Joshua Beamish brings @giselle to Vancouver

Coming to the Vancouver Playhouse September 5-7, @giselle is a technology-driven, contemporary reimagining of the beloved classic ballet, presented by Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY. 

@giselle : Catherine Hurlin in @giselle. photo: Craig Foster.

Born out of Reimagining Giselle, a shorter work commissioned by The Royal Ballet in London, UK, this full-length narrative work is brought to life by ballet superstars from American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of Canada, and Pennsylvania Ballet. Directed and choreographed by Vancouverite and company founder Joshua Beamishthis innovative production will explore the connections and parallels between the original classical ballet and our understandings of love, sex, and relationships in a world mediated by dating apps, digital illusions, and fleeting encounters.

“I am deeply honoured to bring together such a stellar group of dance artists from across North America to collaborate on such a timely production,” says Beamish. “@giselle is a careful examination of the evaporation of true romance in our culture. Utilizing cutting-edge motion capture technologies and screen projections of social media ephemera, this full-length work will challenge audiences to consider the ways that technology has leveraged an unexpected change upon the very nature of modern love and relationships, which now seem fueled by a disdain for accountability and an increase in personal narcissism.”

The original version of Giselle, which premiered in 1841 — by what is now known as the Paris Opera Ballet, is based on a German legend, and follows a young peasant girl’s journey through the many dimensions of love, betrayal, and heartbreak.  @giselle updates the narrative to present day by telling the story of a character named Giselle who is betrayed, isolated, and ghosted by her romantic partner on social media.

@giselle featuring Catherine Hurlin Photo: Craig Foster.

Beamish’s work highlights the ways that social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook have profoundly changed the ways we meet, fall in and out of love. @giselle is a new vision of a classic tale that also touches on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

Beamish has assembled a cast of some of the finest ballet artists from across Canada and the United States.  The all-star ensemble brings together talent from American Ballet Theatre, The National Ballet of Canada, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet Edmonton, the Alberta Ballet Trainee Program and graduates from varied local dance training institutions such as Arts Umbrella, Richmond Academy, Pro Arte, Tri-city Dance, and SFU. 

See how Joshua Beamish blends classic ballet with new media and technology for yourself as @giselle opens at Vancouver Playhouse, September 5, 6 and 7, 2019. Showtime is 7:30pm each night, pre-show talks by Beamish and guests take place from 6:30 – 7pm prior to each performance. Find tickets and more information visit joshuabeamish.com 

The Full Light Of Day is coming

Even though we’re still in the peak of the holiday entertainment season, we’re taking a look ahead at what’s to come in the new year. Coming in January, Electric Company Theatre, in association with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, presents the world premiere of a provocative new work, The Full Light of Day, at the Vancouver Playhouse.

The Full Light Of Day
photo: Don Lee

The new work from Siminovitch prize-winning playwright Daniel Brooks, is directed by Kim Collier. The Full Light of Day is a suspenseful and compelling hybrid of theatre and film in which a terminally ill woman confronts the choices that brought her family privilege; and then, takes a risk to secure their ultimate redemption. Utilizing 14 live-streaming cameras, state-of-the-art projections and film, The Full Light of Day immerses audiences in rich cinematic cityscapes, intimate inner lives, and invites them to reimagine the limitations of live theatre.

“Other than the weather, real estate may well be our country’s most frequently discussed topic. In this work, we dive deeper – and consider the consequences of a society grown obsessed with property and possession,” says Director Kim Collier, who, like playwright Brooks, is also a winner of theatre’s highest honour, the Siminovitch Prize. “Consequently, it raises questions about the very nature of land ownership. How can we own land? Land owns us. It is us. Paradoxically, by using live-streaming cameras and an enormous array of projection technologies, audiences will be able to feel an innately rich and intimate connection to our characters’ inner lives and truly experience that pang of self-recognition in the stories reflected onstage.”

The Full Light Of Day
photo: Don Lee

Complementing the stage production, Electric Company Theatre Co-Founder Kevin Kerr has created a collection of short films shot in 360° Virtual Reality. The works can be viewed separately from the theatre production or experienced at special installations located throughout the Vancouver Playhouse lobby. These films are told from the perspectives of individual characters, placing the viewer inside their actions and perceptions. The films will be available to the public for free viewing in the Playhouse lobby during the afternoons prior to performances of The Full Light of Day.

The Full Light of Day runs January 7 – 12, 2019 at The Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street. For showtimes and tickets visit electriccompanytheatre.com

DanceHouse opens with Borderline

Borderline: Kompanie Wang Ramirez
photo: Frank Szafinski

DanceHouse is launching their 2018/19 season with the Canadian premiere of France’s Company Wang Ramirez work, Borderline, playing October 26 and 27, 2018 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. 

Performed to layered rhythms and spoken word by percussionist, composer LACRYMOBOY (Jean-Philippe Barrios), along with choreographic duo Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang combining hip hop and contemporary dance with the movement of martial arts in exploration of democracy, immigration, manipulation, and the place of individuals in society.

