Bard On The Beach : Shakespeare In Love

Shakespeare in Love Charlie Gallant & Ghazal Azarbad Image: Emily Cooper

Most patrons of Bard On The Beach, have a love for Shakespeare but for the 30th Anniversary season, the Festival has flipped the script to present Shakespeare In Love.

Directed by Daryl Cloran, (director of The Beatles themed As You Like It from Bard’s 2018 season), this adaptation of the 1998 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, Shakespeare In Love takes the audience behind the scenes to look, with creative historical liberties, at a period in Will Shakespeare’s life. Suffering from writer’s block while trying to write his next play, “Romeo & Ethel The Pirates Daughter”, Will must overcome battling producers, actors egos, and noble rivals for the love of his muse. Although Shakespeare In Love is not written by the Bard, Lee Hall has adapted the original screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard into a fast-paced comedy, filled with the familiar tropes and themes found in original works. The play within the play unwraps the script of Romeo & Juliet, as it’s supposedly being written by Will, corresponding with his love affair with muse Viola.

Shakespeare In Love
l-r: Chirag Naik, Jennifer Lines & Paul Moniz de Sá
Photo: Tim Matheson

When remaking a well known and acclaimed work, it can often be difficult to not be compared to the original actors in the source material, but the company of Bard on the Beach makes these characters, both historic and fictitious, their own. Charlie Gallant is charming as befuddled but romantic leading man, Will Shakespeare. In her dual turn as Will’s love interest, Viola de Lessep and her male alter-ego Thomas Kent the actor, Ghazal Azarbad makes you forget about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Best Actress performance. Regal Jennifer Lines channels Dame Judy Dench as her majesty Queen Elizabeth I. Bard vets Scott Bellis, Warren Kimmel, Andrew McNee, Kamyar Pazandeh and Chirag Naik chew up the scenery to provide some great comedic moments in contrast to Will and Viola’s Romeo & Juliet love story.

Ghazal Azarbad & Charlie Gallant Photo: Tim Matheson

Shakespeare In Love incorporates enough of Romeo & Juliet to keep Bard lovers happy while bringing a contemporary take on Shakespeare to the BMO Mainstage at Bard on the Beach.

Shakespeare In Love plays in repertoire with Taming of the Shrew at Bard on the Beach, under the Tents at Vanier Park (behind Museum of Vancouver) until September 18, 2019. Information and tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org.

Picks of the Week : June 19, 2019

The first official weekend of summer kicks the season off with a bounty of entertaining picks

Eat: Tonight, take a bite out of central Richmond as Tasting Plates; Richmond Edition, visits 75 West Coast Grill, Cavu Kitchen Bar, Harold’s Bistro & Bar & 38 Sampal Korean BBQ.

Arts: The 11th Annual Queer Arts Festival continues through June 28th at Roundhouse Community Centre

Musical: Adapted from Roald Dahl’s novel about the precocious, pint-sized, imaginative student, Matilda the Musical is running at Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until July 14th.

SoapOpera: Vancouver TheatreSports presents its newest show, Improv Mondays with Michelle – Fake Stories, Real Improvisers hosted by the character Michelle from the popular web comedic soap opera Michelle’s.

Reggae: Friday night, the River Rock Show Theatre welcomes the distinctive voice of Shaggy to the stage.

Moms: You don’t have to be a mom to enjoy Mom’s The Word 3 – Nest Half Empty, playing at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, you just have to have one.

Summer: Celebrate the Solstice at Museum of Vancouver and H.R. Macmillan Space Centre’s Perspectives on the Solstice summer kick-off event on June 21st.

Jazz: The 34th Vancouver International Jazz Festival runs June 21 to July 1st with hundred of artists, performances and events, many free, taking place all over Vancouver

Songwriter: Saturday singer/songwriter Josh Ritter plays Vogue Theatre with guests Penny and Sparrow

Bard On The Beach

Tents: Another season of Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park with Taming of the Shrew and Shakespeare in Love playing in repertoire through the summer

Match: Whitecaps FC return to BC Place to play host to Colorado Rapids Saturday evening

Country: Award winning country artist Terri Clark performs Sunday night at Hard Rock Casino Vancouver

Puppets:Museum of Anthropologie’s Shadows, Strings and Other Things features a broad array of puppets, old and new, from 15 countries across Asia, Europe, and the Americas until October 14

Delinquent Theatre premieres Never The Last

Next week, Delinquent Theatre opens the emotional world premiere of Never the Last, as part of the SeeMore Theatre Series at Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex. 

