Tag Archives: Tiva Quinn

Tiva Quinn Reviews My Name Is Sumiko Part Of This Year’s Fringe Festival

9 Sep

Sumiko-11x17 poster-VanFringeIn case you haven’t heard, the The Vancouver Fringe Festival kicked off another year on September 5th.  There’s a great line of experimental local theatre happening around town.  Our contributing writer, Tiva Quinn, went to check our My Name is Sumiko on now at What Lab, 1814 Pandora Street. Here’s what she had to say about this production:

“I came away from My Name is Sumiko feeling that I almost liked it more than I should have. Long story short, this is a promising performer whose best work is yet to come, but see her now anyway, that’s just the sort of thing the Fringe is for.

June Fukumura starts out doing a riff on Marie Kondo, with her clown character, Sumiko, calls her “role model.” Joking about whether or not things spark joy is kind of played out, and each of her bits within the riff gets repeated to the point where it’s not funny anymore. And yet, Fukumura brings so much charm, energy and over the top silliness to her performance as Sumiko that it kind of works. The memory of laughing when she tried to decide if a dildo sparks joy the first time kind of carries you through with good enough humour when she does it the 7th time.

All in all, Fukumura riffs on 3 topics, and the finale, a mashup of Indiana Jones, Titanic, Austin Powers and online dating woes was by far the best.

The promo material that talks about “dicing up stereotypes” might make you think this is going to be a woke, intellectual sort of clowning, but it’s mostly just silly and there’s nothing wrong with that. Turn off your brain, go and enjoy.”

For tickets to this, or any other Fringe show, visit Vancouver Fringe Festival.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

Tiva Quinn Reviews Children Of God On Now At The York Until March 10th

26 Feb

ChildrenOfGodI didn’t make it when Children of God was in Vancouver last year partly because the idea of making a musical about child abuse and cultural genocide seemed a bit implausible, I wasn’t sure it could really work. In fact, it works brilliantly. The script does a fantastic job of including some humour and even some redemption amidst the pain without shying away from the worst things that happened at residential schools.

If you haven’t seen Children of God yet, you should go. Yes, partly because every Canadian needs to understand the legacy of residential schools, but also because it’s an excellent script performed by top-notch double-threat actor/singers and, even when the subject matter gets dark, it’s a real treat to see them perform.

For anyone who has a personal relationship or strong reaction to this material, emotional support workers are available in the lobby throughout the show.

There’s a Q and A period with the performers after the show that’s worth sticking around for. The Q and A I attended had a lot of interesting questions and commentary from both indigenous and settler audience members, and the cast themselves were just as impressive speaking off the cuff as they were during the show. Children Of God is on now at The York Theatre until March 10, 2019.  Tickets available through The Cultch.

Note – during the Q&A I attended someone suggested that people refrain from drinking or at least from bringing alcohol into the theater, as many people in the audience have intergenerational trauma related to the smell of alcohol.

By Contributing Writer: Tiva Quinn

Tiva Quinn Reviews Testosterone On Now At The York Theatre

8 Oct

TestosteroneTestosterone is just delightful. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write, but in a way, it sums up the feeling of this play, which is full of intriguing surprises.

I went in expecting something a bit more thinky – something about where gender identity fits into a person’s overall sense of identity and how physical transition doesn’t necessarily resolve these questions. The first minute or two offers us a large mirror and a monologue by trans man Kit Redstone that certainly makes it seem like we’re headed that way. Then came the locker room dance scene set to “It’s Raining Men” and I kind of lost track of time.

But if I had to guess, I’d say that by just 10 minutes in it was clear that nothing about this show was going to be predictable, that the laughs would just keep coming, and that somehow, through it all, we weren’t really losing sight of those heavier themes. It’s just that we were going to play with them instead of wallowing in them.

Toxic masculinity is certainly part of what gets explored here, but I think it’s important to note that on the whole, this is a show that likes men: cis, trans, straight or gay, they all get to strut their stuff and show off their good side a bit.

And you should definitely stick around for the brief Q & A afterwards. These are 4 incredibly talented and likeable guys, so it’s a safe bet getting to know the men behind the performances will only increase that warm, fuzzy feeing that comes with a big-hearted show. You can catch Testosterone at The York Theater until October 13th. Tickets available through The Cultch.

By Contributing Writer: Tiva Quinn

Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn Checks Out rEvolver Festival On Until June 3rd

1 Jun

RevolverFestivalContributing writer, Tiva Quinn, checked out a few shows being featured as part of the rEvolver Festival. This festival featuring young contemporary artists is on now at The Cultch until June 3rd.  Get out and see for yourself what’s on. Visit The Cultch for tickets.

BUG 

Bug clearly shows that young Ojibwe artist Yolanda Bonnell is a performer and creator to watch. In this one-woman show about addictions, intergenerational trauma and the foster care system, Yolanda portrays a young woman growing up too fast and accepting abusive relationships into her life as a sign that she matters to someone. She also portrays the young woman’s mother, wrestling with her addictions and with questions about whether or not she deserved to have her child taken away by the government. And in a strange and powerful way, she also gives voice to the power of addiction and intergenerational trauma itself, manifesting as Manidoons – the Ojibwe word for bug or worm. The two human characters, mother and daughter, become stunningly real and complex in a short period of time – while the Manidoons are represented as a simple, genuinely creepy being who cares only about gaining more and more control over human lives.

