Q&A with the stars of DVOTE, Noam Gagnon and Nova Bhattacharya

Everybody at The Cultch is thrilled to welcome Noam Gagnon from Vision Impure (Vancouver) and Nova Bhattacharya from Nova Dance (Toronto) for the world premiere of their show DVOTE! The last show of our 13/14 season promises to be memorable! DVOTE offers an intimate world where longing and hope are magnified by the effort to find a connection between what was, what is, and what will be. In this first collaboration, Noam and Nova investigate the topics of spirituality and sexuality. We got a chance to catch up with two of Canada’s most innovative dance artists for an interview about their artistic process and chemistry.

We know you come from completely different worlds with different dance genres and inspirations, how did you decide to work together?

Nova & Noam: Yes, we are both from galaxies far, far away! Seriously though, we are both dance artists and we aren’t the first ones to boldly go into the studio with the assumption that as such we could communicate with each other and with an audience. We had a choreographic idea, we played around with it in the studio, and we decided that there was something there worth pursuing.

What do you like the most about each other’s dance style, and were you following each other’s work before beginning to create this show together?

Noam: I had heard lots about Nova as she had worked with a few of very close colleagues of mine but I had never seen her work. What I liked about her when we first met is her humour and her wit.

Nova: I’ve been watching Noam since the 90s. I love his explosive energy and how visceral and passionate his dancing is.

As shown on the poster, you will wear masks during your performances, which will make you blind from each other. What does it symbolize and how did you manage to dance while being blind?

Nova: The masks started as a device to bring the two of us onto the same page. If we were both “blinded” and destabilized, we hoped it would create a common ground. They then evolved into a metaphoric statement: when are we hiding? When are we revealing? When is it voyeuristic?

Noam: As Nova said the way it started was to create a common state beyond our known personal style of dance. Dancing with it is probably one of the hardest and most challenging tasks I have had to do. It’s an untamed beast with a life of its own, unwilling to be tamed. As for the metaphor for me, it is to reveal what is behind “the mask” and attempt to express what is invisible to the naked eyes.

What was the hardest thing about working together coming from such different backgrounds (contemporary dance and Bharatanatyam)?

Noam: Our very different views on how to generate and develop the theme of a work, and having to face a world of opposites in regards to our methods of accumulating movements into phrasing, and into creating structure. We created a work independently from one another since we were in different cities and that was a new experience for me.

Nova: My technical training is in bharatanatyam but for well over a decade I have been immersed in contemporary practice and have collaborated with many artists including Peggy Baker, José Navas, Louis Laberge-Côté and others whose techniques are different from mine. So the hardest thing about working together was not about background, but probably just the fact that we were trying to create a work while living in two different cities. We had a series of residencies in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec – it’s a challenging way to work – only coming together for short intense bursts.

The show investigates subjects such as spirituality and sexuality, what kind of audience do you think would enjoy this dance piece?

Noam: I honestly have no idea on this one, as this process could not have been farther from anything I have ever known; but that said there is a lot of HEART in this work and I hope it connects with theirs.

Nova: Spirituality and sexuality are not so much the subject matter as they were elements of conversation and inspiration that we drew on amongst others. I hope that anyone who has loved, or has wanted to love, will be moved by the images in the work.

DVOTE starts tonight and runs until May 31 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets arts at $18 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Nominations for the 32nd annual Jessie Richardson Awards

It’s that time of  year again – Jessie Award season! The nominations for the 32nd annual Jessie Richardson Awards were announced this week, and four productions from our 13/14 season have been nominated! The Jessie Awards celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements of the Vancouver professional theatre community. Congratulations to all the nominees, we can’t wait to hear the results! The shows from our 13/14 season that got nominated are listed below in their respective categories.