Anton Lipovetsky, Christine Quintana and Molly MacKinnon. Photo/Art by Bold Rezolution Studio.

Inspired by the life story of Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté, an enormously innovative early twentieth century composer, the drama follows her 10-year marriage with the celebrated expressionist painter Walter Gramatté. Set to a live score of Eckhardt-Gramatté’s solo violin works, the multimedia presentation blends movement and text to tell a heartbreaking tale of adventure, poverty, and strife.

“As a strongly female-driven theatre company, it is vital for us to honour and share the stories of innovative women artists who blazed the trails before us. Especially those whose art has been forgotten or obscured due to discrimination based on gender and class,” says Christine Quintana, Co-Artistic Director with Delinquent Theatre and co-creator of Never the Last. “Eckhardt-Gramatté’s determination, adversity, and triumph in the face of tragedy is profoundly inspiring to us. In telling her story and lauding her rarely performed — but undeniably brilliant — body of work, we are honoured to share a narrative that pushes against society’s limitations for women — especially those in leadership positions — and rejects status quo.”

Molly MacKinnon as the Creator/Violinist Photo: Christine Quintana

Created by acclaimed playwright and actor Christine Quintana and violinist Molly MacKinnon, Never the Last was conceived out of MacKinnon’s curiosity with Eckhardt-Gramatté. During her research, MacKinnon discovered that many of Eckhardt-Gramatté’s innovative and experimental works were nearly lost in her male-dominated field before her immigration to Canada in 1950. MacKinnon approached Quintana with a vision to create Never the Last and help bring this gifted female composer’s tremendous life and legacy to the forefront.

Directed by award-winning Laura McLean and choreographed by Kayla Dunbar (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Arts Club Theatre Company), Never the Last is a music / theatre hybrid expressed through Eckhardt-Gramatté’s 10 solo violin caprices — poetic expressions of her visceral and dramatic relationship with her husband, expressionist painter Gramatté.

Performed by MacKinnon, Quintana, and Anton Lipovetsky, the love story unfolds in Berlin, 1919, where violin prodigy and composer Sophie-Carmen meets Walter, a German painter and war veteran in poor health.  Sparks fly and their resulting love affair spans 10 years, four cities, and numerous artistic successes and failures, all underscored by MacKinnon performing Eckhardt-Gramatté’s violin compositions. Fusing a classical music performance, movement, and text, Never the Last is an artistic expression of the enormities of loss and the complexities of love.

Following Gramatté’s death in 1929, Eckhardt-Gramatté later remarried art historian Ferdinand Eckhardt and eventually immigrated to Winnipeg in 1953. The musician’s legacy and work is preserved through the work of the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation in Winnipeg which provided the background biological information, recordings and documents that helped form Never the Last.

Delinquent Theatre’s  Never the Last, runs April 9–20, 2019, as part of the SeeMore Theatre Series at Vancouver Civic Theatre’s Annex, 823 Seymour Street. For more information visit delinquenttheatre.com

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

Gateway Theatre finds Glory

Opening April 4, at Gateway Theatre, Glory tells the incredible true story about the Preston Rivulettes women’s hockey team.

Glory pic: Barbara Zimonick

In 1933, four friends set out to prove to Canada that hockey isn’t just a sport for men. Despite the battles over ice time, the struggle to finance the team, and the endless sexism that existed in the sport, they formed the Preston Rivulettes and defied odds. Fighting through the Great Depression, prejudice, and personal upheaval, will they overcome the odds and forge their own path to glory?

Director James MacDonald directs local playwright Tracey Power’s inspirational story of the real-life Canadian championship women’s hockey team. Featuring electrifying swing dance choreography inspired by the jazz age, GLORY captures all the thrills, excitement, and tension of a great hockey game.