PROBABILITY

Next I went to Probability, a show about two women who may or may not end up in love, and may or may not succeed in making a go of it if they do. Probability managed to be laugh out loud funny in  several places, while also digging into some pretty deep material about the things we want and the things we fear in intimate relationships. The improv game technique of having two actors represent the characters in the story while another two represent their inner monologues is used to excellent effect here – a lot of the ProbabilityPosterfunniest moments and also the most painful, heart-tugging moments come from the difference between what the characters say and what’s going on in their minds. It also means that we get to see the process in motion both when they try to protect themselves and when they try to reveal themselves. All four actresses do a terrific job here, and the set deserves honorable mention as well.

KITT & JANE

Last, I saw Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future which was also a mix of comedy and serious themes, but with a lot more emphasis on the comedy. Kitt and Jane depicts the antics of two 8th graders who take over their school assembly and decide to present about the coming eco-apocalypse instead of their assigned topic, the life cycle of the salmon. Like actual 8th graders, the actors are incredibly funny at several points along the way, but they also take their  obsessions a bit too far and wear on our nerves at times. The show’s creators cite Adventure Time, Big Mouth, and Gravity Falls as some of their influences and the show definitely is a lot like watching human cartoons. If you enjoy the humor in characters who never quite realize when they’ve gone too far, you might just love this show.

Photo Credit: Patricia Trinh

 

Tiva Quinn Reviews Map Of The Land, Map Of The Stars Part Of The 2018 Talking Stick Festival

22 Feb

TalkingStickFestivalMap of the Land, Map of the Stars by Gwaandak Theatre achieves the unusual feat of being very educational and raising provocative questions, while at the same time presenting a dreamlike quality as theatre, dance and projected images blend to present a variety of “story beads” about life in the Yukon over the centuries for indigenous people and the various other peoples who came to the country and interacted with them.

The stories don’t seem to be told in any particular order, and not all of them feel finished, but since they are interspersed with dance sequences my usual sense of how a narrative “should” work was suspended and I was able accept the stories for whatever information or evocative power they contained. It felt more than a little bit like piecing together the things that I know about my own family – some parts make more sense than others. Some parts carry a lot of emotional weight even though it also feels like the story is incomplete or contradictory, and some parts are neat little stories that come with a moral or a punchline.

The material is heavy, light, and everything in between. The dance is in many different styles but always interesting. Highly recommended.

Map of the Land, Map of the Stars is part of the 2018 Talking Stick Festival, which runs through Saturday, February 24th. More information about this event and other festival events is available at fullcircle.ca.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn Reviews Black Boys On Now Until January 20th

18 Jan

BlackBoysThe Cultch, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Saga Collectif and Zee Zee Theatre bring you an inspiring production, Black Boys. Tiva Quinn checked out opening night of this stand out show.  Here is what she had to say:

Black Boys is right up there at the pinnacle of what alternative theatre can do. It includes complex ideas, raw emotion, music, dance and poetry, and it feels like a story that could only be so excellently told using a non-linear, multi-media approach.

It’s about what it means to be a black gay man in Canada and what it means to make theatre about that experience in a world where you’re already painfully aware of how the straight white majorities see you.

It’s about the furthest our words can go to wound or heal one another, and the ways we use screaming or dance or sex to express ourselves when words are not enough. It’s about how we define ourselves both through stories about our past and in acts of judgment and opposition towards the people in our own communities.

It’s just really, really good. I laughed, I cried, I yelled, “Stellaaaa” with a  bunch of strangers. You should go see it if it’s not sold out yet. To get your tickets, visit The Cultch.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

 

Review Of How Star Wars Saved My Life

12 Dec

StarWarsContributing writer, Tiva Quinn, steps outside of East Van to review an important production that just completed a short run at Performance Works on Granville Island. Although it’s completed, we wish to feature it as it provides valuable information and insight for survivors of sexual abuse.

How Star Wars Saved My Life is intended first and foremost as a cathartic experience for sexual abuse survivors and an awareness-raising piece, but it also succeeds brilliantly as an entertaining one man show. Writer/Performer Nicholas Harrison is a theatre instructor at Capilano College with a lengthy and distinguished history as an actor, writer, director, fight director and stunt performer, so it’s hardly surprising that he knows how to take deeply emotional material and make a good story from it.

The most noticeable thing about all this talent is that when Nick chooses to perform as his younger self, he sells it completely – he takes us through highs and lows of his young life with the full level of joy, fascination, shock and terror that children experience. And when he becomes more withdrawn as he gets older, he makes us feel the reality of being withdrawn and keeping secrets, as well – no small task.

The set was also a very effective piece of this performance, with a minimalist design that works brilliantly for a story where the past and the present are the two most important locations.

The play is often funny, but it’s also quite serious about the work it’s here to do. Each performance is followed by a 15-minute talkback with Don Wright, of the Vancouver Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Noa Rabin of Jericho Counseling, Nick’s therapist. Nick has given Noa permission to share information about their therapy sessions in response to audience questions so that people can learn more about what types of issues come up in therapy for sexual abuse.

In keeping with the spirit of the production to share information and resources with anyone who might need them, I would encourage any survivors who might be interested in this topic to check out Nick’s blog, which covers a lot of the same material. Another organization that provides assistance is the local chapter of Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse who also provide services to trans survivors.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

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