Tag Archives: Theatre

The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius On Now At The Cultch

27 Nov

TheSocietyThe Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius might give you a lot to talk about the next day, but from chatting to a few audience members afterwards, I’d say we were all pretty much speechless as our initial reaction.

Colleen Murphy’s version is very much faithful to the plot of Shakespeare’s first tragedy, though, which includes parents murdering their children, rape, mutilation, crucifixion, and cannibalism. Oh, and some jokes about race, while Murphy adds in a few jokes of her own about class to make sure the play touches every third rail.

I was shocked to learn that ‘revenge tragedy’ bloodbaths were extremely popular with Elizabethan audiences for about 10 seconds, before I remembered that ‘torture porn’ is a popular category today. (Not to mention ‘woman in peril,’ which is wildly popular.)

Fans of Mump and Smoot might enjoy the similar style with people who act on every impulse and live-action cartoon violence, but this play digs into thornier issues. There are some big laughs, and the play is so funny in places that I found myself laughing again even after I thought they had gotten too offensive and lost me.

I respect what Murphy is trying to do here too much to go into detail and spoil the shock value of it, even if I don’t quite know what it is that she’s trying to do. Maybe gesturing towards some sort of point without quite having one is part of how she’s mocking us – but in any case I respect a play that’s worth still rolling around in your mind and trying to decide what to think of it for the next couple days.  The Society for the Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius is on now at The Cultch until December 3rd.

By Contributing Writer: Tiva Quinn

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The Shipment At The Cultch November 22 – December 2, 2017

22 Nov

TheShipmentTheCultch.jpgSpeakEasy Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of a provocative play written by Young Jean Lee called The Shipment. The Shipment is a subversive modern show about black identity meant to wake the world to the ridiculous narratives which are dominant in the media. The cast features five black actors who play a roster of characters that read a bit like a bad b-list of black iconography: the Video Ho, Crackhead John, Bad Cop, Standup Comedian, Drug Dealer Mama, Grandma from Heaven, and Record Company Executive, to name just a few. This mash-up of  stereotypes with clichés, distortions and we hear brilliant sleights of hand are all aimed to force us to go beyond the lampoon and shift the lens through which we perceive race in order to confront our own bias.  The New York Times says this show is “An insightful piece about black identity politics that is daring, provocative, and very, very funny.” The Shipment previews November 22nd and runs to December 2nd. Tickets are available online from The Cultch

Ronnie Burkett Returns To The Cultch December 5th With The Little Dickens

7 Nov

LittleDickensThe ever popular Ronnie Burkett brings the Daisy Theatre back to The Cultch for his production The Little Dickens December 5 to 22, 2017. If you don’t know about the Daisy Theatre, you are missing a laugh your ass off good time. This is an adult puppet show performed By Ronnie Burkett.  If you think you might not be interested in seeing puppets, think again. The Daisy Theatre is unlike anything you have ever seen. Ronnie Burkett, puppeteer provocateur and his company of over 40 marionettes, will not only entertain you, but will be sure to have you riding a wave of emotion as he brings his puppets to life. The energy he brings to his puppetry is rather awe inspiring and how he seamlessly transitions between all the characters. In his new production The Little Dickens, the cast of The Daisy Theatre take on the beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, in the merriest marionette mash-up ever. Faded Daisy diva, Esmé Massengill, plays the role of miserly, drunken, bitter Esmé Scrooge, in this Burkett-esque retelling of the Dickens classic. As always with an improvised Daisy show, there is no set script, and in the journey of Esmé Scrooge toward redemption, she encounters all the Daisy favourites portraying Dickens’ familiar characters. In keeping with the vaudeville show theme of The Daisy Theatre, popular Christmas songs will feature in a burlesque opening and sultry jazz solos.  Ronnie Burkett brings a sharp wit to his characters when he needs to, but he can be as soft as kitten when playing the character Schnitzel who usually begins and finishes his show. Each performance is different, daring and ridiculous.  The Georgia Straight has previously called it “one of the best shows you’ll ever see”.  Tickets start at $22 and are available online at The Cultch.  Note, due to the mature content this is a 19+ show.

