CONTEST: The Shipment Opens The Firehall Arts Centre Season.

The Firehall Arts Centre launches its 37th anniversary season with SpeakEasy Theatre’s powerful and provocative comedy, The Shipment, opening Wednesday, September 25th. 

The Shipment is written by award-winning Korean-American playwright Young Jean Lee.  The play is a subversive modern minstrel show about Black identity meant to wake the world to the ridiculous narratives in dominant media. Five Black actors – Andrew Creightney, Chris Francisque, Omari Newton, Adrian Neblett, and Kiomi Pyke – play a roster of characters that reads like a bad b-list of Black iconography: Video Ho, Crackhead John, Bad Cop, Standup Comedian, Drug Dealer Mama, Grandma from Heaven, and Record Company Executive, to name just a few. The brazen mash-up of these stereotypes with clichés, distortions, and brilliant sleights of hand all force us to go beyond the lampoon and shift the lens through which we perceive race in order to confront our own bias.

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment
photo: Jens Kristian Balle

“Young Jean Lee is one of America’s most fearless and exciting playwrights,” says Firehall Arts Centre’s Artistic Producer, Donna Spencer. “In her writing, she is not afraid to tackle difficult subject matter and does so with humour and intelligence. When SpeakEasy Theatre first produced The Shipment, I was privileged to sit in a sold-out performance and watch the audience shift in their seats, uncomfortably, and then laugh out loud a few moments later. The work engaged them and made them consider. I am proud to share this playwright’s work and this talented company of artists with Firehall audiences.”

The original production received five Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards nominations and a Best Actor win for Omari Newton, The Shipment is biting satire at its very best, and is set to shake up your perceptions of the subject matter.  The Shipment runs September 25 to October 5, 2019 at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street. Tickets are available online at firehallartscentre.ca

CONTEST

The kind folks at Firehall Arts Centre want you to witness this cutting-edge comedy for yourself, so they are giving a lucky reader a pair of tickets to to join us on Opening Night of The Shipment on September 25th at 7:30pm 

To enter the contest:

Leave a comment below telling us the person who would share your Oktoberfest experience (1 entry)

Follow @jminter and Tweet the Following & Tag a Theatre Buddy (1 entry) :

#CONTEST RT to #Win a pair of tickets to @FirehallArtsCte season opening production of #TheShipment from @SETheatreCo via @jminter http://ow.ly/w9xD30pxysT #giveaway #prize #Theatre

Contest entries will be accepted until Noon on Monday, September 16, 2019. 
One winner will be chosen at random. 

Speakeasy Theatre Company – The Shipment photo: Ryan McDonald

The Tashme Project: The Living Archive brings history to the present

Tonight, The Firehall Arts Centre opens an eye-opening, award-winning play The Tashme Project: The Living Archives, on stage until April 13th.         

The play Created and performed by Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa, The Tashme Project: The Living Archives traces the history and common experience of the Nisei (second generation Japanese Canadians) through childhood, internment in Canada during the Second World War, and post-war resettlement east of the Rockies. The Nisei, now in their 70s and 80s, were children at the time of internment and their stories of adventure and play are presented in sharp relief with the more common internment narratives of hardship and justice.

Created from twenty interwoven interviews with Nisei from Toronto, Hamilton, Kingston, Montreal, and Vancouver. The Tashme Project: The Living Archives moves from voice to voice and story to story with fluidity and with a purposeful and constructed gracefulness. The actors portray the voices of both men and women interviewees as they seek a deep emotional and spiritual connection with the stories of their elders, breathing new life into these memories.

The Tashme Project: The Living Archives highlights the Nisei character, language, spirit and story. Bringing to light this part of Canadian history, that is often kept in the dark, is an incredibly topical reminder of cultural division in the current social and political environment.

The Tashme Project: The Living Archives plays at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St, from tonight, Tuesday, April 2 to Saturday, April 13, 2019. Tickets and information available online at firehallartscentre.ca

Cain and Able coming to The Firehall Arts Centre

photo: Sepehr Samimi

A tale of biblical proportions, The Firehall Arts Centre presents The Biting School’s Cain and Abel from October 3rd to October 6th.

Directed and performed by brothers Arash and Aryo Khakpour, Cain and Abel explores the idea of jealousy and sibling rivalry, which leads to fratricidal violence, fueled by the patriarchal society we inhabit.

