Realwheel’s Brings ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?’ to The Cultch in Vancouver

Laugh, cry, and open your mind to the sensitive topic centering around the right to die.  Realwheels brings their production of  Whose Life Is It Anyway? to the historic theatre at The Cultch starting this Tuesday March 11th, and playing until Saturday March 22nd.

Written by award winning playwright Brian Clark, the play is set in a hospital room with the action revolving around main character Ken Harrison.  Ken, a brilliant sculptor was in a car accident and is now paralyzed from the neck down and is determined to be allowed to die despite the MD’s determination to do their job and keep him alive.  Who will prevail?

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Should someone be allowed the right to choose whether to live or die? Ken Harrison’s character will leave you asking that question after you see Whose Life Is It Anyway?

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a couple of the rehearsals and had the chance to learn more about Realwheels, the play, the cast and the director.  I was amazed at how the cast worked so well together. Director John Cooper was always open to suggestions from both cast and crew.  John explained, “I feel very fortunate to have such a high caliber group of actors to play with.”  This was quite clear as I noticed John would always comment on how great everyone was doing and thank them for their patience throughout the process.

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Director, John Cooper giving feedback to the cast at rehearsals, as photographed by Rena Cohen

So … should someone be allowed the right to choose whether to live or die?  I find this question constantly running through my head, especially with this play and current debates bringing it to the forefront.  What happens if they are terminally ill?  What if they become a quadriplegic like Ken Harrison?  What would I do in that situation?  What if it was a loved one?  The questions go on and on … everyone has their own opinion on the right to die, and very strong opinions at that. Is there a right answer? Don’t draw your own conclusions without seeing Who’s Life Is It Anyway?  first.

Bob Frazer plays the role of Ken Harrison.  Bob finds the inspiration for the role from longtime friend James Sanders.

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James Sanders and Noelle Sediego (Assistant to Pam Johnson, Set & Prop Design) sit through a table read at rehearsals, as photographed by Rena Cohen

 

James is the founder of Realwheels and was first inspired by this play (at the time, in the form of the 1981 movie) as a young person with quadriplegia who was new to the world of disability, following a spinal cord injury.  Whose Life Is It Anyway? helped James to carry on and create artistic expression out of his own experience.  After talking with Bob, I quickly found out that he was originally going to play the role of the Doctor and James was going to play Ken Harrison.  Due to health issues James was unable to take on the role.  Both James and John thought Bob would be perfect for the role, because of his 25 year friendship with James. Bob says that not only is James his true inspiration for this piece, but for the entire role.

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Bob Frazer as photographed by Tim Matheson

In my opinion, Bob is perfect for the role.  Yes, he might not have a disability, but he’s been by James’ side through his whole journey.  He’s had James to ask all the deep, personal questions and has an enormous amount of respect and admiration for what he has to go through.  Bob explained, “James and I have had such a great relationship, because I’ve never treated him any differently than the guy that I knew back in theatre school.  I never felt sorry for him and never acted like I did.”

Realwheels was created to further the understanding of living with disabilities, through art and creative expression.  They are prominent both in the professional theatre community and the disability community. To learn more about the great things Realwheels does, and what Rena Cohen, Managing Director of Realwheels/Producer of Whose Life Is It Anyway? feels about being a part of this great theatre company, click here.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? will pull at your heart strings and challenge your humanity, all while being wildly entertaining!  Catch the play from March 11th to 22nd nightly at 8pm.  Purchase your tickets for March 13th or 18th and enjoy a lively post show Q & A session.  Realwheels is offering Sign Language Interpretation provided by A.S.L. Interpreting Inc., and a Described Performance by VocalEye for those with vision loss offered at the matinee on Sunday, March 16th at 2pm.  Tickets are available now from The Cultch starting at $18 or call 604-251-1363.

Connect with Realwheels on Facebook and Twitter to get involved in the conversation around #WhoseLife and be sure to leave your comments on the show.

Enjoy the Performance!

Vancouver Theatre Lover Trick or Treat: Win Tickets to Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre

Who says adults can’t Trick or Treat!!! <she says stomping her feet, hands on hips, and pouting>  Well, I say you can!  Here at least. I have 5 pairs of theatre tickets to giveaway to 5 lucky adult Trick or Treaters to Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre Vancouver!

 

Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre Vancouver

Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre Vancouver, November 2 to 30, 2013.

