Theresa, Lynda Boyd as Agnes and Beatrice Zeilinger as Louise, this new production brings MacIvor’s searing dialogue to life with delicacy and bone-deep honesty. Nominated for the Governor General’s Award and adapted for the screen, Marion Bridge is filled with hard-won humanism, flinty humour and a resounding belief in the power of connection. 

In addition to celebrating the play’s 20th Anniversary, this production of Marion Bridge will also  mark the final stage production by the great Nicola Cavendish.  Born in Cirencester, England, and raised in rural British Columbia, Ms Cavendish has amassed an impressive list of credits in her illustrious career. From Stratford Festival, Broadway and national tours with her best known role in Shirley Valentine to her Holiday favourite play It’s Snowing on Saltspring at the Arts Club Theatre, her performances have touched stages near and far.

Catch this special performance of Marion Bridge at the Kay Meek Arts Centre from September 5 – 20, 2018. Tickets are available from the Kay Meek Arts Centre box office or online at kaymeek.com.