Beckett 19: Review

Beckett 19: Review

Gone too soon! Yesterday was the closing night of UBC Theatre and Film’s production of Beckett 19: or some such semblance by Samuel Beckett. This year’s Beckett production was short but very sweet with incredibly versatile performances, evocative technical design, and much-appreciated humour.

Beckett 19: or some such semblance by Samuel Beckett

Directed by Gerald Vanderwoude

Opening with a radical drum solo by Tony Koelwyn under a multicoloured spotlight Beckett 19 captured our attention right from the top. The sparse but deliberate set and lighting design created the unique character of Mouth from Samuel Becketts’ short monologue Not I. Beverly Bardal delivered this biting and breathless piece about a nearly mute woman finally exposing the trauma of her youth and the buzzing voice in her head with impressive feeling and impact. A raptured audience was then briskly transitioned into a comedic series featuring light bulbs, a hat and a squashed cream horn. This light-hearted but thoughtful comedy came with performances from Joe Procyk, Norman Young, Chris Humphreys and Cam Cronin. Another short piece written by Beckett, Biddies in the Boat, finished off the first half of the show with Beverly Bardal, Deb Pickman and a gigantic moon challenging the audience to an evening conversation in the department’s famous rowboat.

After a brief intermission, Beckett 19 concluded with a final piece – Act Without Words by Beckett. A darkly comedic piece centred on physicality and an animated desert island rounded out the performances and brought together an amazing night of talent, humour, and contemplation. Truly hypnotic the technical design of this series stood out with their stark contrast lighting and minimal but effective use of set, props and sound. Congratulations to everyone who made this set of performances into such an enchanting evening – the UBC Players Club is looking forward to the rest of the UBC Theatre and Film’s 2019/20 season!

Review by Veronica Blott, UBCPC Production Manager

Posted by UBC Players Club
GLORY: Review

GLORY: Review

Review by Sophia Tavasieff

Ice hockey: the quintessential Canadian sport. Dominated by men in the NHL in the 1930s, the teamwork, camaraderie, and sheer brutality of the sport brings people together, even in the most desperate of times. But what happens if women give it a try?

Written by Tracey Power, GLORY tells the story of four women who did just that. Struggling to keep together a baseball team and still grumbling about their loss in the championships, four magnificent women find solace in the dreariness of the Great Depression to create one of the most fearsome women’s hockey teams of their time. They fight their way through the opinions of the disbelieving public, sexist radio announcers, media, and a coach to bring camaraderie, teamwork, and joy to people in desperate times, and show that a woman’s place is on home ice.

Helen (Kate Dion-Richard) delivered a delightfully feminine and iron-willed performance as the picture of a 1930s woman: flirty as a teen, unyielding as a mother, and an absolute powerhouse on the ice. Hilda (Katie Ryerson) was exactly as hardworking, hockey-obsessed, and earnest as you would expect a team captain to be, bringing tired teammates together in the locker room and being a talented player to boot, scoring goals in every game as she worked towards her dream job: the NHL. Her sister Nellie (Morgan Yamada) gave the show the pure-hearted support and strength of the best goalies. Marm’s (Advah Soudack) saucy sense of humour both diminished tenuous situations as the team were coming together, but later in the show exhibited a fortitude that showed she wouldn’t stand for discrimination, of her gender or ethnicity. She used her wit to both charms and convince the coach, Herb (Andrew Wheeler), into agreeing to coach women’s hockey. Herb doggedly agreed and delivered the grumpy get-down-to business attitude of everyone’s favourite coach.

How, you may ask, did James MacDonald capture the on-ice drama of every hockey game without a rink? Invigorating electro-swing choreography brought the game to life as each of the girls passed, dipped, spun, dove, and scored to the beat. Every goal was met with a triumphant yell, a red light, and the praise of teammates, before jumping right back into the choreography, where every pass had the audience’s eyes going with it. The electro swing was an excellent choice: it kept us in the period, brought electrifying vitality to every game, and yet the electronic aspects of the music kept us feeling as fresh and upcoming as the ladies pioneering their way on the ice.