 

If you have happen to have caught Lend Me A Tenor at Metro Theatre Vancouver last season (easily my favourite play of the Season), you’ll know that you are in for a treat, as this in another Ken Ludwig play.  Translation: This is bound to be an evening filled with the laughter of romance meets a comedy of errors! Here’s a little as to the storyline, care of Metro Theatre:

Moon Over Buffalo centres on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950’s. At the moment, they’re playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York with only five actors. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s alleged indiscretion with a young ingénue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinée, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong as confusion surrounds everyone who enters the theatre: the Hays’ stage manager, their lawyer, their visiting daughter and her clueless fiancé, and Charlotte’s aging, deaf mother who hates every bone in George’s body. The show must go on, of course, but at curtain time one question remains: exactly which play are they performing?

Now for the Trick or Treat!

If you are inclined to perform this sort of Trick for me …

 

 

… I am sure I can find you a treat!

As for entering the contest to win one of the five pairs of tickets, for my own amusement and a bit of seasonal surprise this is a reader’s choice commenting entry.  You simply must:

  • Comment below with a TRICK!  You decide how to define that.
  • For a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th entry: Share this contest on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (one extra entry for each platform shared on), just be sure to include a link to this post, the hashtag #MoonOverBuffalo & my handle (so I am sure to see it). So, as an example:

For Twitter: Show @EmmeRogers a trick #Vancouver, to enter to win a treat … tickets to #MoonOverBuffalo at @MetroTheatre! http://ht.ly/qnMjh 

For Facebook & Google+: Show Emme Rogers a trick #Vancouver, to enter to win a treat … tickets to #MoonOverBuffalo at Metro Theatre!  http://emmerogers.com/win-tickets-to-moon-over-buffalo-at-metro-theatre-vancouver

  • I will then throw the names of all commenters and Twitter, Facebook and Google+ sharers into a hat, and randomly draw the name of the winner of the tickets, at the times mentioned below.

For the winners of this laughter filled Treat, I will be giving away 5 pairs of tickets to Moon Over Buffalo at the Metro Theatre, starting with the first pair of tickets at 10 am Sunday November 3rd to one lucky winner.  The next pair of tickets will be given away Monday November 4th at 10 am, and then again Tuesday November 5th at 10 am, Wednesday November 6th at 10 am, and the final pair on Thursday November 7th at 10 am. The tickets will be for one of the performances on the first full weekend of the Show with the winners choice of Thursday November 7th, Friday November 8th, or Saturday November 9th at 8 pm.

 

Cast of Moon Over Buffalo at the Metro Theatre Vancouver.

A sneak peek at what’s to come from Moon Over Buffalo, care of the Metro Theatre.

 

For those of you that don’t win, you should still be in for treat by purchasing tickets to Moon Over Buffalo from the Metro Theatre Vancouver Box Office. They have a special deal on their Thursday night Show. The Show runs now until November 30th, 2013, with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm on November 17th and 24th.

Kisses,

Emme  xoxo

A Van Sexy Date Pick: Rocky Horror Show in Vancouver with Fighting Chance Productions

Fighting Chance Productions' Rocky Horror Show in VancouverFor anybody familiar with the Rocky Horror Show and Fighting Chance Productions, you’ll know that Fighting Chance Productions is the ideal theatre company in Vancouver to put on the Rocky Horror Show, as they always bring a tonne of energy, enthusiasm and fun to their Shows! And they are definitely not afraid to interact with the audience and ad lib a little, which is a definite must for the Rocky Horror Show.

Now for those of unfamiliar with the Rocky Horror Show, it is a somewhat bizarre musical in the form of a  humorous tribute to the Science Fiction and Horror B Movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s, which  attained cult fame from the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when the audience began to verbally and physically engage with the Show in the theatre. It is for this reason that I will explain a bit of what goes on in the story, so that you as the audience knows how to respond in the theatre.

The musical tells the story of a newly engaged couple getting caught in a storm and coming to the home of a mad transvestite scientist alien unveiling his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror. I did mention the word bizarre earlier, did I not.

Okay, so the cast of characters to know about … the Narrator (played by Sean Allen) for whom you are encouraged to listen to intently for cues and talk back to, Brad (played by Will Hopkins) who is our super straight edged groom-to-be, Janet (played by Erika Thompson) is our rather proper straight laced bride-to-be, brother-sister duo of creepiness Riff Raff (played by Ray Boulay) the handyman and Magenta (played by Jessa Brynn) the maid, Columbia (played by Kelli Ogmundson) a groupie of Frank’s, and of course Dr. Frank N. Furter the pansexual, cross-dressing mad scientist (played by Seth Gordon Little). And now for the …

 

Front Row at Rocky Horror Show in Vancouver

This photo from Fighting Chance Productions bears the question … do you dare sit in the front row?