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Whose Life Is It Anyway? – Realwheels Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role – Small Theatre
Bob Frazer, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Realwheels Theatre

Outstanding Performance by and Actress in a Supporting Role – Small Theatre
Jennifer Lines, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Realwheels Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Small Theatre
Kyle Jesperson, Penelope, Rumble Theatre

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Uncle Vanya – Blackbird Theatre

Outstanding Lighting Design – Small Theatre
Adrian Muir, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Realwheels Theatre
Alan Brodie, Uncle Vanya, Blackbird Theatre

Outstanding Set Design – Small Theatre
Drew Facey, Penelope, Rumble Theatre
Jergus Oprsal, Inside The Seed, Up in the Air Theatre
Pam Johnson, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Realwheels Theatre

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Penelope – Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design – Small Theatre
Marti Wright, Uncle Vanya, Blackbird Theatre
Drew Facey, Penelope, Rumble Theatre

Outstanding Direction – Small Theatre
John Cooper, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Realwheels Theatre
Richard Wolfe, Inside The Seed, Up in the Air Theatre

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Inside The Seed – Up in the Air Theatre

Outstanding Production – Small Theatre
Inside The Seed, Up in the Air Theatre
Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Realwheels Theatre

Significant Artistic Achievement – Small Theatre
Inside The Seed, Up in the Air Theatre

Outstanding Original Script
Jason Rothery, Inside The Seed, Up in the Air Theatre

To see a full list of the nominations, visit the Jessies website. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, June 23 at the Commodore Ballroom. For tickets, click here.

IGNITE! Festival: An interview with Chalene Scott, director of ‘Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote’

Every year in May, The Cultch hands over its facilities to young artists in town to bring you the IGNITE! Festival. Chalene Scott is one of the three emerging directors selected from an application process this fall to participate in the IGNITE! Mentorship Program and direct the three new plays presented in the festival.

For the mentorship Scott was paired with director Stephen Drover (Penelope, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) for guidance along the way. Chalene is directing Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote written by emerging playwright Ronan K. Nanning Watson (also a participant, paired with mentor David Geary). The directors cast their own shows, found a crew to produce them, and will debut these brand new scripts starting next Monday in the Vancity Culture Lab. We had a chance to chat with Chalene about the play she is directing and the process she went through.

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Sean Fabisch, Deanna Rayne, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

Can you tell us a little bit about the play?

Mighty Qualified, Plenty Smote is a sort of surreal look at right and wrong. The main action revolves around a devil-figure, Staniel, trying to obtain a woman’s soul, but the woman, Liona, doesn’t believe in souls or the devil. We have a hero whose good intentions may have led her to do “wrong” things, and we have a classic villain who may be motivated by the purest ideals. So who’s right if everyone is wrong? On top of that, there’s a chorus of amoral and philosophizing child-mystics with no clear agenda, helping and hindering at will. The play explores themes of morality through blues music and sensationalism.

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Shon Burnett, Keren Katz, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

What drew you to this script?

The first immediate draw was that the script terrified me artistically. I had never done a show so incorporeal and transient in terms of setting and character. So, obviously, I had to direct it! Then there’s the lovely way Ronan (the playwright) plays with language and themes. I just sort of fell in love with it after the first reading.

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Keren Katz, Shon Burnett, and Chalene Scott – Photos by Maurice Tsai

What is something that surprised you about the IGNITE experience?

There have been many pleasant surprises thrown my way by IGNITE. I really had no idea what I was signing up for when I submitted my application. IGNITE takes  such good care of its participants! When I got the full schedule, I was surprised to see so many workshops aimed at forging the skills that young artists need to forward their projects, companies, or individual art. I think it’s amazing that the participants are supported not only in creating the art they were accepted into the program to create, but are also given the skill to continue creating afterwards.
Rob (Robert Leveroos, Youth Program Manager) has done an amazing job keeping everyone organized, but I was so pleased to see how much the youth panel is responsible for. I’m a huge advocate for giving youth the opportunity to experience responsibility in a safe environment before they have to deal with high stakes responsibility in the “real world”.