All in all, GLORY debuted an uplifting performance about individuals struggling through all manners of adversity: a struggling economy, a sexist public, a racist ice rink, starting a family. But the true power of GLORY lay in the unyielding perseverance and hope that burned in every character’s heart. Through all manners of bias, disbelief, and misfortune, each and everyone showed that teamwork, determination, and hard work can get you through even the toughest of battles, on or off the ice. Go Rivulettes!

GLORY is running April 4-13 at the Gateway Theatre. If you miss the run, catch the show touring the nation until October!

GLORY by Tracy Power is running at Gateway Theatre from April 4th to 13th.

Tickets | Facebook Event | Gateway Theatre

 
Posted by UBC Players Club in Review
Cherry Docs: Review

Cherry Docs: Review


Pictured: Kenton Klassen and John Voth. Photo by Jason Benson.

Jessica Kim

In a two-actor/character comedy, a Neo-Nazi skinhead is represented by a Jewish lawyer. Hilarity ensues.

Nah, just kidding.

In 1998, Cherry Docs by David Gow premiered in Toronto. Though we don’t have manual door locks anymore, the issues discussed in Cherry Docs is still shockingly relevant.

In this Pacific Theatre’s production of Cherry Docs, Richard Wolfe’s directing catches the intensity and the beats in the dialogue perfectly. There are intense scenes with heated conversations, then Wolfe gives the audience a moment to reflect.

The duo from Cave Canem that brought us The Lonesome West last year is back with this production. Kenton Klassen and John Voth show us a different side of their dynamic. If Lonesome West was more comedic and the hatred was more driven from brotherly banter, Cherry Docs shows action and speech driven from genuine hatred and fear of each other’s character and their own beliefs.

Mike (Kenton Klassen) is a juvenile skinhead accused of hate crime and murder. Danny (John Voth) is his Jewish lawyer, but he clearly doesn’t like Mike very much. The play starts out with their monologues, showing the audience a glimpse of their lives and ideals. The simple set and intense lighting sets the somber tone, allowing the audience to focus on every word and tense at every breath the characters take. This journey frees Mike from his instilled hatred, and more importantly, from his fear and the problems he blames society for.

Pictured: Kenton Klassen. Photo by Dylan Hamm.

However, this change affects Danny as well. He puts in so much time and effort in understanding and knowing Mike, he neglects taking care of his own life. What’s worse, Mike’s fear starts to slowly infect Danny…

The lighting (Phil Miguel) and Sound (Matthew MacDonald-Bain) adds to the serious, almost film noir-esque tone of this production. The original composition is jarring and demands attention. The lighting is subtle but helps the audience focus on what Wolfe wants to direct the audience’s attention to.

We’re born into institutionalized racism, inequality, turning other races and classes into the “Other”; needing something to fear or something to hate. It’s important to take a moment and think: “Why do I do that?” or “What are my thoughts on that?” There’s really no such thing as “It is what it is.” Though there isn’t a definite one person or organization responsible, and though we may believe we always need something or someone to hate in order to keep our society in check, it may not be the truth at the end of the day. The act of separating that self and the group is crucial in the journey of self-discovery and improvement.

Catch the conversation-sparking play at the Pacific Theatre only until April 28th.



Cherry Docs by David Gow is running at Pacific Theatre from April 5th to 28th, with 8pm Wednesdays-Saturdays with 2pm Saturday matinees.

Tickets | Facebook Event | Pacific Theatre

Posted by UBC Players Club in Review
Jesus Freak: Review

Jesus Freak: Review

Pictured: Kaitlin Williams and Katharine Venour. Photo by Jalen Saip.

Jessica Kim

Clara Campbell looks around at her family’s horrified faces around the dinner table. She had a whole speech prepared and was waiting for the right moment to tell them. All that’s gone out the window when she blurts it out: She’s Christian.