Glory pic: Barbara Zimonick

Gateway Theatre has a number of special events during the run of Glory; Pizza Preview Night on April 4, Tea Matinee on April 9, Talkback Thursday April 11. For patrons who don’t speak English as a first language or not regular theatregoers, Tues. April 9, 11:30am, pre-show primer, in English and Mandarin, offers an overview of GLORY and learn why hockey is a key part of Canadian culture prior to the matinee performance so you can sit back and enjoy the show. Also April 9, Theatre Club Dinner and Show combo includes dinner at Kove Kitchen plus the 8pm performance of Glory.

Glory runs April 4 – 13, 2019 at Gateway Theatre 6500 Gilbert. For more information on all events and tickets, visit gatewaytheatre.com

Jack and the Magic Bean comes to Presentation House Theatre

North Vancouver’s Presentation House Theatre and Mexico’s Marionetas de la Esquina present Jack and the Magic Bean, at Presentation House Theatre from April 11th to 28th.

Jack & the Magic Bean pic: Emiliano Leyva

In this whimsical and enlightening adaptation of the classic fairy tale, when Jacky tries to sell her beloved toys to buy food for her family and then trades them for a magic bean, she discovers something much more valuable than money — how to sustainably grow your own food and care for the land.

“This is a delightful and interactive presentation with an incredibly powerful underlying message,” saysKim Selody, Artistic Director of Presentation House Theatre and Director of Jack and the Magic Bean. “Young audiences ages three to eight are urged to accompany Jacky on her journey, helping her grow the beanstalk and climb it, and then become the bugs in the dirt to help make her garden grow. At the same time, the play tackles themes of poverty, irresponsible farming practices, and sustainability, offering a vital and urgent message — we must all learn to respect and care for the Earth for the sake of future generations.”

Jack & the Magic Bean pic: Emiliano Leyva

 Jack and the Magic Bean is a newly imagined version of the original Jessie Award-winning adaptation, written by Vancouver playwright Linda A. Carson, and co-produced by Presentation House Theatre and Mexico’s Marionetas de la Esquina, the company behind last season’s Sleeping Beauty Dreams.  Inspired by its recent international debuts in Kansas City, MO and in Mexico City — in which the play was translated into bilingual and Spanish versions — the beloved tale has been reworked in a joyful collaboration between the award-winning theatre companies.

A 55-minute interactive experience for families with children ages three to eight, Jack and the Magic Bean offers rich imagery and playful immersion, encouraging kids to not just watch Jacky’s story unfold, but to be an active part of its unfolding. Children will be captivated by the narrative’s ‘story gardener’ who needs their fertile imaginations to make the story grow; delightfully scared by the health-conscious ogre who likes to eat humans but refrains due to his indigestion; and gleefully enthusiastic to become the tiny bugs wriggling through the soil — both to escape the grasp of the mighty giant and to help teach Jacky about the process that will ultimately save her garden and help feed her family: composting.

Jack and the Magic Bean, runs from April 11th to 28th, 2019 at Presentation House Theatre, 333 Chesterfield Ave, North Vancouver. Visit phtheatre.org for show details and tickets 

Gateway Theatre brings Gross Misconduct

Next up at Gateway Theatre, comes the spring production of, Gross Misconduct, running March 14th to 23rd.

Ian Butcher as Deke photo: David Cooper

With the current global accountability, including the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Gross Misconduct, directed by Kayvon Khoshkam, brings a riveting take on the twinned experiences of revenge and redemption.  Written by Meghan Gardiner, familiar to Gateway audiences as a brilliant performer, shows she is an equally talented playwright in this world premiere of her provocative new drama.

Now in his early fifties, Deke has been in Millhaven Prison without a cellmate for the past twenty years. He is surprised and irritated when Corey, a twenty-something rich kid, joins him in his cell. With little in common, other than a shared passion for hockey, tensions emerge as the pair are forced to share a tiny space. 

As a complicated bond begins to form between these two unlikely cellmates, the ongoing threat of violence takes a new form when Corey begs Deke for protection inside the prison. The men are forced to re-evaluate how they see each other after the true nature of their respective crimes is revealed. Old patterns resurface and Deke is finally brought face-to-face with a decision that he made twenty years ago. 

Gross Misconduct plays at Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond, from March 14th to March 23rd, 2019. Tickets, showtimes and details available at gatewaytheatre.com