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Photos by Maurice Tsai

Tell us about working with your mentor Stephen Drover. Is there something you’ve learned that you can share with us?

Stephen’s been great to work with. He’s supportive in a very constructive way. If I come in with an idea and ask it it’s crazy, he won’t tell me what he thinks. Instead, he’ll give me a few more tools so I can decide for myself. I think the biggest lesson has been that there are no absolutes and when in doubt, I should trust my instincts. We have instincts for a reason and to ignore them is to spit in the face of artistic expression.

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Keren Katz, Beni Spieler , and Shon Burnett – Photos by Maurice Tsai

Your production marks a first in the IGNITE! Program, you’re working with three youth aged 10-11, tell us about that decision to work with such young performers.

After I got the script, I spent some time with it, as one does, and fairly immediately realized that the chorus could not have the same effect (in fact, their effectiveness would be significantly diminished) were I to cast adults, or even teenagers. There’s something weirdly gripping about seeing the devil pandering to a posse of preteens. I knew there would be extra challenges in casting kids so young, but ultimately, I knew it would be worth the effort. So far, I think I’m right.

 

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Sean Fabisch, Gauri Roy, Shon Burnett, Deanna Rayne, and Keren Katz – Photos by Maurice Tsai

How has it been to work with them? What can audiences expect when they come see your show?

They’re all wonderful to work with. The trickiest thing about the kid’s roles is that they really aren’t written for children. Audiences should not come in expecting to see a children’s show. The themes are mature and the young ones rarely get to say anything they’d be likely to say outside of the show. They’ve risen to the occasion beautifully, expounding strings of large, complicated ideas that I think, would sound weird coming out of anyone, let alone a ten-year-old.
There’s also some blues music and shadow-play in the show. Something for everyone! (Except small children. Don’t bring the kids. We have a few foul words.)

 

The show is part of the IGNITE! Theatre Festival, May 5-10.
Monday, May 5: Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote and The Lies We Tell 6 pm
Tuesday, May 6: Party Princess No. Five and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6 pm
Wednesday, May 7: The Lies We Tell and Party Princess Rule No. Five 6 pm
Thursday, May 8: The Lies We Tell and Party Princess Rule No. Five 6 pm
Friday, May 9: The Lies We Tell and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6pm
Saturday, May 10: Party Princess Rule No. Five, Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote and The Lies We Tell 2 pm
Saturday, May 10: Party princess No. Five and Mighty Qualified Plenty Smote 6 pm

Tickets start at just $2 and can be purchased online.
Full festival information at igniteyouthfest.ca

An interview with Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch

Mies Julie has been playing for almost three weeks and has been the breakout hit of our 13/14 season! This love/hate story between Julie, the daughter of a landowner and John, her father’s favourite black servant, in a conservative area of South Africa, is powerful and intense. Yael Farber, writer, and director of the play, is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim.

The reviews from both patrons and critics are coming in and they are all unanimous about the show: they love it! We caught up with Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, to get some insight about her decision to bring the show to The Cultch’s 13/14 season.

Heather RedfernWhen and where did you see Mies Julie for the first time?
Edinburg Festival Fringe 2012

7What made you pick the show for The Cultch’s 13/14 season, and how did you know it would be a good fit for audiences here in Vancouver?
It is one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I have ever seen and I knew Vancouver audiences would appreciate the quality and excellence of the artists involved and the importance of having this conversation about where we belong in our societies, how we treat each other when we do or do not have power, and how the ownership of land, or being disenfranchised from land, affects all societies everywhere causing wars and disenchantment. Because freedom was won 20 years ago it is important for people outside of South Africa to see just where the country is now. Mandela was a great man but he is only one story.

