A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Evergreen Cultural Centre

Last night I took my young daughters down to the Evergreen Cultural Centre for the Monster Theatre presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

evergreen cultural centre

The production was geared towards children and it was cool to see how readily kids broke through the fourth wall that traditionally separates the players on the stage from the audience.

As a “seasoned” theatre goer, I tend to see the fourth wall as an impenetrable wall. So that even when the players on the stage look into the audience and ask a question, I realize I am not to reply. Nor is anyone in the theatre to reply. Unless you are a kid at a Monster Theatre presentation.

Last night, the players on the stage called into the audience and the kids replied. It was a somewhat risky move that worked well.

The kids replied when expected and became quiet observers for the other parts of the show.

As for the play, it is worth noting that it was not actually a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream but a play about the play of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Confusing? It wasn’t. It was actually really neat. Although not a “tight” performance, it was a very entertaining performance.

The performance had two women and one man on the stage. These three people were able to change from one character to another in a blink of the eye. One second she was Demetruis and then Hermia and then Lysander and then Helena.

The characters changed personas with a simple twist of the wrist to change the mask but more importantly, it was not just the mask that changed. The voice, the demeanour, and the body movements were also changed instantaneously. It was really amusing to see the characters changing so quickly. The best part was how the quick role changes kept the kids in the audience transfixed. As was I!!

I will definitely be taking my kids to check out more of the Monster Theatre productions. Especially if they come back to my local theatre, the Evergreen Cultural Centre.

 

Cavalia Presents Odysseo in the Olympic Village

Although I have not yet found time in my hectic family schedule for us to attend a performance of Odysseo, a re-imagining of equestrian and theatrical arts, a couple of my friends have been to the show and they both said this is a MUST SEE performance.

I have to admit, I am amazed by the images I have seen of the performance so far. So what is Odysseo? And where is it?

Odysseo
Photo Credit – Jak Wonderly

Well, Odysseo’s White Big Top – the largest touring tent on the planet – was erected in Vancouver’s Olympic Village in preparation of Odysseo’s second and final run in Vancouver.

Cavalia
Normand Latourelle of Cavalia

The $30 million theatrical production imagined by Normand Latourelle opened on January 29th with matinee and evening performances now scheduled through February 26th.

Covering a surface area of 5,425 square metres, the size of the BC Lions football field, Odysseo’s impressive White Big Top is a mix of art, technology and advanced engineering.

Cavalia
Photo Credit – Andrew Miller

In order to break through the limitations of standard big top tents, allow for more flexibility in the performance area, and to give the horses the space they need to feel free and comfortable, Normand Latourelle, Cavalia’s artistic director and founder, partnered with specialized companies in Europe and Canada to create this high-tech structure.

Odysseo
Photo Credit Dan Harper

This unprecedented structure is also composed of several exceptional features like the grandiose stage – larger than the Rogers Arena ice rink – that enables large-scale, cutting-edge creative performances.

Odysseo
Photo Credit – Dan Harper

Surrounded by bleachers with 2,074 seats, the 1,626 square metres stage requires 10,000 tons of stone, earth and sand to create so that it offers a vast space of freedom where 65 horses and 48 artists can display their intimate collaboration.

Odysseo
Photo Credit Jak Wonderly

To help immerse the audience in the magical world of Odysseo, images of the most beautiful landscapes from around the world are projected throughout the show onto a 780 square metre screen.

Odysseo
Photo Credit – Jak Wonderly

Never afraid of using unparalleled technical, visual, and sound infrastructure, the Odysseo creative team has invented a feast for the eyes, a multi-dimensional spectacle with staggering effects created by state-of-the-art scenery.

Odysseo
Photo Credit – Jak Wonderly

During the breathtaking finale, a vertiginous virtual waterfall overhangs a lake made possible by an underground drain system that releases 150,000 litres of recycled water onto the stage, in which horses, riders, and artists join to frolic, leaving behind them the traces of their splashes—and an astonished audience.

Tickets are priced from $29.50 to $139.50 + applicable taxes and fees.

The “Rendez-Vous” package is the deal that I am discussing with Sweetheart. That package offers the best seats in the house, exquisite full buffet dining before the show, open bar, desserts during intermission and an exclusive visit of the stables after the show.

This unique VIP experience takes place in a tent alongside the White Big Top. The Rendez-Vous package prices range from $129.50 to $209.50 + applicable taxes and fees.

Special pricing and packages also available for groups, children (2-12), juniors (13-17) and seniors (65+).

You can follow Cavalia’s latest developments at

I hope to see you at a performance!