Rocky Horror Virgin Cheat Sheet:

  • Wear Party Hat throughout in whatever fashion you see fit.
  • When you hear the name “Brad”, yell “ASSHOLE!”
  • When you hear the name “Janet”, yell “SLUT!”
  • Toss Confetti when Brad and Janet enter for the first time after “Science Fiction Double Feature”.
  • Throw Playing Cards when you hear the line, “Cards for Sorrow, Cards for Pain” during “I’m Going Home”.
  • Blow your Noisemaker when Frank is bringing Rocky to life!
  • Toss Rice when Frank and Rocky get married.
  • Don’t be shy, get up and do the Time Warp at the Show’s end!

Finally one of the most crucial ingredients to a rockin’ Rocky Horror Show is all in your date for the evening!  Mine was a new Brit friend, Jai!  Great gal and a lot of fun!  Find out for yourself … just go and ask her about her rubber cock!

For your convenience and the cast’s safety, all props thrown in the production must be from the $5 Rocky Horror Prop Bags that Fighting Chance Productions is selling on site, before the Show. I highly recommend you purchase one.

 

Fighting Chance Productions' Rocky Horror Prop Bags

Inside Fighting Chance Productions’ $5 Rocky Horror Prop Bags.

 

Now I must blow a few kisses of amour to the cast who had me smiling all night.  I was especially taken in by Sean Allen (the Narrator) for his witty repartee; Seth Gordon Little (Dr. Frank N. Furter) who made a mighty fine pansexual, cross-dressing mad scientist, who could really strutt his stuff; Ray Boulay (Riff Raff) and Jessa Brynn (Magenta) for being outstandingly creepy; Kelli Ogmundson (Columbia) for her sweet earnest; Erika Thompson (Janet) and Will Hopkins (Brad) for playing dorkily oblivious so well; and Hal Rogers (Rocky) for … well … all of him!!!  mmm … mmm … mmm!!!  Thoroughly enjoyed the band under the musical direction of Kerry O’Donnovan. Would have love to have been a fly on the wall for rehearsals for this. Ryan Mooney really outdid himself on directing this one.  And the choreography! Oh the choreography! Anna Kuman ~ you did a great job with the dancers.  I think this was perhaps my favourite part, and oh how I wanted to join them!

 

Vancouver does the Time Warp at Jericho Arts Centre

From Fighting Chance Productions’ pics, Vancouver does the Time Warp at Jericho Arts Centre!

 

Thank you Fighting Chance Productions for another fun night!

If you too wish to partake in the bizarrely absurd, you can catch the Rocky Horror Show in Vancouver at Jericho Arts Centre now until Saturday October 26th, thanks to Fighting Chance Productions in Association with Renegade Arts Centre, with performances MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, at 8 pm Tuesday – Saturday night, and a special additional performance MIDNIGHT on Friday October 25th. Get your tickets by clicking here!

Enjoy!

Kisses,

Emme  xoxo

A Van Sexy Date Pick: A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Studio 58 (Win Tickets)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the play that turned me onto Shakespeare, when I first saw it on the stage at the Stratford Festival in Ontario during my high school days. As a result, when Studio 58 invited me to Opening Night of their production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, my response (in my head at least) was a resounding Fuck Yeah! (while out loud it may have been a Yes, Please!)

 

A Midsummer Nights Dream at Studio 58

 

Being invited to a play of youthful memory and delight does pose certain problems, however. Firstly, who to invite?  You can’t invite just anyone.  It has to be someone who has a similar appreciation for the story and for theatre, so as to share in your delight and fully appreciate the experience!  That for me was most definitely my old friend, the Cherry Blossom! I believe she even studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream with her students in her teaching days.

Now the second problem, how could this, a Langara College student production, possibly live up to my memories, especially as those memories were from the Stratford Festival.  They didn’t. They exceeded them!  This was bar none, the best production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that I’d ever seen. And that was not just my opinion, but that of the Cherry Blossom too.  Was seriously impressed by both the Cast and Crew of Studio 58’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wow!  Some serious talent at Langara College, and whatever their professors are doing to inspire and mentor them ~ Bravo!

Now for those of you who are new to the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, here is a synopsis from Studio 58:

Shakespeare’s wild and wonderful comedy about the fickleness and joy of teenagers in love, fairies who vie for power and labourers who long to be actors …. with a new twist. Set in a rural farming village in the Carpathian mountains, circa 1900, these woods are filled with ‘vampire’ fairies who taunt and terrorize all who wander there. Beware!