2Mies Julie is a multi award-winning show that got sensational reviews from New York to London. How does it feel to bring the Canadian premiere of the production to The Cultch?
It is a privilege for those of us who live in the Lower Mainland to have the Baxter Theatre and the wonderful artists who create this production in Vancouver. I am overwhelmed and honoured.

pic3_highres_cmykWe know that another South African play is coming to The Cultch for 14/15 season, Cadre by Chicago by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd in association with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg. Is there a reason why you’ve decided to program two South African production in two consecutive seasons?
Yes, it was very deliberate. I believe that one of the things we do here at The Cultch is stimulate dialogue over multiple seasons; that productions do not live in isolation but bounce off of each other and resonate throughout a season and across several years. Having Cadre in the season will deepen the dialogue we have with audiences that we began Mies Julie.

6How would you describe Mies Julie in three words?
STEAMY, BRAVE, STUNNING

Mies Julie runs at the The Historic Theatre from until April 19, 2014 at 8 pm. Tickets are from $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604.251.1363 or online.

 

Mies Julie critics and audiences abuzz!

Everyone’s talking about Mies Julie by Baxter Theatre Centre (South Africa), a powerful adaptation of Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie by the internationally acclaimed director Yael Farber. This amazing production has been touring for two years now, and has moved audiences here at The Cultch during its Canadian premiere.

It’s been the perfect time to bring this show to Vancouver, with April declared South African Month by the City of Vancouver. As part of that, we’ve been thrilled to have the Vancouver South African Film Festival as our Community Partner!

The positive comments about this show have been overwhelming! If you’re still wondering if you should come see this play, check out the rave reviews below:

It’s impossible to take your eyes off of Mies Julie”
Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“Mies Julie is an absolute stunner
Jerry Wasserman, The Province

It’s not to be missed
Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

“Mies Julie is a play that demands limitless courage
Steven Schilling, Montecristo Magazine

“Mies Julie takes us to the point where theatre stops becoming an act and truly becomes real life. In this, the play offers an entirely different theatre experience that is rare to find in Vancouver
Cecilia Lu, Vancity Buzz

“Not for the faint of heart, but South African play Mies Julie is brilliant. Disturbing, but brilliant! Go see it!”
Geraldine Eliot, @geraldineeliot

“Mies julie at The Cultch was tense, sexually charged and sad all at once
– Cindy Newman, @cindynewman

Just saw #miesjulie @TheCultch. Powerful performances
– Trina Davies, @TrinaLDavies

@yfarber @hmcronjester @TheCultch @mantsai saw the play on 27th in blore, must say…u won hearts of audiences. Too good! I came out crying”
– Pragya Prasun Singh @pragyaprasun

“Just watched Mies Julie the other day and I have to say it was AMAZING! So powerful and heart pounding. I spent the last 20 minutes on the edge of my seat pulse racing. The small cast of 4 were outstanding. I can not say enough good things about this play, you must see it”
– Kyle Pearson

Just was amazed. Beautiful production. Go see it before it’s gone. Stunning
– Michael Hedden

What a powerful show! Not an easy view but worth every second!
– Bruce McPherson

Do not miss the haunting performances and searing power in #MiesJulie @TheCultch. Go. GO
– Alexis Kellum-Creer, @AKellumCreer

“If you are fortunate enough you will go and see Mies Julie at @TheCultch before they leave us on the 19th. This is what theatre should be”
Kayvon Kelly, @KayvonKelly

Dear #YVR: You must go see Mies Julie at @TheCultch. It is absolutely superb and will take me a few days to process!
– Lois Dawson @SMLois

Just saw Mies Julie at @TheCultch @hmcronjester and @mantsai killed it. Go see it. #intense #emotional
– John deMercado @jdemo67

Many reasons to see Mies Julie at @TheCultch. One is the live saxophone – a low growl that sneaks up on your awareness like a fog. Awesome
– TJ Dawe, @TJ_Dawe

“Mies Julie is at @TheCultch until April 19. Powerful stuff, go see it! And go to one of the talk back performances it was fascinating
– Amanda Mitchell, @iheartcities

Mies Julie runs until Apr 19, 2014 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

Five things you (probably) didn’t know about L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres!

