A Q&A with Kevin McKendrick and Lindsey Angell about BUTCHER

A Q&A with Kevin McKendrick and Lindsey Angell about BUTCHER

Butcher, an edge-of-your-seat thriller from award-winning Canadian playwright, Nicolas Billon, opens March 21 at the Historic Theatre, and runs until March 31.

Early Christmas morning, on the doorsteps of a Toronto police station, Inspector Lamb discovers an unlikely bundle; a drugged and abandoned old man, who doesn’t speak any English, dressed in a strange military uniform. Atop his head a Santa hat, and around his neck a business card impaled on a butchers hook with the words, “Arrest me,” scrawled on it. Inspector Lamb begins an investigation into the identity of the stranger that will forever tie together the lives of four people: a lawyer, a translator, the stranger and the inspector.

 

We connected with Director, Kevin Mckendrick, and performer, Lindsey Angell, to ask them a few questions about bringing the hit show to The Cultch stage.

What excites you most about bringing Butcher to The Cultch stage?

Lindsey — Butcher has managed to get under my skin and I think it will truly draw our audiences in as well. It is deceptive and sneaky and even oddly charming at times, but be careful, you might get *hooked*…hehehe.

The Cultch has partnered with Amnesty International as a Community Partner for Butcher. Our Community Partners offer us the opportunity to spread the word about important issues at the same time as helping us spread the word about our shows. Knowing what you do about Amnesty International, do you feel that it is a good fit? Why?

Kevin — I think it’s an excellent partnership because Amnesty International wrestles with the issues in Butcher every single day. In her forward to the play Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice, and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda said, “When can victims find peace when justice is elusive?” and  “Can offenders find closure if punishment is not extended to them?” Are these not huge questions for our time? Real peace and closure, it is often said, can only come from forgiveness. It falls to organizations like A.I to help us find our way through these tangled questions.

Why do you think Butcher has hit such a chord across Canada since its debut?

Lindsey — Butcher is brave. It does not choose sides or lead its audience in any way. That kind of experience in live theatre is rare and exhilarating.

In an ideal world, what would you like audiences to take away with them after seeing Butcher?

Kevin — One of my mentors, the playwright  John Murrell, impressed upon me the idea that theatre must be provocative, yet entertaining. It’s a maxim I try to apply to every play I work on. I want audiences leaving Butcher at The Cultch to feel we exceeded their expectations. I want them to be  thrilled and moved by the experience. To be glad they left the comfort of their home to take in a play. And I want them to leave the theatre arguing about the themes of justice and revenge. The best theatre serves to help us strengthen our society by spurring us to make changes.

You have put together an all-star cast of performers and creators for this production. Lindsey, what do you think Butcher offers actors that other plays may not?

Lindsey — Butcher is unlike any show I have done before. I have spoken in dialects and even other languages but never have I been given the gift of learning an invented language (playwright, Nicolas Billon, had two linquistics professors from the University of Toronto invent the language of ‘Lavinian’ specifically for this play). This story is incredibly mysterious and the characters are fighting fiercely for what they need, creating a tension I have yet to experience on stage. That’s about all I can say without spilling any spoilers.

Butcher has some very serious themes — justice, revenge, forgiveness — Have there been many discussions during rehearsals? Do you think it will stir up debate with audiences?

Lindsey — Of course! We have turned this play over and over, hashing out the ideas and the arc of the story. It is our hope that the audience will discuss the piece passionately afterwards, not only the themes but their own personal response to the ride.

Is there anything else about putting on Butcher that you would like to say a few words about?

Kevin — I have been so fortunate to have this opportunity. To work on this fine Canadian play with this outstanding team of collaborators. And it is very gratifying to us to have The Cultch recognize the importance of Nicolas Billon’s play and afford us the opportunity to share it with Vancouver audiences.

Thank you Kevin and Lindsey!

To read more about Butcher check out this great article from the Vancouver Sun, a Q&A with Peter Anderson.


Butcher runs March 20-31 at the Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.


