The fun in dys­func­tion takes to the stage THE­ATRE

The Georgia Straight - - FALL ARTS PREVIEW -

CRIT­ICS’ PICKS

This fall’s the­atre of­fer­ings tackle 2

both pri­vate and pub­lic dys­func­tion, his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary, but as the hol­i­days draw nearer, we’ll see shows that flat-out flip the fin­ger at se­ri­ous­ness. The nine shows listed be­low re­flect a wel­come con­tin­u­a­tion of the in­creased di­ver­sity we saw on Van­cou­ver’s stages last sea­son, along with some changes in lead­er­ship: it’s Bill Millerd’s last sea­son at the Arts Club and Roy Surette’s re­turn to Touch­stone The­atre.

Heather Red­fern has pro­grammed an­other ex­cep­tional sea­son for the Cultch’s three stages; my list ends in De­cem­ber, but watch for Hot Brown Honey and Black Boys there in Jan­uary. And watch for an an­nounce­ment later this fall of the Push In­ter­na­tional Per­form­ing Arts Fes­ti­val’s pro­gram­ming (Jan­uary 16 to Fe­bru­ary 4).

1 HOUR PHOTO (At the Cultch’s His­toric The­atre from Oc­to­ber 3 to 15) Writer-per­former Tet­suro Shige­matsu ex­plored his re­la­tion­ship with his fa­ther in the crit­i­cally lauded Em­pire of the Son. Now he turns to a friend’s fa­ther, Mas Ya­mamoto, whose life has in­ter­sected with ma­jor cur­rents of 20th­cen­tury politics, from the Ja­panese in­tern­ment camps of the Sec­ond World War to the Cold War. The Draw: His­tory, both shame­ful (it’s been 75 years since Ja­panese Cana­di­ans were in­terned dur­ing the Sec­ond World War) and tri­umphant (Shige­matsu’s pre­vi­ous show was a huge hit). Tar­get Au­di­ence: Peo­ple smart enough to ap­pre­ci­ate their par­ents’ sto­ries.

HYPERLINK (At the Fire­hall Arts Cen­tre from Oc­to­ber 4 to 14) The El­bow The­atre pre­mieres a new work that ex­am­ines how com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy is dis­rupt­ing our abil­ity to con­nect in real time and space. With ev­ery­one we know and love al­ways at our fin­ger­tips, why are we still lonely? The Draw: The team. Writer­per­form­ers TJ Dawe and Itai Erdal have both toured the world with crit­i­cally ac­claimed mono­logues, and Rachel Peake has emerged in re­cent years as a smart and stylish di­rec­tor. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Are you read­ing this on a screen? You’re it.

THANKS FOR GIV­ING (At the Arts Club Granville Is­land Stage from Oc­to­ber 5 to Novem­ber 4) The lat­est in the Arts Club’s Sil­ver Com­mis­sions sees Kevin Lor­ing di­rect­ing a mostly Indige­nous cast, in­clud­ing Margo Kane as the ma­tri­arch of a fam­ily whose se­crets spell trou­ble at a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner that goes off the rails. The Draw: The play­wright. Lor­ing’s de­but, Where the Blood Mixes, was a gor­geous char­ac­ter study that won the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award for drama, and he was re­cently se­lected as the in­au­gu­ral artis­tic di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre’s new Indige­nous The­atre. Tar­get Au­di­ence: This can be your ex­cuse for skip­ping that fam­ily din­ner.

HAPPY PLACE (At the Fire­hall Arts Cen­tre from Oc­to­ber 20 to 29) Roy Surette re­turns to the helm of Touch­stone The­atre to di­rect this co­pro­duc­tion (with Ruby Slip­pers and the Di­wali Fes­ti­val) of a play by Pamela Mala Sinha that was well-re­ceived in its 2015 Toronto pre­miere. The play, set in an in­pa­tient care fa­cil­ity, fo­cuses on a group of women re­cov­er­ing from trauma. The Draw: The pow­er­house all-fe­male cast—diane Brown, Ni­cola Cavendish, Sere­ana Malani, Adele Noronha, Laara Sadiq, Colleen Wheeler, and Donna Ya­mamoto—who col­lec­tively have earned more than 50 Jessie nom­i­na­tions and awards. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Th­ese women don’t just have a lot of awards; they have a lot of fans—and if you’re not one yet, you will be.