They’re back! Following the success of LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011 the idiosyncratic Quebec City musical collective – L’Orchestre d’Hommes-Orchestres(LODHO) – return to The Cultch to perform their newest show Cabaret Brise-Jour (playing until Sunday, April 6). Set in a high-society salon of the early 20th century, eight musicians borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill to sing about the best and worst of the human condition. To celebrate their return, we’ve compiled five facts you (probably) didn’t know about this critically acclaimed company and their run here at The Cultch.

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LODHO Performs Tom Waits in 2011

1. As we’ve previously mentioned, this is not L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres first time at The Cultch. The company was part of our 11/12 season with their show L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres Performs Tom Waits which received unanimous praise! LODHO’s newest show, Cabaret Brise-Jour, is much darker in tone, taking place on a set that resembles a post-apocalyptic thrift store. Check out our blog article from their first time at The Cultch here.

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Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, in front of the York Theatre

2. This time around, L’orchestre d’homme-orchestres will perform at our newest venue – the York Theatre! Something you may not have known is that the York was once a thriving music venue. During its punk rock days the venue hosted bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth! The York’s rich history as a music venue will certainly add a bit of edge to Cabaret Brise-Jour as they borrow from the repertoire of Kurt Weill!

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Robert Lepage

3. In the beginning of 2014, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres was chosen by Robert Lepage to receive the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize! They are only the eighth recipient ever to receive this prestigous award. Have a look at this video extract from their new show to see why they deserved the prize.

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Simon Drouin – L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

4. LODHO is known for creating unique musical instruments from everyday life objects. In their new show one of their masterpieces is a giant chandelier made up of turkey basters!

Instead of putting candles and crystals on it, we put recorder flutes, with turkey basters on the end. Every time you pump the turkey baster, there’s a little bit of air going through the flute, and that’s how we play one of the songs” – Danya Ortmann, L’orchestre d’hommes-orchestres

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Kurt Weill

5. Cabaret Brise-Jour is inspired by the music of Kurt Weill, the great composer who collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the Threepenny Opera! In a Franco-German-English mix, the eight musicians-singers-actors explore the horrors of war and the lights of Broadway, both part of Kurt Weill’s tumultuous life.  Here’s a video extract from oneof Weill’s work, Tschaikowsky from Lady in the Dark (1940), words Ira Gershwin.

Cabaret Brise-Jour runs until April 6, 2014 at the York Theatre. Tickets starts at $18 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363.

Mies Julie opening night photos!

Last week we were proud to host the long awaited Canadian premiere of Mies Julie by Baxter Theatre Centre (South Africa). Critics and patrons didn’t take long to voice their opinion about this scintillating production. The Georgia Straight wrote that “it is impossible to take your eyes off Mies Julie” and Jo Ledingham said that “it is not to be missed”!

We hope you enjoy our opening night photos below (taken by one of our wonderful volunteers, Nena Pierre) and a big congratulations to the cast, crew, and artistic team of Mies Julie.

Maureen Flemming, our Business Development Consultant with Nicole McLuckie, our Director of Patron Development, welcoming the guests

Maureen Fleming, our Business Development Consultant with Nicole McLuckie, our Director of Patron Development, welcoming the guests

Emily Stuible with her friend Emma Wolchok

Emily Stuible with her friend Emma Wolchok

Our guest speaker David Chudnovsky with Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch and Jenn Graham, Head Front of House and Volunteer Coordinator

Our guest speaker David Chudnovsky with Heather Redfern, Executive Director of The Cultch and Jenn Graham, Head Front of House and Volunteer Coordinator

Borja Brown, our Production Manager with Nosipho Bophela, Stage Manager for 'Mies Julie'

Borja Brown, our Production Manager with Nosipho Bophela, Stage Manager for Mies Julie