Written by: Nicolas Billon

Starring: Peter Anderson, Lindsey Angell, Noel Johansen, and Daryl Shuttleworth

Director: Kevin McKendrick

Artistic Associate: Christy Webb, Set Designer: David Roberts, Costume Designer: Jenifer Darbellay, Assistant Costume Designer: Alaia Hamer, Lighting Designer: Michael Hewitt, Original Music and Sound Design: Keith Thomas, Stage Manager: Joanne P.B. Smith, Makeup Consultant: Miss Nikki Ying, Student Apprentice: Leah Read

Official Website: www.butcherplay.com 

Partnering with Rosedale on Robson

Here at The Cultch, we not only want to give our patrons the best experience possible but we also want to ensure that all the artists who perform here thoroughly enjoy themselves.

Since 2001, our hotel partner Rosedale on Robson has helped us achieve this. Visiting artists, such as Ronnie Burkett or Bob Kingdom, are assured of a comfortable environment while they stay in Vancouver. Jodi Sprackman, the Director of Community Relations shared some thoughts about Rosedale’s history and its partnership with The Cultch.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Rosedale on Robson and its history?

The Rosedale is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year! We opened our doors on April 2, 1995 at the corner of Hamilton and Robson Streets even before the area became known as a haven for arts and sports enthusiasts.

As an all-suite hotel, we offer a selection of spacious one and two-bedroom suites that provide the comforts of home, including a fully equipped kitchenette and a separate living room. Artists love to stay with us because of these features, as well as our ideal location (we are in close proximity to a variety of theatres), and our friendly Guest Services Team.

Because artists tour so frequently, they really appreciate having a larger than average hotel room with a kitchen; essentially a place that feels like home.

As The Cultch’s hotel partner, is supporting the arts something that is important to you?

We’re passionate about supporting and promoting the arts in our community.

We’ve been a sponsor of a variety of cultural organizations and festivals of all sizes over the years that include dance, music, literature, comedy, and of course, theatre. We’re committed to playing a part in helping to enrich our cultural community.

Can you tell us a bit about the Rosedale’s role in supporting The Cultch? How did this partnership take shape?

The Cultch is an integral element of the arts community, and our partnership helps foster the commitment the Rosedale has to the overall promotion of culture and the arts in Vancouver. We greatly value our long-standing relationship with The Cultch; this is our 13th year as its hotel sponsor. We love welcoming The Cultch’s artists to the Rosedale!

 

Rosedale on Robson is located at 838 Hamilton Street.  If you know someone who wants to visit Vancouver and needs a comfortable place to stay, have them check in at Rosedale on Robson!

Partnering with Merchant’s Oyster Bar!

At The Cultch our aim is to offer our public the best theatrical experience possible.

Our catering partner, Merchant’s Oyster Bar, helps us transform show openings into unique evenings. The chef delights our taste buds with delicious canapés and fresh oysters. Francis Regio, the owner of Merchant’s Oyster Bar, shared with us his thoughts on his restaurant, his inspirations and why this partnership is important to him.

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Francis Regio and a guest at Merchant’s Oyster Bar

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 Could you tell us about Merchant’s Oyster Bar?

Merchants is a local neighbourhood restaurant that is dedicated to sourcing and serving local, organic, and sustainable ingredients and products. Our menu changes almost daily focusing on what is available seasonally. Our tasting menu can allow one to sample  what we our most proud of but our small plates menu and oyster bar gives flexibility to those looking to dabble in their hearts’ desires.

As The Cultch’s catering partner, is supporting the arts important to you?

Supporting the arts is definitely important to us, as is supporting our neighborhood. The surrounding businesses, as a whole, stand together creating a unique team that supports each other.

How did this process take shape?

We have always believed in what The Cultch sets out to do. Upon taking the location on the ‘Drive’, we found it mutually beneficial to partner with them to again better the neighbourhood. We see food as playful and artistic as well, so marrying with The Cultch was a no brainer!

What inspires the chef when he prepares canapés  for opening nights? 

Our chef looks to present canapés that can represent what we do in the restaurant. A small taste of what we can do…literally!

You give priority to using local products in your restaurant. Is being involved in the local community one of your goals?

As mentioned above, the local community is near and dear to our hearts. Products and ingredients combine with our partnerships and relationships beautifully. We could never have gotten to where we are now without the love and support of the community.

Merchant’s Oyster Bar is located at 1590 Commercial Drive. As part of our Cultch Preferred Restaurant Program, if you show your same day ticket stub you receive 15% off your total food bill. Or join us for an opening night reception and enjoy an evening to remember.