Arts Club Theatre Takes Baskerville On the Road

After a successful Vancouver premiere at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the Arts Club is taking Baskerville on tour.

Five actors play over 40 comical characters, filling the stage with suspects, allies, and heirs in this zany whodunit based on the Arthur Conan Doyle classic. When the wealthy Henry Baskerville is threatened by the fable of a bloodthirsty hound on the moors, Holmes and Watson are on the case to sniff out the culprit. The game’s afoot in this hilarious thriller that’s anything but elementary!

Director John Murphy states, “Baskerville is definitely a comedic romp, but the play also maintains the original story’s Gothic feel, so there are moments when we hope to scare the bejesus out of people. As Conan Doyle said, ‘There is no horror without imagination.’ We’re going to do everything we can to engage the audience’s imagination, by using the most rudimentary theatrical tools— like shadow puppetry—to put people in a place where they can believe that a mythical, murderous hound actually exists. And, of course, we get to spend an evening with the most iconic, quirky, neurotic detective of all time. Jessie Award winner Alex Zahara returns to the stage to bring this wonderful genius to life. Should be quite a night.”

  • Baskerville, A Sherlock Holmes Mystery will be at the Evergreen Cultural Centre from October 25-30 with an 8pm start.
  • The Saturday and Sunday performances will begin at 3pm.

Burnaby Art Gallery; Art in the Community

The Burnaby Art Gallery is continuing their tradition of taking art out of the gallery and into the community with two new exhibitions opening next week at local libraries.

Set to coincide with the start of the school year, Ben Duncan’s Ever Onward will explore the long history of the art of the doodle at the Bob Prittie Library (near Metrotown) from September 19th to November 15th 2016.

Catherine M. Stewart is an artist featured in the City of Burnaby’s Malaspina Printshop Archive. She also has a background in physics and mathematics, which have influenced her artistic practice. Her exhibition, Distillations: Lithographs and Etchings will run at Burnaby’s McGill Library.

Ever Onward is a presentation of new work by Ben Duncan in the longstanding tradition of the doodle. Whether in the ancient papyrus loose leaf notes of the Babylonian magi, or the hastily jotted, nearly illegible plans of the great scholar Dapti, crudely scrawled drawings and scribbles abound.

This showcase honours those whose artwork earned them the “easily distracted” distinction in their report cards and presents a loosely tied narrative of pilgrims, denizens and otherworldly entities who dare to venture ever onward.

With a humorous bent, Vancouver-based artist Ben Duncan focuses on a variety of themes, including but not limited to cartoonish displays of explosive violence, surreal gang culture and an insectoid value system applied to traditional human societies.

The Catherine M. Stewart exhibition titled Distillations: Lithographs and Etchings continues the BAG’s exploration of the Malaspina Printshop Archive. The exhibition runs from September 20th to November 16th, 2016 at  the McGill Library, 4595 Albert Street, Burnaby

Catherine M. Stewart’s Distillations differs from the other Malaspina Printshop Archive exhibitions in that the artist herself has chosen the works to be displayed from both the Malaspina Archive and her own collection.

Stewart earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. Her early exposure to science and mathematics continues to be an influence that resurfaces in her artistic practice. Her work has won awards and been shown locally, nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions.

 

The Evergreen Cultural Centre Celebrates 20 Years

Here is the TLDR for this blog post: The Evergreen Cultural Centre presents their 20th anniversary as the premiere theatre and entertainment venue in the Tri-Cities. Come celebrate this milestone and kick off our new season with a dance party featuring SweetPea Swing Band and rock/blues/R&B masters Brickhouse.

Celebrating 20 years as the premiere theatre and entertainment venue in the Tri-Cities, the Evergreen Cultural Centre presents their season launch party on Friday, September 16 @ 7pm. Come celebrate this milestone and kick off the new season with a dance party featuring SweatPea Swing Band and rock/blues/R&B masters Brickhouse. A silent auction will also be available for patrons to bid on great items from community partners and sponsors.

“All of us at the Evergreen Cultural Centre – staff, volunteers, and board members – are extremely excited to be celebrating our 20th anniversary,” says Doug Matthews, Evergreen Cultural Centre Society Board President. “Over this period, the number and quality of our performing and visual arts presentations have grown considerably and we are proud of the fact that a diverse group from the Tri-Cities area use our facilities on a regular basis. As well, our professional theatre, comedy, dance, and musical presentations are among the best in the lower mainland, and our art gallery shows are of the highest quality found anywhere.”

SweatPea Swing Band

The SweetPea Swing Band has been performing their own unique brand of traditional jazz in and around Vancouver for many years. The band repertoire contains a lively collage of hot jazz music dating back as far as 1916. Although the band’s music is firmly rooted in traditional jazz, The SweetPea Swing Band presents their music in a hip, modern style that continues to incite audiences into a dancing frenzy.