Marianne Landers, Frank Constanzo, Annalies Camfferman and Dyane Lynch

Marianne Landers, Frank Costanzo, Annalies Camfferman, and Dyane Lynch

Zoleka Helesi, playing Christine, with Bongile Mantsai, playing John

Zoleka Helesi, playing Christine, with Bongile Mantsai, playing John

Mark Leiren-Young with Donna Wong Juliani

Mark Leiren-Young with Donna Wong Juliani

One of our volunteers, Bob Nath, with Hilda Cronje, playing Julie

One of our volunteers, Bob Nath, with Hilda Cronje, playing Julie

Mies Julie runs until April 19, 2014  at the Historic Theatre. Tickets starts at $31 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363.

Ten Things You Need To Know About ‘Underbelly’

Underbelly is on now at The Cultch  and to get you even more excited about this fantastic show, we have compiled a list of the ten things you need to know about Underbelly!

Award1. Underbelly is the 2012 winner of the Cultchivating the Fringe Award! Presented once a year, this award is granted to a performance from the Vancouver Fringe Festival that demonstrates a strong potential for further development by granting the performance a spot in the upcoming Cultch season. It’s no surprise Underbelly won when…

Robot12. This is Jayson McDonald’s FIFTH touring solo show. This writer and performer has made his rounds before. Underbelly is the latest in a long line of shows that also includes Giant Invisible Robot. And speaking of Giant Invisible Robot

UNderbelly23. Jayson McDonald won the Georgia Straight Critics’ Pick….two years in a row! Giant Invisible Robot took home the prize in 2011 and came back in 2012 to take the award again with Underbelly. It seems Jayson McDonald is doing something right whether he is writing about invisible friends or…

Lastfarewell5. The Beat Generation! Underbelly takes its inspiration from the literary and cultural revolution that evolved from the events before and during 1950s. Questioning the old traditions and conventions and influenced by the new jazz scene, the Beat Generation explored a new, honest way of expression. The term ‘The Beat Generation’ was coined by none other than…

jack6. Jack Kerouac, well known author of On the Road. The most well known author of the Beat Generation, Kerouac fell to the pressure of the fame and attention his one success gave him. Kerouac and his friend…

Allen7. Allen Ginsberg, one of the first Beat poets and lasting mentor, appears in Underbelly but it is the third of this circle of friends that Jayson McDonald chooses to portray…

Burroughs8. The odd man out, William S. Burroughs.  The oldest of the three and the junkie struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, Burroughs defied the linear narrative in his work, and lived recklessly in his life. Using this as inspiration Jayson McDonald creates a ‘fevered hallucination’ with…

Underbelly_Mike9. Some of the finest spoken word poetry you will hear. Fans of slam poetry and spoken word rejoice! The words in this piece are no mere reproduction from a beatnik who only dresses and looks the part. Jayson McDonald’s words evoke the poetic and bold era of the Beat Generation. And finally…

Underbelly10. If Cindy Reid, The Cultch managing director, managed to stay awake the whole time during a 10:30pm showing of Underbelly at the Vancouver Fringe in 2012, it must be an amazing show!

Underbelly runs at The Cultch until March  30, 2014 at 8pm in the Vancity Culture Lab. All tickets just $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363 or online.

The Inspiration Behind ‘Whose Life Is It Anyway?’: An Interview with James Sanders

The Cultch is happy to host Whose Life Is It Anyway? by Brian Clark, the latest production by Realwheels Theatre, now playing until March 22! The show has  already gotten great reviews! Fun Fun Vancouver said the play “will entertain you, but more importantly, challenge you”.  This is part two of our interview with  James Sanders, Founding Artistic Director of Realwheels Theatre, about the inspiration behind Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Your current production Whose Life Is It Anyway? is about a sculptor who, paralyzed from the neck down after a car accident, fights for the right to die. I understand that you have a personal connection to this play. Can you tell me more about why you wanted to produce it?

