; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: October 2016

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Suitcase Stories

On now at Pacific Theatre is a tremendous and inspiring performance by Maki Yi, in her one-woman show that she wrote and stars in - Suitcase Stories.

Yi spends an hour and 40 minutes non-stop, no intermission, on the stage transfixing the audience with her tale of immigrating to Canada from Korea. That is downright impressive. Her immigration story is full of frustration and bureaucracy, perhaps familiar to many people out there.

With a barebones stage, it's just Yi and her suitcase. But armed with a piece of chalk, Yi transforms the space into a world map. With the help of a simple streamer, she manages to convey a long bus ride through the forests of Ontario followed by the flat Prairies. 

It's a story about being torn between two worlds, not belonging in either, the loss of hope, and rediscovering faith. Everything is simple yet complicated but ultimately effective. Yi brims with energy, sadness, and childlike love for the theatre. Come get inspired and revel in the Korean melody that Yi serenades the audience with.

Suitcase Stories is on now at the Pacific Theatre until November 12.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Frankenstein, 1945

Are you in the mood for some live theatre to get you into the Halloween spirit? On now at Studio 1398 is Mily Mumford's Frankenstein, 1945 presented by Nebula Company Theatre.

Dripping in film noir, this take on the classic monster tale resettles in post-World War II Berlin, Germany. The creature Frankenstein is none other than a pet project done by a doctor who worked in the concentration camps doing experiments on humans.

It's a slick production with smoke machines, strobe lights, and black and white film projection. My big thing when it comes to plays are the number of scene changes, and there definitely are quite a bit in this, making the switch from one to another interrupting the flow of the play. It's disguised however with voiceovers and background music.

Frankenstein, 1945 is on now until October 30th at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Love, The Sea

I feel sorry for you. I also feel guilty. Why? Because you probably didn't get to go see Studio 58 and Risky Nights' production of Love, The Sea - An Underwater Play. And I would've told you about it sooner had I not gone on the very last day.

"Now in its 17th season, the Risky Nights Series is designed as a bridge between classroom work and main stage productions. At the conclusion of their second year of training, students have an invaluable opportunity to create every aspect of an original theatre piece from start to finish with a professional director, and perform it for an intimate audience."

Knowing that, it is even more amazing to have witnessed what Directors Tim Carlson and Daniel Doheny and the fourth term students of Studio 58 have created and delivered. Love, The Sea takes place beneath the water and it revolves around letters written by Virginia Woolf, who killed herself by walking into a river with stones in her pockets.

This experience immerses you into a magical and mystical world, held in a dark room and lit by lights adorning the actors (in diving helmets, glowing jellyfish and giant turtles, and glass bottle containing a white light, i.e. Woolf's soul). 

It was astounding and probably the coolest show I've seen all year. I wish it could have been on for longer than a week. I would've returned to see it again and again and brought everyone I know with me.

Dear Studio 58 and Risky Nights, please bring this back as soon as you can.
Love, Fun Fun Vancouver.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Angels In America: Part One - Millennium Approaches

I finally had the privilege to go see the much talked about Studio 58 production of Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. It was well worth the wait! It's a highly ambitious play to mount, in terms of the dialogue and the sets, but Studio 58 pulls everything off flawlessly.

The amazing set design by Drew Facey is stunningly original and effective, as the scenes change and flow, we are instantly carried away from a NewYork apartment into a mens' bathroom and then over to a hillside in Salt Lake City. It's simple, but it works extremely well.

Then there's the acting. Studio 58 continues to keep up their reputation as being one of the most talented powerhouse theatres in town. All the actors did a stupendous job but the one breakout performance of the night for me had to have been Julien Galipeau's portrayal of  Prior. He turns on a dime from campy to heartbreak. Just when you think the scene is going to be light and fluffy, Galipeau will deliver a line or a look that will sucker punch you right in the gut.

Tony Kushner's award-winning and iconic play is done justice here at Studio 58. Everything culminates into a cliffhanging reveal that is well worth the 3 hour journey it takes to get there.

You only have one last chance to go see this production, as it ends today with one final matinee performance! It's raining out, so why not go take in some top notch theatre?

Angels in America Part One : Millennium Approaches is on at Studio 58 at Langara College.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Vancouver Art/Book Fair

This weekend is the 5th annual Vancouver Art/Book Fair happening at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I missed out on this last year, but it sounds like a great event to attend, and it's Free! It promises books, magazines, zines, ephemera, talks, performances, and artists' projects!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Psycho at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

I'm so excited to go see Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho tonight at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra as they play the score live, as part of their VSO At The Movies series!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Concierge of Vancouver

With Vancouver's housing crisis on the front page these days, the world premiere of the play The Concierge of Vancouver couldn't be more timely. The story follows a quirky up and coming reporter trying to bring in the scoop on a big time bank scandal and a shady condo building in Vancouver. At the heart of the drama is a goofy concierge who also appears to be the mastermind behind a faux charity organization. 

At times predictable, I found that the show didn't live up to its promise of being a "satire about the housing market in Vancouver" but rather became a lesson in money laundering. Also, the use of Justin Timberlake's annoying song Can't Stop the Feeling didn't help me like the play any further. 

It is however, a refreshing take on what might be happening here in the Lower Mainland when it comes to the cost of living and housing prices. Rather than the usual racist chatter that gets bantered about so easily, this play offers up a different, though at times far-fetched, perspective on what perhaps is really behind Vancouver's hot real estate market. 

The Concierge of Vancouver is on until November 16th at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Comfort Cottages

Celebrating the 10 year anniversary of PAL Studios is the world premiere of the play Comfort Cottages!

This is a delightful story of four retired women who inherit a roadside motel, which turns out to be a psuedo-brothel in its heyday. The owner of the motel may now be gone, but her patrons are still stopping by, and it's up to these four ladies to set them straight! Or will these lonely truckers have more of an effect on them than they expect?

I'm usually quite leary about world premiere plays, because you are quite literally the guinea pig! And I've seen and read my share of plays to know which ones I like and which ones I find to be amateur. Comfort Cottages I am happy to report is one that does an excellent job of bringing a story to life without the use of gimmicks or endless multiple scene changes, and the ability to stage the play on a stationary set. Bravo, everyone!

In attendance were friends and family and media, but also William B. Davis of The X-Files fame, so if The Smoking Man supports this play, then why shouldn't you?! Plus, there's lots of talk about older actresses getting and creating work. Ryan Murphy loves to embrace legends like Jessica Lange, Angela Bassset, and Kathy Bates in his television shows, so it's nice to see that here in Vancouver, the landscape is also as embracing.

Comfort Cottages is charming and funny and may just inspire you to realize it's never too late to start something new. It runs at the PAL Studios now until Oct 23. Get your tickets online.