Inspired by the biblical story of Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve. The former, a farmer, and the latter, a shepherd, who meets a tragic end at the hand of his jealous brother.

photo: Sepehr Samimi

Performed in two parts, the first half of the  production studies the depiction and sensation of killing one’s brother in different contexts, and is highly physical, aggressive in rhythm and stereotypically masculine. The second half of the performance presents a reaction to the absence of women from the biblical story. Inspired by Jean Genet’s The Maids, this second act is a study of Cain and Abel as two sisters.

The Firehall’s Artistic Producer Donna Spencer says, “When I consider the Cain and Abel story now, it serves as a metaphor for the jockeying for power between governments and global corporations, and how in that jockeying  to control territory, resources and social values, their choices lead to violent confrontations, collapse of local economies, and displacement of thousands of individuals. With this production, The Biting School explores both the traditional story and the possibility of what might have happened had Eve given birth to daughters and encourages us to ask the question: would our current reality indeed be different if Cain and Abel had been born female?”

Cain and Able plays at 8pm, Wednesday, October 3 to Saturday, October 6, 2018 at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St.  Tickets are available online from firehallartscentre.ca/onstage/cain-and-abel/

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

A return to Chelsea Hotel : The Songs Of Leonard Cohen

Adrian Glynn McMorran
Photo: Emily Cooper

As the Firehall Arts Centre celebrates its 35th Anniversary, it brings back one of its most popular shows, Chelsea Hotel : The Songs Of Leonard Cohen.

The musical follows a writer who has checked into the famed Chelsea Hotel seeking inspiration and the words to his next prose. As he reminisces about his past romances to find his muse he is haunted by a love that he cannot, but longs to, forget.  The writer’s memories and hotel room are brought to life through Leonard Cohen’s poetic lyrics.  Creator Tracey Power and musical arranger/director Steve Charles allow the audience to enter the writer’s thoughts play out like a lucid dream.

l-r: Kayla, Steve, Ben, Marlene, Krystle
Photo: Emily Cooper

Adrian Glynn McMorran is the perfect embodiment of the writer’s angst,From tender lullabies to full out rock opera he is able to project the emotions of each tune whether he’s being sung to or singing.  Ben Elliot stands out as the writer’s conscience, helping him keep striving to find the words he’s seeking. Kayla Nickel, Krystle Dos Santos playing his various lovers, from flirtatious minxes to sultry sirens, while Marlene Ginader is the love he can’t forget. Along with Steve Charles all the actors sing and play seventeen different instruments on stage, immersing the audience in the musical.

Marlene Ginader + Adrian Glynn McMorran Photo: Emily Cooper

The first remount since the bard’s passing, the show packs an added emotion when hearing the memorable and thought-provoking lyrics from Everybody Knows, and Closing Time, to First We Take Manhattan, and Bird On A Wire, any many more. Of course no omnibus of Cohen’s music would be complete without the inclusion of Hallelujah.  With JUNO Week in Vancouver celebrating Canadian Music, it seems especially appropriate for the Firehall Arts Centre to remount this love letter to Cohen’s music

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs Of Leonard Cohen plays at Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E. Cordova St. until April 21, 2018. Visit firehallartscentre.ca for showtimes and ticket information.

Theatre Passe Muraille brings Elle to Firehall Arts Centre

Severn Thompson stars as Marguerite de la Rocque de Roberval photo credit: Michael Cooper

Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille brings its award winning play, ELLE, to the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver until February 18th. ELLE tells a tale of the real-life Marguerite de la Rocque de Roberval, a 16th century French noblewoman who spent a number of years marooned on an island in the New World. Having set sail with her uncle the governor of New France, on one of Jacques Cartier’s expeditions, de la Rocque de Roberval’s libido got the notice of the pious General.  As punishment for taking a lover, but more likely as a way to embezzle her inheritance, the Uncle abandons his niece, her lover and maid on a desolate island in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

ELLE stars Jonathan Fisher & Severn Thompson
photo credit: Michael Cooper

Over the centuries and through varying interpretations Marguerite’s herstory has taken on almost mythic proportions.  Elle is adapted from Douglas Glover’s book of the same name, by the star Severn Thompson who portrays the heroine as a headstrong, resourceful women who doesn’t let circumstances get in the way. The one woman show (along with one man Jonathan Fisher who provides the soundtrack and makes a short but pivotal appearance in the story) is set in both Marguerite’s present and past as the ‘present-day’ character recounts her story for the audience albeit with some possible flask induced embellishments creating an entertaining and dramatic piece of work.  Simple staging, bold dialogue and creatively choreographed movement, along with Fisher’s subtle music allow the audience to create the vivid picture of Marguerite’s life.

ELLE plays at the Firehall Arts Centre until February 18, 2017