The Café: Make your reservations now

publicity photo for The Café

If you see this guy, Ben Elliott, who performs in the short play Father’s Day, grab a seat nearby.

I love it when a show makes me work and The Café had me hoppin’. The evening also offers a tasty tasting menu of emerging and established local talent.

In The Café, which was conceived by Fay Nass, seven short plays are performed at tables scattered around Kafka’s, which is a real-world café on Great Northern Way. The scripts unfold simultaneously, but each is repeated three times, so your job as an audience member is to catch as many of the offerings as you can — especially the ones you’re particularly eager to see. Don’t worry, there’s no audience participation, but you are encouraged to sidle right up to the performers, to sit and stand beside them.

And you’re going to want to do that because it’s magical. How often do you get to sit just a couple of feet away from somebody as they completely — deliberately, skilfully — transform themselves into a different human being? Every time an actor does that, it’s like they’re opening a portal to a parallel universe. And, unless you’re an actor yourself, you rarely get to see it this close up.   [Read more…]

Wet—is pretty much all wet

A female soldier sits at a kitchen table with an automatic weapon behind her.

In Wet, Genevieve Fleming plays a Canadian soldier who comes home from Afghanistan messed up.

This play is vulgar.

I’m going to start off with a major spoiler and I’m going to keep dropping spoilers because there’s no way to say what I want to say about Wet without doing so.

In Wet, playwright David James Brock tells the story of Burns, a Canadian soldier who serves in Afghanistan, suffers a traumatic incident, and comes home good and fucked up. Back in Chilliwack, Burns can’t speak, move on her own, or feed herself, but her husband Sweetie does his best to trigger her memory of language and to wring some financial support out of the feds. Burns’s injury may be more psychological than physical.

I’ve heard about numerous cases in which Veterans Affairs has been accused of failing to adequately care for injured and traumatized troops. A lot of this criticism has focused on accusations that VA doesn’t adequately address soldier’s mental-health issues. So Brock’s subject area is rich and worth exploring.

But the playwright treats this material as it he’s constructing a ride at the PNE, creating one hyperventilating, sensationalistic moment after another. There’s a fair bit of erotic Skyping in Wet, including a virtual conjugal visit when Burns is still overseas. Fair enough. But when Sweetie tries to rape his disabled wife, the moment is pure, souped-up melodrama. And it vapourizes any sympathy you might have had for Sweetie to that point. [Read more…]

The Pipeline Project delivers the (complicated) goods

Itsazoo and Savage Society are presenting The Pipeline Project at the Gateway Theatre.

In The Pipeline Project, Kevin Loring calls his truck the Chief: “I get to say that because I’m Indian.”

Probably the best thing about The Pipeline Project is that it’s a sincere invitation to dialogue. In this age of social media, so many are so eager to establish their political bona fides—and superiority—that it’s often impossible to have a vulnerable, complicated conversation in public. It’s good to know that real, human interactions can take still take place in the theatre.

In The Pipeline Project, three writers/actors—Sebastien Archibald, Kevin Loring, and Quelemia Sparrow—explore their relationship to oil. [Read more…]

Sign up—free!—

YEAH, THIS IS ANNOYING. But my theatre newsletter is fun!

Sign up and get curated international coverage + local reviews every Thursday!