 

Puck and Oberon in Studio 58's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Dominic Duchesne as Oberon and Lili Beaudoin as Puck, as photographed by David Cooper.

 

For those of you familiar with the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you will remember the fairies in the woods as tricksters, but not vampires.  And to be honest, I find the obsessions with vampires and zombies in our storytelling of the past few years to be overkill.  That said, it actually worked here in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, depicting the fairies as their own imaginative brand of vampires, and Oberon’s henchmen as zombies.  As it was done in a somewhat more subtle and clever manner, that did not overshadow the story, it added a clever new bent to the story that had me watching with a new curiosity, as I soaked in this somewhat disturbing image of a fairy.  Plus I loved watching Puck and Oberon (played by Dominic Duchesne) dance on the aerial silks!

Now, for me, my favourite character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been Puck, and this production was no different.  Initially, I was quite startled to see Puck cast as a girl – Lili Beaudoin, even though she was playing a boy.  Fitting really for a 21st Century rendition of Shakespeare to have women play men, as opposed to men play women.  After my initial surprise, I quickly warmed up to this new Puck, and dare I say, she is by far my favourite Puck yet.

 

Lili Beaudoin as Puck at Studio 58.

Lili Beaudoin as Puck. Photographed by David Cooper.

 

As for the rest of Studio 58th production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?  I enjoyed the singing, dancing and acting by what was an outstanding Cast. When I entered the theatre I was struck by the creativity of the set design (created under the Supervision of Set Designer Pam Johnson), and as the production unfolded before me, I thought how cleverly they had designed it to switch with ease from Village to Wood, and how seamlessly elements, like the aerial silks were woven into the set design. I am quite curious to know if the actual performance space is always set up in the same way, as much like Pacific Theatre, the stage was situated in the middle of the room, with the audience on either side, facing across to each other.  Also like Pacific Theatre, I was most impressed by the blocking, under the Director Scott Bellis, created to play to the audience from all sides.  It was quite wonderful!  I’d actually like to see the production from the other side to get the other perspective on the performance. Tipping my hat (or shades, as the case may be) to the Crew that put some outstanding thought into action in Studio 58’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

 

Studio 58 Cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Studio 58 Cast and Crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as photographed by David Cooper.

 

Now to conjure up a bit of fairy magic of my own with a pair of tickets to giveaway to Studio 58’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the winner’s choice of Wednesday evening, October 9th or Thursday evening, October 10th.

To Enter to Win those tickets …

  • Comment below with either your favourite character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream or your favourite Shakespeare Play.
  • For a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th entry: Share this contest on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (one extra entry for each platform shared on), just be sure to include a link to this post, the hashtag #MidsummerNightsDream & my handle (so I am sure to see it). So, as an example:

For Twitter: With a bit of Fairy Magic, you could win #Vancouver tix to @Studio58Theatre’s #MidsummerNightsDream from @EmmeRogers: http://ht.ly/pyhYZ

For Facebook & Google+: With a bit of Fairy Magic, you could win ticket to #MidsummerNightsDream at #Vancouver’s Studio 58 from Emme Rogers! http://emmerogers.com/2013/10/a-van-sexy-date-pick-a-midsummer-nights-dream-at-studio-58

  • I will then throw the names of all commenters and Twitter, Facebook and Google+ sharers into a hat, and randomly draw the name of the winner of the pair of tickets, on Tuesday morning at 10 am.

 

Bottom and the Fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Claire Johnstone, Anthea Morritt, Erik Gow and Jessica Ross-Howkins in Studio 58’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as photographed by David Cooper.

 

For those of you that don’t win, you can still adventure into the Fairy Wood at Studio 58 by purchasing your tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Box Office. The Show runs now until October 20th, 2013, with performances Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm, and matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm.

Enjoy!

Emme  xoxo

A Van Sexy Date Pick: The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre

“Delightfully funny!”  That my friends is how I’d describe The Foreigner at Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre.

It is so funny that despite the fact that I was rather perturbed with my date for showing up late (leaving me sitting alone in the theatre and embarrassed at what the theatre must think of my date showing up late), I was soon laughing out loud. Good thing too, as it kept me from growling at my date during intermission, as the play had just put me into too good a mood, although I certainly did shoot the odd dig at him, asking him (ever so innocently, of course) if the floor at the back of the theatre had been comfortable.