In Jesus Freak, playwright Peter Boychuk explores difference and acceptance in families. When families diverge and adopt different values from one another, what is it that ties them together? Usually this is done by the child declaring something liberal, like homosexuality. Clara’s rather conservative declaration of her newfound faith throws everyone in her family off. They believe this makes her a different person, perhaps a person who is even opposed to who they are individually and as a family.

The Set by Brian Ball and lighting by Jill White are beautiful and well executed. The set depicts a well made away-from-civilization cabin in the woods complete with beautiful paintings of the woods on each side of the wall. The ambient lighting directly reflects the characters and their moods and shifts in relationships. It’s a pleasure to watch everyone grow from the experience.

This hilarious yet heartwarming play is short and sweet, getting to the point immediately and exactly. It wastes no time developing the characters and conflicts. The chemistry between Clara (Kaitlin Williams) and her brother Nate (Brandon Bate) is hilarious on top of Boychuk’s wry and witty humour, resembling real life siblings at times. Alan (Ron Reed) and Susan (Katherine Venour) are very believable concerned parents. They recognize the hard time Clara is going through, and are supportive and loving, but are having a difficult time accepting the new change. Catch the family dramedy at Pacific Theatre before it’s gone!

 

Jesus Freak by Peter Boychuk is running at Pacific Theatre from March 1st to March 23rd, with 8pm Wednesdays-Saturdays with 2pm Saturday matinees.

Tickets | Facebook Event | Pacific Theatre

Posted by UBC Players Club
Festival Dionysia 2019 Audition Application OPEN NOW

Festival Dionysia 2019 Audition Application OPEN NOW

Hello Players,

The auditions for this year’s Festival Dionysia is finally open! Audition for a chance to star in one of our 6 original and professional one act plays produced this year.

The audition dates are:

Day 1: January 24th (5:30 PM – 9:00 PM)
Day 2: January 25th (5:30 PM – 9:00 PM)
Day 3: January 26th (10:00 AM – 7:00 PM)
Callbacks: January 27th (TBA)

Please email productions@ubcplayersclub.com:

1. Your headshot,
2. Resume,
3. Preferred audition time and your availability for Callbacks (All day is preferred, but we will accommodate you according to the director’s schedules)

Good luck! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or email info@ubcplayersclub.com if you have any questions. Be notified and updated about important Players Club information by signing up for the Newsletter here.

Posted by UBC Players Club in Productions
Festival Dionysia 2019 Crew Call OPEN NOW

Festival Dionysia 2019 Crew Call OPEN NOW

Hello Players!

The Crew Call for this year’s Festival Dionysia is finally open! This year, we have a mix of 6 wonderful original and professional one acts plays lined up, and we would love to have YOU on our team.

We are looking for:
Sound designer(s)
Costume designer(s)
Set designer(s)
Prop designer(s)/master(s)
Light board Operator(s)
Sound board Operator(s)
Assistant Stage Manager(s)

Please email productions@ubcplayersclub.com by January 23rd with the following information:

1. The position you are interested in,
2. A short paragraph about why you are interested in this position,
3. A resume, if you have one (optional)

 

Don’t worry if you’ve never done theatre before. There are a lot of spots open for Assistant Stage Manager, and absolutely no experience is necessary. You’ll work directly with the Stage Manager, the Production crew, and your respective director and actors. Come play with us!

Good luck! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or email info@ubcplayersclub.com if you have any questions. Be notified and updated about important Players Club information by signing up for the Newsletter here.

Posted by UBC Players Club in Productions
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Review

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Review

Pictured: John Voth. Photo by Ron Reed.

Jessica Kim

The Chronicles of Narnia is more “classic” than any other works frequently discussed with it, such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, which were written decades later. It shows that it has withstood the test of time- and still more than relevant today.

I was expecting something different from Ron Reed’s adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Lucy and Peter Pevensie are older now, and as they revisit the wardrobe room, they revisit their old memories… and there, I imagined Reed would take it further and write out a new adventure for them. Which he did in a way, but not like what I was expecting. He retold the story of the novel through these two characters reminiscing their journey back when they were children. The two actors playing Lucy (Rebecca deBoer) and Peter (John Voth) both played countless other characters as the story unfolded, putting on new costumes and taking on different personas.

