Realwheels Theatre Searches for Playwright-in-Residence

Vancouver-based award-winning Realwheels Theatre has announced a national call for submissions for a playwright who lives with disability to participate in a residency beginning in 2020.

Through an open application process, Realwheels Theatre invites emerging to mid-career playwrights in Canada who live with disability to submit new, English language, theatre-based projects at various stages of development from. Once announced in December 2019, the selected playwright will receive a flexible package of supports customizable to their needs including dramaturgical support, workshop space, access to professional actors, disability accommodation, and a financial reward of $7000. The selected playwright will also participate in Realwheels’ programming over a period of nine months. In addition to the resident playwright, two encouragement awards of $250 will also be announced.

“We’re excited by the opportunity to further the creative capacity of the disability community,” says Realwheels’ Artistic Director, Rena Cohen. “Plays written by individuals with disabilities are still largely absent from cultural platforms. A key strategy toward achieving equity lies in actively supporting the cultivation of stories rooted in the disability experience. We’re proud to be creating structures that nurture playwrights with disabilities to tell their own stories!”

The Realwheels Theatre playwright in residence is open to emerging to mid-career Canadian playwrights.  Submission packages should include a cover letter, a short biography, a synopsis of their work in progress, and a sample of their best writing. 

Submissions must be received between September 15 and 30, 2019.

For full details of the residence program, and instructions for submissions visit realwheels.ca/playwright-in-residence.

Immerse Yourself, ‘Deep Into Darkness’ at The Cultch

Third Wheel Productions, an experiential production company, brings the world premiere of “Deep Into Darkness”, an immersive theatrical experience at The Cultch Theatre. 

 From August 13th to 25th, “Deep Into Darkness” is sure to be one of the season’s most elaborate theatre experiences. Unlike traditional theatre shows, Third Wheel Productions invites audiences to roam and follow characters through different worlds as all 3 floors, 20 rooms, and 30,000 square feet of The Cultch will be transformed into a 19th-century Victorian world inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

The ambitious effort to bring large-scale immersive theatre to Vancouver is led by local creative duo Laura Carly Miller and Sydney Doberstein, who co-wrote, co-produced, and co-directed the show.

Deep Into Darkness
l-r: Sydney Doberstein, Laura Carly Miller, Leah Beaudry
Photo: Taylor Kare

“We wanted to bring a ground-breaking and multi-sensory artistic experience to Vancouver that could simultaneously challenge, provoke, and inspire people in a way that traditional theatre could not. ‘Deep Into Darkness’ achieves just that,” says Miller.

After a year of development with a seasoned artistic team, the final product is an enchanting 150-minute, 15-character odyssey chronicling the elusive last moments of Poe’s life.

As he is stuck in a fever dream for his very survival, “Deep Into Darkness” follows the author’s descent into his own tortured mind in a desperate search for his love, Lenore. Each room of the theatre induces a darker dream from his past, while each experience – disguised as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – shows the raw emotions and thoughts from his classic writings like “The Raven and “A Tell-tale Heart”. Through it all, he must come to terms with his own life.

Deep Into Darkness Fraser Larock Photo: Danie Easton

As Doberstein explains, “We were drawn to Poe because the themes of his work and his life – like love, tragedy, loss, death – are universal and will resonate with modern-day audiences through a story that is texturally rich, timeless, and wholly mysterious.”

For audience members who are willing to follow their impulses and chase their own curiosity, the experience will find them fully immersed within a Victorian dream world and eager to return.

Producers remind that “Deep Into Darkness” is an immersive theatre show, the audience is advised to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to stand/walk for the duration of the show.

“Deep Into Darkness” runs from August 13th to 25th at The Cultch Theatre in Vancouver. for tickets and show details visit DeepIntoDarkness.com or TheCultch.com. The production is an 18+ performance with adult themes, nudity and violence.

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