THE RIDICU­LOUS DARK­NESS (At the Or­pheum An­nex from Novem­ber 11 to 19) Al­ley The­atre teams up with Ne­world The­atre, The­atre Ter­rific, and a host of com­mu­nity part­ners to present the North Amer­i­can pre­miere of Ger­man play­wright Wol­fram Lotz’s award-win­ning satir­i­cal fu­sion of Heart of Dark­ness and Apoc­a­lypse Now. The Draw: A cast that em­bod­ies di­ver­sity in race and abil­ity, plus taiko drum­mers, pow­wow dancers, a march­ing band, street ven­dors, and a chil­dren’s choir. This is not your av­er­age night at the the­atre. Tar­get Au­di­ence: You want big? You want lively? You want hope in th­ese dark times? Here you go.

SATEL­LITES (At Per­for­mance Works from Novem­ber 17 to 26) Aaron Bushkowsky’s lat­est play, a dark com­edy in­spired by Caro­line Ad­der­son’s book Van­cou­ver Van­ishes, ze­roes in on our city’s hous­ing cri­sis and fea­tures an ac­tivist au­thor, a cor­rupt city staffer, a satel­lite kid, and, of course, re­al­tors. This Solo Col­lec­tive The­atre pro­duc­tion boasts a strong cast of new­com­ers and vet­er­ans of the lo­cal scene. The Draw: Rel­e­vance. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Aspir­ing home­own­ers con­signed to the dis­tant sub­urbs. (See also this news­pa­per’s Renters of Van­cou­ver fea­ture.) ONE­GIN (At the Arts Club Granville Is­land Stage from Novem­ber 23 to De­cem­ber 31) When Amiel Glad­stone and Veda Hille’s re­tool­ing of Alexan­der Pushkin and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky pre­miered a year-anda-half ago, pa­trons flocked to this un­abashed cel­e­bra­tion of lyubov (“love” in Rus­sian), with many re­turn­ing a sec­ond or third time, or re­liv­ing the magic thanks to the orig­i­nal-cast record­ing of Hille’s supremely ro­man­tic songs. The Draw: The mu­sic! And the show’s proven ex­cel­lence. The re­views of the orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion were uni­formly rap­tur­ous, and the cre­ators lugged home most of the hard­ware at the 2016 Jessie Awards. Tar­get Au­di­ence: If you missed out on tick­ets last time, hurry up and book!

EAST VAN PANTO: SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES

(At the York The­atre from Novem­ber 29 to Jan­uary 6) In this fourth in­stall­ment of Van­cou­ver’s hippest hol­i­day tra­di­tion, brought to you by The­atre Re­place­ment, the seven dwarves are a washed-up ’80s band play­ing at the PNE. Can’t wait to hear what songs mu­sic di­rec­tor Veda Hille puts in their set list. The Draw: Mak­ing fun of East Van­cou­ver stereo­types, even if you are one. Tar­get Au­di­ence: Fans of un­abashed ab­sur­dity. And their kids.

LIT­TLE DICK­ENS: THE DAISY THE­ATRE

(At the Cultch’s His­toric The­atre from De­cem­ber 5 to 22) Ron­nie Bur­kett’s Daisy The­atre has blown away three sea­sons’ worth of au­di­ences at the Cultch. Now Bur­kett un­leashes his adults-only hu­mour on Charles Dick­ens’s A Christ­mas Carol. Watch faded diva Esmé Mas­sen­gill take on the role of a soused and bit­ter Scrooge as the other Daisy fix­tures play sup­port­ing roles. The Draw: Sch­nitzel as Tiny Tim! Tar­get Au­di­ence: Adults only. The kind who se­cretly spike the eggnog.

> KATH­LEEN OLIVER

Happy Place 1 Hour Photo

En­lists an all-fe­male cast (Riun Garner photo); Tet­suro Shige­matsu is in

(Ray­mond Shum photo).

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