The Advance Theatre Festival returns to Burnaby’s Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. This February 5-9, Ruby Slippers Theatre, the Shadbolt and Playwrights Guild of Canada join forces to co-present five new staged readings written and directed by female identifying and gender non-conforming artists who also identify as IBPOC.
Curated by Tricia Trinh The Advance Theatre Festival welcomes the following readings:
Grandma, Gangsta, Guerilla by Abi Padilla
Monday, February 5, 7:30pm (running time 1 hr)
This ain’t a sob story about war crimes, dementia, or getting old. It’s a sprint down the memory lane of a butt-kickin’, bar-spittin’, tough grandma who escapes the care home to be with her family. When our favorite Filipino grandma, Lola Basyang, goes missing, it’s up to her grandchildren Nika and Jun-jun to bring her back to safety. Using Lola’s unfinished memoir, they find clues to her whereabouts, her full-of-beans origin story and the historical turmoil of their motherland. Reminiscent of their immigration stories, they reflect on what it means to maintain family ties in a Western society.
Evina’s Barrier by Aki Yaghoubi
Tuesday, February 6, 7:30pm (run time 1 hr.)
Even as a little girl, Evina dreamed of being an actor. But when performing Alma’s role in a production where Evina is the only actor with a speaking role, she freezes to complete silence. The show is canceled, and Evina quits acting forever. She recalls seeing her father in the audience, but he wasn’t even in the country. Who did she see? What sent her to complete silence? Will Evina come out of her barrier? Come find out.
A Captivating Woman by Natacha Chew
Wednesday, February 7, 7:30pm
(Content warning: Contains sexual content. gun violence)
A Captivating Woman is a one-woman meta-theatrical show revolving around Annalyn who we meet holding Steve, a convenience store clerk (and the audience), at gunpoint for a box of cereal. While the show begins with her robbing the corner store, it is revealed she is severely underprepared and frankly averse to going through with the task at hand. As she finds herself in a sticky situation of her own making, she tries to rationalize her actions. In a struggle between her need to perform a sympathetic character to the audience and her need for catharsis, she chronicles her “success” and the synchronous revelation that her life, like Theseus’ boat, may no longer be hers. What seems like a woman who has ‘snapped’ becomes the portrait of a woman’s undoing: starting over slowly and deliberately amid the rubble and fumbling her way back to the start.
Attachments by Tricia Trinh
Thursday, February 8, 7:30pm
Attachments follows six queer characters from immigrant/refugee families as they navigate an intersectional polyamorous relationship. It opens on the morning of Frankie’s thirtieth birthday as she learns her best friend is throwing her a surprise party. The guest list includes all of her partners and her partners’ partners. In exploration of Attachment Theory, the lovers are double cast as their partners’ parents to investigate how their first relationships with their parental figures bleeds into all of their future relationships. The play toys with dramaturgical form through two atypical dinner scenes that utilize simultaneous dialogue in English, Cantonese, Japanese, Spanish and Italian to explore the struggles and privileges between class, culture and gender.
Leila Roils the Seas by Lily Chang
Friday, February 9, 7:30pm
Leila Roils the Seas is a polyglot, seriocomic, magical realism family drama about the special bond and generational, socio-cultural clash between a Taiwanese-Canadian woman and her Taiwanese grandmother. Upon receiving news that her grandmother has fallen into a coma in Taiwan, Leila leaves her home in Canada to return to her birthplace, only to find that she alone can see and interact with P?pó’s consciousness outside her comatose body. When P?pó pressures Leila to help her spirit move on to the celestial realm of Pure Land Buddhism, Leila must suppress not only her non-belief in the afterlife and her grief over losing her beloved grandmother but also her anger at P?pó’s contradictions and history of violence.
Don’t miss the creative, dynamic, cutting-edge, thought-provoking, and inspiring Advance Theatre Festival taking place Monday February 5 to Friday February 9, 2024, at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby. Tickets for all readings are $15 General Admission in Studio 103 Recital Hall