Brickhouse

Brickhouse is one of the most uniquely “Vancouver” music experiences – seeing Brickhouse Live is one of the “Top 10” coolest things you can do in Vancouver. With their brand of original, funky tracks and cleverly covered classic R&B tunes, Brickhouse blends classic and modern (Blue Funk) with ease and makes hearing and seeing Brickhouse an addictive experience.

Tickets are only $20 for this great event!

Contact the Evergreen Box Office at 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca for tickets and more information.

Keith Langergraber at the Burnaby Art Gallery

Burnaby Art Gallery (BAG) present Betrayal at Babylon, a new installation by Vancouver-based mixed media artist Keith Langergraber that will be held at the gallery from September 9 to October 23, 2016.

Investigating the impermanence of language and the complexity of human myth-making, the exhibition merges historical and fictionalized narratives set in British Columbia and beyond.

Reinterpreting the biblical Tower of Babel as a western mine and ghost town, Langergraber’s sculptural work fuses spiral train tunnels, dilapidated rigging systems and downed power lines. The show incorporates a series of large-scale mixed media works on paper, scraps of handwritten journal entries, detailed drawings of fossils and relics, and maps of natural terrain and settlements.

For the project, Langergraber worked with Carl Alexander, an elder from the Nxwísten (Bridge River) Indian Band in Lillooet to explore traditional St’át’imcets place names and provide an account of the impact of industry—dams, forestry, mining and the railroad—in the region.

Double Negative, Double Whammy (2016), a short film by Langergraber, screens as part of the show – following a gang of meteorite hunters across a surreal landscape, the film draws on motifs from sci-fi, western and disaster film genres. A mythic tektite meteorite also stands on display.

Betrayal at Babylon examines not only the construction of language, but also demonstrates the limitations of language in conveying environmental issues that have occurred through natural forces over time as well as through more recent human-driven exploits.

PUBLIC PROGRAMS

  • Opening Reception | Thursday, September 8 | 7-9pm | FREE
  • In the BAG: Family Sundays | 1-4pm | FREE
  • Sunday, September 11 – Drawing Spaces
  • Sunday, October 9 – Mapping Terrains
  • Artist Talk + Film Screening | Saturday, September 10 | 2pm | FREE
  • Art Tour Tuesday | Tuesday, September 20 | 12:15pm | $5 | NEW PROGRAM
  • Tour & Tea | Tuesday, September 20 | 2pm | $7.50 | NEW PROGRAM
  • One Place, Many Names Talk | Sunday, September 25 | 2pm | FREE
  • Culture Days Guided Tour | Sunday, October 2 | 2pm | FREE

To learn more about the Keith Langergraber exhibition and other shows at the Burnaby Art Gallery, you can visit their webpage.

Bard on the Beach; Othello

Today we went to see the Bard on the Beach production of Othello and I have to admit, I had very mixed emotions while watching the performance.


Yes, it was a beautiful stage, amazing acting, and an interesting spin on Shakepeare’s classic story by setting it in the American Civil War.

So what was my problem? Well, I was uncomfortable with the outright racism directed at Othello by his new father in law. I just felt myself squirming in my seat a little while watching the other players refer to Othello as “the Moor” and their plotting against him.

However, I did stay for the production and I have no hesitation in telling you it was a beautiful performance that is worth seeing even if it does make you squirm in your seat. I also have no hesitation in advising you to bring at least a couple tissues with you to the performance. No spoiler, it IS a tragedy.

All Bard on the Beach productions are performed in the tent-theatres at Vanier Park in Vancouver. You can call the Bard on the Beach box office at 604-739-0559 or go online to get tickets.

Joe Fafard; Retailles at the Burnaby Art Gallery

On the evening of Thursday June 23rd I had the pleasure of meeting the Canadian art iconic Joe Fafard, one of Canada’s most recognized and prolific artists

Joe Fafard
Joe Fafard

Joe Fafard is one of Canada’s leading professional visual artists and has exhibitions of a wide variety of work in galleries and museums across the country and around the world, including the United States, Great Britain, France and Japan.

He is widely recognized as being at the forefront of his art, and his outstanding contributions to the arts have significantly raised the profile of both Saskatchewan and Canada on the national stage.

Retailes
Retailles

His current exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery really is a thing of wonder.

Retailles offers an insight into Fafard’s exploration of the laser-cut process featuring laser-cut and welded metal sculptures along with embossed and woodcut prints.