What people are saying about Ronnie Burkett:

“Ronnie Burkett’s creations are remarkable feats of both manipulation and imagination” — The Guardian (UK)

 “One of the geniuses of the world…seeing his troupe every few years has just become a necessity of civilized theatre going”
— The Village Voice (NY)

Review Of Girls Like That On Now Until November 10, 2017

6 Nov

 

 

Shameless Hussy Productions tackles modern day girl on girl crime in Girls Like That at Templeton Secondary School. The 10-person cast, entirely made up of teenage girls (many of whom are Templeton students), impress the audience with their ability to grapple with the intense subject matter which frankly, many adults struggle with. No doubt, this is in part due to the school’s “Girls in Leadership” club.

“Slut, skank, scuzz – you deserve everything coming to you.”

The play follows a tightly knit group of girls from childhood through high school, jumping back and forth in time and showcasing the judging and shaming that takes place at every age of a girl’s life. However, in the same vein as the 2004 film Mean Girls, the play turns your attention not to the way women are oppressed by men, but to the crimes girls commit against each other.

The main storyline is interwoven with explosive musical ensembles and monologues from women of different generations throughout. The cast dances in sync to songs heavy in their message of girl power like Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)” and Little Mix’s “Wings,” drawing a stark contrast with the way the girls gang up on and slut-shame their “friend” in the story. Moreover, the comedic monologues from a flapper girl, a World War II air pilot, a hippie and a Melanie Griffith-style working girl serve to demonstrate the adversity women have faced through the ages and the way women have had to stick together to overcome oppression. This again points a disappointed finger at the way girls treat each other in the present.

The play’s main objective is clear, to blatantly show the way sexism and misogyny are indoctrinated by the girls themselves and how this is all aided by modern technology. It’s not that bullying has never existed and girls have never been mean to each other, but the game has changed. It is so easy to anonymously harass someone from behind a screen or to like and share gossip with the tap of a button. What’s easier is to blindly accept discourse like “she was asking for it” and “boys will be boys.” It’s hard to challenge authority, to go against the mob, but these young women, mature beyond their years, display the dramatic consequences of not doing so.

For tickets to this impressive and important production at Templeton Secondary School on now until November 10th visit Eventbrite.

Review by Contributing Writer: Nicole Alivojvodic

Photos Credit: Tim Matheson

East Van Panto – Snow White & The Seven Dwarves At The York Theatre

30 Oct

SnowWhiteEastVanPantoWe were going to wait until after Halloween to tell you about this upcoming holiday tradition, but we just can’t wait. The East Van Panto is a favourite event we look forward to every year and this show never ceases to disappoint. Celebrating its 5th year, the East Van Panto is back with an outrageous take on Snow White. In this East Van tale, our hero flees the Queen of North Vancouver across the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and lands straight into the madness of the PNE, where she dances with SuperDogs, hops a ride on the Wooden Roller Coaster, and befriends washed-up ‘80s rock stars “The Seven Dwarves”. Pure Panto hilarity ensues as they do everything they can to escape the Queen’s wicked clutches.

It is really hard to believe that we are doing the East Van Panto for a fifth year!”, says The Cultch’s Executive Director, Heather Redfern. “So many people tell me that it’s a holiday tradition for their family and friends, and that just warms my heart because the Panto is all about celebrating local artists, local places, and local families. This year, we are presenting Snow White & the Seven Dwarves – who just happen to have landed at the PNE! I mean what could be more fun to sing and dance about than that?! The East Van Panto is for everybody and it’s made here especially for us.”

There is amazing cast of talent behind this production.  The East Van Panto is open to all ages 5 and up. Tickets start at $22, family packs are available which include 4 tickets for $135.  Note, all seats for ages 18 and under are $22.  Tickets are available at The Cultch either in person, by phone or online. The shows previews November 29th and November 30th and continues until January 6, 2018. For those looking for a matinee, there are many 2:00 pm shows. For more information on tickets, visit The Cultch. See you there!

Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

Girls Like That At Templeton Secondary School November 2-10, 2017

17 Oct

Flash. Click. Buzz. “Did you get the picture?”