Voth’s Mr. Tumnus and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver was especially convincing, funny and each character was drastically different. His transformation from one character to another was breathtaking and entertaining. deBoer’s White Queen was commanding and cold, and the costume (Sheila White) really let her shine opposed to her default “Lucy” attire of a long brown skirt and pink cardigan. The lighting (John Webber) was stunning as well, using different colour schemes for Narnia and the wardrobe room, and the gobos showing soft snowflakes falling was also a highlight.

Though it’s not a fan-fiction version of the novel one might expect from reading the show blurb, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe directed by Sarah Rodgers is bound to be a Holiday favourite, with beautiful set, costume, and lighting along  with the charming chemistry of John Voth and Rebecca deBoer.

 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by Ron Reed is running at Pacific Theatre from November 30th to December 29th, with 8pm Wednesdays-Saturdays with 2pm Saturday matinees.

Tickets | Facebook Event | Pacific Theatre

Posted by UBC Players Club in Review
Doubt: A Parable Review

Doubt: A Parable Review

Pictured: Tallulah Winkelman as Sister Aloysius. Photo by David Newham.

A Guest Review by our Mainstage 2017 Director, Samuel Jing

“What do you do when you are not sure…” are the memorable opening words to John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt – and exactly what ran through my mind as I walked into Vancouver’s historic Penthouse nightclub to watch a play set in a Catholic school in the 1960’s. Directed by Bill Devine, Seven Tyrants provides a memorable night of theatre-going courtesy of a talented group of actors.

Shanley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play follows the story of Sister Aloysius (Tallulah Winkelman) as she begins to suspect Father Flynn (David Thomas Newman) of having indecent relations with an altar boy. Doubt implores audiences to choose who they believe – the honeyed words of Father Flynn, or the steely resolve of Sister Aloysius.

Olivia Lang brings a pitch perfect level of youthful naiveté to the role of Sister James that plays well with her scene partners, especially in contrast with the seasoned Aloysius. Speaking of the good sister, Winkelman has the gravitas and maturity to bear the hefty weight of the lead role, even though her take on Aloysius comes off as more callous than sympathetic at times. Newman’s charming delivery is well suited to the gregarious Father Flynn, and makes watching his partner scenes enjoyable. While his sermons leave something to be desired in terms of energy levels, it does not bring down the performance as a whole. Despite only being present in only a single scene, Liza D’Aguilar shines bright in her portrayal of Mrs Muller. D’Aguilar shows great range in her nuanced dialogue between herself and Aloysius that makes for a memorable encounter.

One cannot discuss this production without discussing the venue. While the Penthouse’s wonderfully atmospheric speakeasy vibe is one-of-a-kind, it was more than a little jarring to transition between the wildly different atmospheres of the black box studio and the lounge area. Space is tight in black box studio itself, giving actors precious little room to block themselves, resulting in awkward and static positioning at times. Despite this, Lynda Chu’s set design brought out the best of the small performance space, with each third of the stage having its own distinct 1960’s flavour.

Seven Tyrant’s Production of Doubt boasts solid acting and a thought-provoking script that are reason enough to considering venturing out to see it – just don’t spend too long eyeing at the posters of half-naked women on your way out.

Catch the rest of the run of Seven Tyrant’s Production of Doubt, running until December 14th.

 

Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley is running at Tyrant Studios above the Penthouse Nightclub from November 23rd to December 14th. 

Tickets | Facebook Event | Tyrant Studios 

Posted by UBC Players Club in Review
Much Ado About Nothing: Review

Much Ado About Nothing: Review

Pictured: Matthew Rhodes and Sophia Paskalidis as Claudio and Hero. Photo by Javier Sotres.

Jessica Kim

It’s hard to go wrong with Shakespeare. The story and the script is guaranteed after the test of many decades, and tickets will sell. But while it’s hard to fail, it’s even harder to nail. How can you make something from a vastly different time from ours relevant without it seeming like the same old thing over and over again?