 

John Voth in The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre

John Voth as Charlie in The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre. Photo by Emily Cooper.

 

Given such circumstances, and what good spirits this play had put me in, I’d say The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre is most definitely a worthy pick for one of my Van Sexy Date Picks. Especially as it will help you (or me at least) double check your date for a few Must Haves (for me in my mind at least) …

  1. Sense of Humour (if they are not laughing, something is clearly wrong with them)
  2. Accepting (watch out if they sympathize with David or Owen, and want to join in with them in mocking Ellard or Charlie)
  3. Worldly (if they think it is perfectly acceptable to run the foreigner out of town and are cheering on David and Owen, then I’d be high tailing it out of that relationship)

I would, however, forgive my date for not laughing if some of the content hit too close to home.  Fortunately in Canada, we can laugh at a story that takes the piss out of the time and the types of people that would treat women, foreigners, and those that are different from ourselves as less. Things like the Klu Klux Klan for most of us in Canada, seems like a thing of the past that is limited to bygone days deep in the Southern States, but the sad truth of it is, is that there are still people that think this way. I saw this more openly written on the washroom walls of gas stations on a road trip a year and a half ago, going on a bit of a music pilgrimage.  And just now I googled Klu Klux Klan to make sure I had the spelling right … much to my disgust … no, horror … I found that that truly evil entity still existed and were proudly boasting a website, making me want to be quite sick.

Such recognition and realization, also make me want to applaud the Playwright of The Foreigner, Larry Shue, and in this case the Cast and Crew of the The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre for telling a fantastically well told and funny story that explores and celebrates relationships, character, fears, desire; while reminding us that evil can walk amoung us, cloaked in a cloth of deception.  I also applaud this play for openly mocking the Klu Klux Klan.  Bravo!

It does make you ponder, however, what people would say and how they would behave around you, if they thought you didn’t understand …

So by now, some of you are probably wondering what exactly The Foreigner is about. Without giving away the full story, but to at least satiate some of your questions, here is a synapses of the play:

Charlie is visiting from England, painfully shy and very much in need of rest. His friend has the perfect solution – he leaves him at a rural fishing lodge, telling his hosts that Charlie is from an exotic foreign land and speaks no English. All is well until “the foreigner” overhears more than he should.

 

Ellard and Charlie in The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre

Peter Carlone as Ellard and John Voth as Charlie in The Foreigner. Photo by Ron Reed.

 

As I mentioned above, this play was an absolute delight and hysterically funny.  The entire cast was superb!  I do need to give a special shout-out to John Voth and Peter Carlone, who did absolutely brilliant jobs of playing the parts of Charlie and Ellard, respectively.  I especially loved the scene when Charlie playacted a made-up story from his part of the World.  Kept thinking if Erica had been with me, she would have loved to have filmed that element of the play for a Case Study or Exercise for her Interactive Storytelling Course. Would also make for an awesome Scene Study or Improv for an Acting Class. Again, Bravo!

Tipping my hat (or shades, in my case) to the cast and crew of The Foreigner at the Pacific Theatre. The Cast: Peter Carlone as Ellard, Mack Gordon as David, Erla Faye Forsyth as Betty, Byron Noble as Owen, Ryan Scramstad as Froggy, John Voth as Charlie, and Kaitlin Williams as Catherine. The Crew: Director Evan Frayne, Set Designer Lauchlin Johnston, Lighting Designer Matt Frankish, Costume Designer Sydney Cavanagh, Composer / Sound Designer James Coomber, Stage Manager Laura McLean and Assistant Stage Manager Shelby Bushell. For those of you that have yet to see a play at Pacific Theatre, the audience sits opposite each other with the stage in the middle of the room. With this set-up, this theatre and the performances there, often feel much more intimate, much in part due to the exceptional blocking that the Director creates with the actors on the stage.  Evan did an excellent job of this in The Foreigner.  And might I add, WOW – Lauchlin!  I think that was the most elaborate set I’ve ever seen on the stage at Pacific Theatre.  I enjoyed taking it all in!

 

The cast of The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre

Pictured (L-R): Erla Faye Forsyth, Peter Carlone, John Voth and Kaitlin Williams, photographed in The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre. Photo by Ron Reed.

 

Catch The Foreigner at Pacific Theatre, now until Saturday October 12th, with performances at 8 pm Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and matinees on Saturdays at 2 pm. Find your tickets at the Box Office by Clicking Here!

Enjoy!

Kisses,

Emme   xoxo