; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: May 2009

Friday, 22 May 2009

Palace of the End

I'm 2 for 2 so far! That is, 2 good plays one after the other this week! As well, this play, Palace of The End, was the second play I've seen at the PAL Theatre located on the top floor of an apartment building in Coal Harbour. And like the other production I saw at PAL, this too was excellent, so I'm 2 for 2 on that as well!

Palace of The End is a heavy piece, made up of 3 distinct monologues based on the true life stories of 3 people. The first one was my favourite - the female soldier who was photographed making fun of Iraqui prisoners. The actress who played her did a PHENOMENAL job! Her part was engaging, interesting, well-written, humorous, sad, moving, and downright amazing.

The second monologue belonged to a British weapons instructor, who was the one to reveal to the world that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction to be found. His bit was somewhat boring, mainly because he didn't get to move around much on stage and there weren't enough points of humour to keep the audience going. With three heavy monologues to sit through, I needed a bit more variation within each of them to keep me interested. I couldn't wait for his part to be over.

Finally, the third monologue was just as good as the 1st one, that being an Iraqui woman who was tortured by Saddam Hussein during the 70s for being a Communist, and then later killed during the war when an American bomb blew up her home. Her performance was elegant, precise, poised, sweet, sad, startling, and methodic.

Definitely worth seeing, so go check it out! I was fortunate enough to go to the Free Preview last night. Free theatre, with this calibre? You really can't go wrong. Palace of The End runs until June 6, and there is a 2 For 1 showing on Saturday night (tomorrow)!

Fat Pig

Neil Labute's Fat Pig is currently playing at the Performance Works theatre on Granville Island. If you're familliar with his stuff, you'll know that it's usually pretty dark and uncomfortable.

Fat Pig is the tale of Tom, a young man who dates Helen, a heavy set woman, only to be made fun of by his peers and pressured into leaving her. It's an exploration of society's views on physical beauty, love vs popular opinion, and standing up for oneself, or at least, the struggle to do so.

I wanted to see this off-Broadway in New York a few years ago, when Felicity's Keri Russell was in it, alongside Jeremy Piven and Andrew McCarthy. I didn't know the woman who played Helen, though, and the show was only just beginning as I was leaving. So I'm glad I was able to see this local production of it!

The performances of all the actors were great, considering the set was pretty stark and the direction had the actors either sitting down at a table or even down on the ground. I've always been told that a good director never makes his/her cast sit on stage, as it depletes the energy. But that just shows how remarkable these four actors were, being able to convey emotion and give great performances from their respective disadvantage points.

Fat Pig plays until May 30th, with cheaper matinee showings, or if you prefer, like me, attend a 2 For 1 show - the next 2 For 1 is Tuesday, May 26.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

John and Beatrice

Friday night I went to see Pi Theatre's production of John and Beatrice, which is a dynamic and fun play about a lonely woman who places an ad for man to come over to interest, move, and seduce her. John shows up to take on these three challenges. Can he do it? But what exactly will his reward be?

Held in the unique location of PAL Theatre down in Coal Harbour, one walks into an apartment building (what else is there in Coal Harbour?) and journeys on up in the elevator to the top floor, where you will find waiting for you a theatre! Talk about your theatre in the sky!

I loved this experience, from the location to the play itself. Definitely a must-see if you're a theatre buff in Vancouver!