Arts : theatre
Almost, Maine opens at Pacific Theatre
by Keri Vermeulen
Just in time for the onset of winter, Pacific Theatre brings to their stage a charming play, whose story is sure to thaw our hearts with the tender touch of love.
Almost, Maine is set under cold northern skies, and weaves a magical tapestry of the joys and perils of romance, in one night. As the northern lights appear, a little magic illustrates how far away – and how close – we can be to one another. John Cariani’s cozy anthology follows the residents of the fictional town of Almost as they grapple with the ins and outs of love in all its stages, from infatuation to heartbreak.
Five actors play 19 characters, spread out in pairs from the town’s local bar to the quiet edge of a frozen pond. Director Kaitlin Williams is excited to tackle the play, one of the most frequently produced theatre pieces in North America. “Almost, Maine is a charming, winsome and challenging examination of the magic world of love and romantic relationships. In this life there is not much riskier than giving your heart to another human. Each scene examines this risk as the characters fumble to connect and love each other well. Their stories are achingly familiar, hilarious and sweet. I’m inspired and delighted by the cast and design team we’ve assembled and I’m eager to play with all of them.” Williams, a Pacific Theatre veteran actress and designer, is stepping into the director’s chair for the first time.
“I love the light-heartedness of this one,” says PT’s Artistic Director Ron Reed. “The quirky world it creates … is so right for stories about falling in love.” The crisp energy is reflected throughout the design, built to mirror the snowy expanse of a New England winter. The show will be scored with live music by Jalen Saip.
Says Williams: “We’ve got some magic up our sleeves for this one. I hope the audience is surprised, I hope they laugh and I hope we crack their hearts.”
Almost, Maine features performances by Peter Carlone, Kim Larson, Giovanni Mocibob, Baraka Rahmani, and Jalen Saip. Set and Lighting Design by Lauchlin Johnston. Costume Design by Amy McDougall.
Almost, Maine plays Nov. 24 to Dec. 6, Wednesday through Saturday, at 8 pm with 2 pm matinees Saturdays. At Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Ave (at Hemlock), Vancouver. For tickets, visit pacifictheatre.org or call 604.731.5518
Peter and the Starcatcher at Gallery 7
by Angelika Dawson
I had seen productions of Peter and the Starcatcher on a couple of occasions and thought the sense of fun, theatricality and adventure found in the show really appealing. Plus, the show is a great follow-up to our production of Peter Pan from a few years back. The fact the show is family friendly and has decent name recognition made it a great fit for G7.
Thematically, the show explores classic ideas about good and evil, what it means to be a hero and so on. The show delights in telling the stories of how a young orphan becomes the legendary Peter Pan, as well as how Tinkerbell and the evil Captain Hook came to be. I think the play also celebrates the imagination and the power of youth, friendship and even love. At the same time, it also explores the darker side of our desire to remain perpetually young – what does it mean to truly grow up? And is it necessary to grow up?
Peter and the Starcatcher is based on the book called Peter and the Starcatchers. The play is very theatrical and invites audiences to have a lot of fun through the engagement of their imaginations to help fill in the gaps. More than that, though, the production is designed around a ‘poor theatre’ concept where props and sets are used creatively to become multiple things – one moment a set piece is a pirate ship and the next, it’s an island. The actors create sound effects and become objects themselves, which results in a lot of hilarity and fun for the audience. Plus, our 18 performers will play up to 100 characters by the time the curtain falls. Talk about fun!
We live in a time where people like to know how someone came to be who they are. The backstory has become just as fascinating as the actual story. Prequels allow us to continue living in the imaginary worlds we’ve come to know and love. When I first read the novelization of Star Wars way back and learned more about how the empire and the republic came to be, I thought, “Man, there are some good stories there that could be turned in to awesome movies.” Too bad Lucas kind of bunted on the prequels because I think they could have been so much more. And that’s coming from a major fan! I think we fall in love with certain worlds, stories and characters because there is so much depth to them and because they’ve become our second homes or family. Any chance we get to go back and explore further is really awesome!
Bring the family, bring the neighbours. This going to be a fun show and a great way to enjoy some cheer during those dark November nights.
Nov 10 – 18, 7:30 pm, with matinees Nov 11 & 18 at 2 pm, at Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way. www.gallery7theatre.com
Copenhagen at SAMC at TWU in Langley
Written by Michael Frayn, directed by Lloyd Arnett. What took place during the secret meeting between WWII nuclear theorists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg? This (very timely) play imagines the lively conversation between the Danish and German physicists as they count the cost of entering the nuclear age. Dangerous ideas collide like subatomic particles. Who is to blame for the bomb?
Nov. 21 – Dec. 2 at SAMC Theatre at TWU