“Coinciding with escalating nationalist rhetoric and contentious debates on immigration worldwide, Borderline’s open-ended examination of diasporic identity is more relevant than ever,” says Jim Smith, Artistic and Executive Director of DanceHouse. “As Canada is largely a country of immigrants, local audiences will resonate with the work’s illumination of the beauty and the challenges inherent in embodying more than one culture — honouring multiple traditions and languages, while forging a new blended identity of one’s own. Company Wang Ramirez has created a theatrical experience that will linger long after the curtain falls, and stimulate essential discourse about the future of democracy.”

Dancehouse Borderline
photo: Agethe Poupeney

Choreographed in 2013, Borderline consists of several thoughts, ideas, and moments that question the meaning of democracy. Wang and Ramirez are joined on stage by fellow dancers Louis Becker, Johanna Faye, and Saïdo Lehlouh, along with aerial rigger Alister Mazzotti. The five dancers, attached to cables perform a series of 11 intimate vignettes, with the rigger acting in concert with and against the dancers.

DanceHouse presents Company Wang Ramirez: Borderline, October 26 & 27, 2018 at 8pm, at the Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street. A pre-show talk with Borderline artists takes place at 7:15 each evening.

For tickets and further information about Borderline, visit dancehouse.ca

 

VQFF Opening Gala coming August 9th

The 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) kicks off on Thursday August 9th with a 7:00pm screening of Yen Tan’s critically-observed period piece, 1985, at the Vancouver Playhouse.

1985
photo: dutch rall

Director Tan’s fifth feature black & white film, 1985 follows Adrian, a closeted young man returning to his Texas hometown for Christmas during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Burdened with an unspeakable tragedy in New York, Adrian reconnects with his brother and estranged childhood friend, as he struggles to divulge his dire circumstances to his religious parents. Under Tan’s emotional and poignant direction, 1985’s characters bring tension and a strained tenderness into every scene, creating a haunting elegy for a generation of gay men. 1985 stars Cory Michael Smith (Gotham), Michael Chiklis (The Commish), Virginia Madsen (Designated Survivor), Jamie Chung (The Gifted). Director Yen Tan will be in attendance, at the VQFF Opening Gala to introduce his film, as well as at the repeat screening August 10.

Following the opening screening the Festival really gets going with the Opening Gala Party, taking place under the stars at the šx???ex?n Xwtl’a7shn Plaza (QET Plaza). Attendees are encouraged to dress in black and white finery as an homage to Yen Tan’s stylistic choice for 1985, and will be treated to performances by contortionist Vixen Von Flex and dance troupe Coven, with beats from East Van DJs Body Party.

VQFF, Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada runs August 9-19 at various venues throughout the city.  More than 70 films from 15 countries are featured at this year’s 30th anniversary Festival, along with 11 visiting filmmakers including guests from India, Philippines, United States, as well as numerous local directors and performing artists, in addition to parties and talkback sessions. The Vancouver Queer Film Festival is presented by Out On Screen, for more information and tickets visit queerfilmfestival.ca

Broadway Across Canada – Mary Poppins

20120717-233908.jpgChim Chim Cheree! Everyone’s favourite nanny stops by Vancouver this week, no not Supernanny but Mary Poppins. Broadway Across Canada‘s touring production of Disney’s Mary Poppins opened tonight and plays until Sunday July 22nd at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Adapted from the family favourite 1964 Disney movie, Mary Poppins features the same familiar score by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, including “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Step In Time” plus new numbers, written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, specifically for the stage musical.
The movie and musical are based on the like-titled series of children’s books by P.L. Travers which tell the story of the Banks family who needs a new nanny for their children, Jane and Michael. When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears at their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to their problems, but in ways they’ve never imagined.
The touring show stars Rachel Wallace as Mary Poppins, Case Dillard as Bert, played on opening night by understudy Con O’Shea-Creal, Michael Dean Morgan as Mr. Banks and Elizabeth Broadhurst as Mrs. Banks. The real star of the show is the set, it was an amazingly creative way to show the whole Banks house, from basement to rooftops, opening up like a storybook to reveal the interior. The nearby park was a magical place that allowed the cast and audience to be swept away in the classic songs and story. For some numbers the large company filled the stage creating a much grander scale than the Queen E stage would appear to allow.
The entire company was very good vocally and the sound was well done, no opening night glitches except for some missed light cues. The addition of the new songs and changes to the story, kept the musical running smooth and flowing while simplifying some of the heavy special effect numbers from the movie. The changes also make the story new and keep it fresh for everyone, overall it’s a fun, nostalgic trip to Victorian London and our childhood memories of the original Super-calafragalisticexpialadoshus Nanny.
Mary Poppins runs until July 22nd at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, visit Broadway Across Canada for tickets.