UBC Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing directed by Lois Anderson takes a new approach to the well loved comedy. The design of the show seems cohesive at the first glance, the different elements melding together into the overall aesthetic of the show. Upon closer inspection, one can see how it actually doesn’t make any sense, yet it works, as if the pieces from the different time periods are meant to be shown together. The set is heavily influenced by Venice and a bit of Greece, but this is more evident in the costume design (Erica Sterry). The play is set in Venice in 2018, so the actors wear modern clothing throughout the play, but the party garb has them in beautiful masks reminiscent of the Venetian ones and robes and capes with a touch of French. It did seem a little off to put the “soccer players” (the change which wasn’t too crucial in the plot, but a necessary one since there are no wars Venetians are fighting right now.) in the robes, but they changed out of their gears shortly after the scene. It was wonderful to see the revolve up and running, and the revolving set (Jacqueline Gilchrist) of the dock and the estate of Dona Leonata was beautiful and well utilized. The lighting design (Erika Champion) was also exquisite, especially for the water and for Hero’s funeral.

Replacing seven of the male characters with female actors is not only practical (this class has a higher ratio of female students) but it also gives the show matriarchal power and therefore empowerment towards women, which is always quite hard to see in theatre and Shakespeare. The actors portray these powerful matriarchs, Donna Antonia (Drew Carlson) and Donna Leonata (Tebo Nzeku) with power and pizzazz. Graydon Clark as Benedick is hilarious and he knows very well how to move his body, gliding from one position to another (literally!) The sweet Claudio played by Matthew Rhodes is heartwarming and we become more and more invested in his love story with the lovely Hero (Sophia Paskalidis).

Will Claudio and Hero be able to confirm their love for each other? Will Benedick and Beatrice get together already? Come find out at the Freddie Woods until the 24th.

 

UBC Theatre’s Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is running at the Frederic Wood Theatre from November 8th to 24th, 7:30 PM Wednesday – Saturday.

 Tickets | Facebook Event | Frederic Wood Theatre

Posted by UBC Players Club in Review
The Wolves: Review

The Wolves: Review

Pictured: Jalen Saip and Paige Louter. Photo by Riun Garner.

Jessica Kim

I always don’t know who to relate to when it comes to teenage coming-of-age stories. None of the stereotypes fit me or my high school friends, and their issues seem unrealistic. Perhaps it’s the exaggeration of the American high school stereotypes or my strange school with much different values. Either way, it’s hard to appreciate the story and the characters fully.

The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe at Pacific Theatre, in association with Spoon Theatre directed by Jamie King was sadly no exception. The writing of the characters were flat and unrelatable. Too many characters’ stories were strung along a thin plot with random events popping up without warning. It was meant to be raw and authentic, but came off at times as crass and unrefined. However, the actors portrayed their given roles exceptionally well, including but not limited to Kim Larson as #00, Shona Struthers as #25, Montserrat Videla as #14, and of course, Paige Louter as #46.

Louter embodies the awkward and off-setting character down to the smallest of movements and the delivery of the choppy, anti-social lines. She has different interests and lead a different life from the rest of the girls, who at first seem threatening and mean. As the play goes by, the girls go through character development and changes, but as mentioned before there were too many characters and very little time for everyone’s stories. The set was simple with a green turf set up, and the chaos as the girls talk and practice was well shown while not being too distracting from the main conversation. The lighting was simple, but evoked emotions during the heavier transitions.

The role of #02 was played by the understudy, Anjela Magpantay, stepping in for Amanda Sum due to her injury. Which was a bit ironic considering what happens in the play. (spoiler alert!) Joking aside, with the limited time and resources Magpantay had access to, she did an exceptional job with the role.

The Wolves is about what it means to grow up and be in a team, but also accepting your differences. Catch the production at Pacific Theatre until November 10th.

 

The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe is running at Pacific Theatre from October 19th to November 10th, with 8pm Wednesdays-Saturdays with 2pm Saturday matinees.

Tickets | Facebook Event | Pacific Theatre

Posted by UBC Players Club in Review