Over the years he has collected the leftover pieces of metal from other art projects he has created and, like a good Saskatchewan farmer, he kept the metal scraps with the attitude of  “this just might be useful later”.

Laser Cut Steel Art
Laser Cut Steel Art

French for scraps or trimmings, “that which is cut away”, Retailles not only references the act of removing the negative from positive space to create form, but also refers to the act of recycling these “off-cuts” to create new works.

Night Thief
Night Thief

The art work is truly extraordinary. His technique makes the laser cut steel pieces of art work look and feel like they are about to come alive and start moving around the gallery.

To be honest, I am not an art critic and do not bring a “trained eye” to my visits to the Burnaby Art Gallery, however I do see that this is a very cool exhibition and worth a visit.

The Joe Fafard; Retailles Exhibition is at the Burnaby Art Gallery (6344 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby) until August 28th. Do yourself a favour and get down to the BAG and take in the Joe Fafard exhibition.

Bard on the Beach 2016

Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival begins its 27th season in Vanier Park on June 3, with an exciting lineup of plays, concerts and special events.

All tickets for Bard on the Beach went on sale April 6 for the 2016 season, which runs from June 3 to September 24.

The Festival’s summer-long celebration of Shakespeare starts with ROMEO AND JULIET on the BMO Mainstage, with Kim Collier (Hamlet, 2013) returning to Bard to direct this timeless romantic tragedy. It alternates with Bard’s Jessie Award-winning 2012 production of THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.

In Bard on the Beach tradition, This high-spirited comedy and live performance is full of classic 60s popular music with Johnna Wright back to direct, this time on the BMO Mainstage, along with many of the original actors.

On the Howard Family Stage, in the Douglas Campbell Theatre, two of Bard’s best-known and award-winning actors make their Bard directorial debuts.

Bob Frazer directs the tragedy OTHELLO, setting the play’s jealousy and manipulation amidst the racism and violence of the American Civil War.

Lois Anderson directs a mythical and exotic setting of PERICLES, Shakespeare’s adventurous tale of a hero’s quest to find love, family and the meaning of life.

Something new for Bard on the Beach this year is their Family Nights: Lively pre-show activities with family package pricing available on July 6, August 3 and August 31 @ 6pm.

For run dates and ticket pricing, you can check out the Bard on the Beach website.

About Bard on the Beach:

Bard on the Beach is one of Canada’s largest not-for-profit, professional Shakespeare festivals. Established in 1990, Bard is an annual summer festival with a mission to perform, explore and celebrate the genius of William Shakespeare, surrounded by the natural beauty of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Play performances run Tuesday through Sunday with matinees on selected weekends and weekdays and some special events on Monday evenings. All evening performances start at 7:30 pm.

La Bohème at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts

If you’ve been interested in the opera but don’t know where to the start, the Burnaby Lyric Opera and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts have the production for you – La Bohème, by Giacomo Puccini.

La Boheme
La Boheme

La Bohème is a beloved classic and one of the brightest stars in Giacomo Puccini’s repertoire. This musical masterpiece is a timeless tale of love, loss, deception and heart-break, with glorious music as only Puccini could write. It stands the test of time as one of the most popular operas ever performed and comes to life again with Burnaby Lyric Opera’s production team and the best of B.C.’s operatic talent.

The story of La Bohème centers around a poor seamstress, Mimi, and her poet lover, Rodolfo. They live in a dank Parisian garret amid a group of bohemian friends which include Marcello, a painter, and his lover, Musetta. There is constant flirtatious behavior and jealousy amid an underlying atmosphere of foreboding, culminating in Mimi’s death. This is a must see performance at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

Burnaby Lyric Opera brings BC’s top young professional opera singers to the stage, giving you the rare opportunity to say you saw them here first and the talented individuals in La Bohème are no exception. The ensemble features Chloé Hurst, Kwangmin Brian Lee, Jason Cook, Gwendolyn Yearwood, Brandon Thornhill, Peter Monaghan, Stage Director Richard Berg and Music Director Angus Kellett round out the team.

Burnaby Lyric Opera is an Intermediate professional opera company presenting BC’s up and coming young opera singers in leading roles. BLO is the “jumping-off point” for young opera singers in BC on their way to the major opera houses of the world and this is your chance to see the next generation of great opera singers in action.

Burnaby Lyric Opera’s production team and the best of BC’s young opera singers bring this “must see” opera to life. Don’t miss it.

La Bohème is on at the Shadbolt Centre at 8pm on February 20, 25, and 27th as well as afternoon performances at 2pm on February 22nd and 24th.

For more information and tickets to La Bohème visit the Shadbolt Centre’s website.