“Slut, skank, scuzz – you deserve everything coming to you”

Do you have a daughter,  niece or granddaughter? Even if you don’t, you need to see this production.  The writer grew up in a time before social media and honestly, I am grateful for it every day. To have every move of your life documented in print and/or photo which includes every mistake or poor judgment for all to see is honestly unfathomable.  Who of us has not made a mistake, misjudged someone, trusted the wrong person? I doubt there’s one of you that haven’t crossed a line that you wished you hadn’t, even if there weren’t major repercussions from your decisions. You realize later, possibly years later, whew I was lucky there. The hope is we learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, but now every mistake can be glorified, vilified and go viral without your knowledge or consent.  That’s why we think the upcoming production of Girls Like That is a must see.  The show coming to Templeton Secondary School from November 2nd to the 10th is a collaboration between Shameless Hussy Productions, Theatre Temp’s Dream Big Productions and Girls in Leadership Club. It features a cast of 10 teenage performers. The characters are familiar and relatable and the scenes are intercut with short, comedic monologues from women of different eras such as a flapper girl, an air pilot, a hippie, a Melanie Griffith-style working girl, basically women who broke convention, championing over oppression with style and sass. These women represent generations of oppression by the opposite sex as well as the wider society, and ultimately contrasted by the current generation of girls, selling itself short and oppressing themselves through slut-shaming and bitterness.

The production showcases 5 explosive musical ensemble numbers aGirlsLikeThatSMIconsnd tackles a contemporary subject in a theatrically exciting way, exploring gender equality, self-image, friendship, and the pressures on today’s digital generation. The play is written by award-winning Canadian-British playwright Evan Placey and one that will be on our definite list to see.  Growing up a girl has always been frought with challenges, but smartphones and the electronic age have brought a whole new meaning to Girls Like That. To purchase tickets in advance, visit Eventbrite, or you can purchase tickets at the door.

 

Encounter Comes To The York Theatre October 17 – 22, 2017

10 Oct

EncounterChristopherJosephThe best in physical theatre comes to the Cultch in conjunction with Diwali. Encounter is a story about an Indigenous woman, Dopdi, and her communities’ struggle to uphold the Indigenous life and her defiance against injustice. Created for the stage by Aparna Sindhoor, S M Raju, and Anil Natyaveda, Encounter is a tribute to the Indigenous people’s history. It is a passionate story of female power that delves into the struggles and challenges of the indigenous communities of India. Aparna Sindhoor, co-writer of Encounter says “The word ‘Encounter’ has a specific meaning in the Indian (South Asian) context. It is a euphemism for the state orchestrated ‘chance meetings,’ to get rid of (kill, or torture and kill) the so-called enemies of the state.” The performance features acrobatics and original music which pays tribute to Indigenous peoples’ history from around the world. The show runs October 17 – 22, 2017 at the York Theatre. Tickets are available at The Cultch.

Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn reviews Encounter:

Encounter is a dance-play that is political, sensual, humorous and informative. There’s a bit of every possible emotion along the way, but, ultimately, it’s also a story about an enormous tragedy.

The dancers portray members of an indigenous group in India who find that their land is being taken for mining, while their water is being diverted for factories. In order to survive at all, they have no choice but to “steal” water from the wells of a wealthy landowner nearby, and so the military is called to put a stop to this crime.

The dancers also portray members of the military who have been sent to break up the “rebellion.” At one point, they tell us stories about why they joined the armed forces, and most of the stories are relatable – one needs to feed his family, one is saving to send her daughter to college, and of course one is in love with his gun, but there’s no distinction among them when their leader asks them to do “the needful” and try to get information from a prisoner.

In the South Asian context, “encounter” refers to times when the army captures suspected rebels and tortures or kills them. The story opens and closes on a scene of one such torture, and yes, it’s told through dance. The troupe are all very talented and they create some visually arresting tableaus out of these scenes. And in a world where a show like 24 asks us to identify with the torturer, why shouldn’t we have art that asks us to identify with both the torturer and those who are tortured?

If you’re looking for a note of hope, a sense of closure, or a call to action that makes you feel like you can make a difference, there isn’t one. It wouldn’t be especially true to the reality of the situation if there was.

Do I recommend seeing it, though? Yes.

Photo Credit: Christopher Joseph

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