Never Still opens the Firehall Arts Centre season.

Never Still:
Vanessa Goodman
photo: Ben Didier

Next week, The Firehall Arts Centre kicks off its 2018/2019 season with the world premiere of Never Still.  Running from from September 26 to 29, 2018, Never Still, is the newest work from Vancouver’s Vanessa Goodman (Action at a Distance Dance Society), created in collaboration with dancers Shion Skye Carter, Stéphanie Cyr, Bynh Ho, Alexa Mardon, Lexi Vajda, and Sound/Projection Designer Loscil (Scott Morgan), Lighting Designer James Proudfoot, Costumer Lloyd. 

Never Still is inspired by the inherent conflicts and dichotomies of water, it is graceful and challenging, like humanity itself.  Never Still explores social, environmental, and biological themes, in a highly physical piece that dives into the distinctions and overlap between three different systems of circulation: global water cycles, communication technology, and fluids within the body.

Never Still:
Shion Skye Carter
photo: Ben Didier

“We are living in an increasingly polarized culture,” says Donna Spencer, the Firehall Arts Centre’s Artistic Producer. “And it is our role as artistic creators to encourage audiences to consider, through what they are seeing on stage, how inextricably linked we all are in finding our way through these challenging times.”

She adds, “This season, our programming is about choices – the ones we make, the ones we think we should make but don’t, and the influences around us that colour that decision-making. Live performance allows us to experience a unique and powerful collective sharing of emotions and information that resonates through our day to day lives long after we have left the theatre, and indeed may influence the choices we make in the future.”

Never Still runs Wednesday September 26 to Saturday September 29, 2018 at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street

Uncover “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

The Arts Club Theatre Company’s 55th Season opens with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  Now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the award winning play is a delightful adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel of the same name.  Written by Simon Stephens, this adaptation is directed by The Arts Club’s Ashlie Corcoran, putting her stamp on her first season as Artistic Director.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time starts off with the curious incident, that the neighbour’s dog has been killed, with a garden fork. The dog’s body has been discovered by 15 year old Christopher John Francis Boone, who is assumed to be, though it’s not directly stated, on the Autism spectrum.  Against his father’s wishes, Christopher decides to investigate whodunit.  Along the way, Christopher learns truths about the dog’s death, his family and himself as he challenges and overcomes his abilities.

The story, worthy of a night-time soap, is told via Christopher’s “book” a personal diary.  As read by Siobhan, his special needs assistant and mentor, flashbacks flesh out his diary entries, and becomes a play-within-a-play.  Rhythm and repetition help the young math wiz navigate his complex world.  Under the guidance of Movement Director Kayla Dunbar, the characters’ interactions also take on dance-like rhythms and repetition.  Whether they’re using their bodies to form abstract structures or create the frenetic pace of the big city the movement fills in the picture that Christopher’s words create.

The talented cast is led by Netflix’s Alex Strangelove star, Daniel Doheny in a brilliant and believable turn as Christopher.  The rest of the cast play multiple characters that help, hinder and challenge Christopher’s adventure. Todd Thomson stands out as Mr Boone who is both a comforting parent and antagonist.  As well, Ghazal Azarbad, as the caring Siobhan, provides the encouragement and cheerleading the story.  While the story has plenty of ups and downs and family drama, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an uplifting and life affirming show, that everyone will love.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is playing until October 7, 2018 at The Arts Club Theatre Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage.
September 30th, 7pm, is a relax performance for audience members who may find it difficult to follow a conventional performance.

 

Picks of the Week – September 12, 2018

While we wouldn’t know it by the weather, we still have just over a week of summer left (officially) so let’s try to make the most of it with some of these entertainment picks

Bard Village

Bard: The 2018 season of Bard on the Beach is rapidly drawing to a close, the classic drama Macbeth on the Mainstage and Lysistrata on the Howard Family Stage, close tomorrow while extra shows have been added to the run of the brilliant Beatles themed version of As You Like It,  now closing Sep 28th.

Dog: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time opens the Arts Club Theatre Company’s season at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until October 7th.

Fringe: It’s the final week for 2018 Vancouver Fringe Festival and your chance to catch the cutting edge theatre and entertainment all around town.

Comedy: Aussie stand-by comic Jim Jefferies brings laughter to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage for three shows this weekend; Friday night at 7pm and 10pm, Saturday night at 8pm

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

Sisters: Take a drive and enjoy a trio of brilliant performances in the 20th Anniversary presentation of Daniel MacIvor’s acclaimed play Marion Bridge, at Kay Meeks Arts Centre in West Vancouver until September 20th.

Park: The Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park welcomes Ms Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour, on Saturday evening.

Open: Saturday, the Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House welcomes the public to explore all the dance companies that inhabit the Centre.

Market: Viva Mexico! Saturday from 11:30am – 8pm at Robson Square, explore Market Mexico, learn about the destination, culture and entertainment of Mexico.

Soul: American Gospel/Soul singer Leon Bridges comes to the PNE Amphitheatre on Sunday September 16

Improv: “Laugh til your face hurts” and lampoon the hysteria of the Back to School season at Vancouver Theatresports League , also check out the other laugh-filled show like the late night show WTF – What The Fun!

Fest: Westward Music Festival takes over music venues all around downtown Vancouver for four days of entertainment September 13-16.

Charity: Saturday watch stars from sports and TV, like Patrick Chan, Daniel & Henrik Sedin, the cast of Riverdale, Once Upon A Time, and The 100, take to the pitch at BC Place alongside Whitecaps legends in the annual Legends & Stars charity match supporting BC Children’s Hospital

Kicks: After the Legends & Stars match, stick around as Whitecaps FC play host to Cascadia Rivals Seattle in what’s sure to be a raucous afternoon.

Disco: Dance away the last days of disco  summer at Public Disco in the recently refreshed Ackery’s Alley (next to Orpheum Theatre). Enjoy the music on Saturday from 1pm – 8pm

 

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. 

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!

 

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.