It was one of the pieces of film that I researched to see what stories were being told about disability. It greatly inspired me to see a high lesion quadriplegic fighting for the right to die. I cheered on his victory even though it meant his death because, to me, it was a victory about personal rights and, essentially, the right to live seemed extremely powerful at the time. At that point I was 21 years old and not age-appropriate to do the story. Flash forward to 2010 and I revisited the notion and decided that it was the right time the stage this production. Little did I know the incredible relevance that it would have this day in the community of people who are fighting for these rights on a daily basis.

Bob Frazer is playing the sculptor who is paralyzed in the play. This is also his third show with Realwheels Theatre. Could you tell me more about his connection with Realwheels Theatre?

Bob and I have been dear friends for almost 25 years. We have intimate knowledge of each other and it was a conversation on my balcony about the pursuit of excellence in theatre that would inspire us to create Skydive. Bob has been involved in every one of our professional productions and, I hope, will continue to be engaged with Realwheels Theatre for years to come in some capacity or another. I have been in many positions where I have had to trust Bob implicitly with my life. This, again, is one of those times. I trust Bob to accurately represent disability with the genuine craft of acting that will hopefully become another one of Bob’s great performances in his overall body of work.

What are you hoping audiences will take away with them after seeing Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Perhaps a moment to consider their own relationship with death, the difficult challenges facing its inevitability and the opportunity, if it presents itself, to have a choice in the last matter of time. It is hopefully going to be a conversation starter and an opportunity for people to consider their present beliefs and ways to challenge them. On a side note, I hope that the presence of the character with a disability will serve, in some capacity, to bring the audience closer to the disability experience when they encounter disability in their day-to-day lives.

Whose Life Is It Anyway? runs at The Cultch until March 22, 2014 at 8 pm in the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $18 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363 or online.

Insights from the creative minds behind ‘Me So You So Me’: Tiffany Tregarthen & David Raymond

The Cultch is happy to be presenting the unique dance piece Me So You So Me by Out Innerspace until Mar 1, 2014.

Want to learn more about the creative process and influences behind the show? Check out the interview with creators Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond below!

I understand that Me So You So Me was highly influenced by the music of the renowned percussionist Asa Chang from Japan. Could you tell us how you discovered his work, and how it came to influence your dance piece?

We first were introduced to Asa Chang’s music in 2006 at the same time that we were living in Antwerp and creating the building blocks for our collaboration as Out Innerspace. Japanese percussionist Asa Chang founded the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and later joined programmer and guitarist Hidehiko Urayama and tabla player U-zhaan to create genre defying music with a portable sound system called Jun-Ray Tronics. The percussive patterns of Japanese and English text with Indian tabla and experimental electronic sound production is composed meticulously in a way that transcends borders and predisposed ways of telling and listening to stories through music. The female and male text have an incredibly intricate rhythmic relationship that is conceptually rich and otherworldly.  We were blown away and collected every Asa song we could find.

Where did your inspiration for Me So You So Me come from?

Me So You So Me is plucked from our daily life as a couple, re-imagined through an eclecticism of hand-picked cultural, aesthetic, popular and personal influences. We collaged everything from the family dog, Popeye, Astro Boy, Araki Nobuyoshi, as DNA for our characters, as DNA for dance making. We watched a load of cartoons specifically for the accepted violence, animated psychosis and extreme story telling. Everyday we closed our eyes and listened to Asa’s music and described to each other what we felt and saw and everyday these emerging alter-egos invaded our domestic performances as a couple. Eventually even brushing our teeth and arguing became outrageous and therapeutic acts of dance research.

Can you describe how you worked in the studio, the methods you used?

In studio we pursued an almost dogmatic application of music in hopes that it would challenge us to create new movement vocabulary pushed by the unpredictability, density and richness of Asa’s composition. This extreme dedication to the music was at times a downright exhausting process but it asked us to focus deeply on the places and ways we find inspiration, the methods we use to take inspiration into creation, and the way we express and embody the result. We rely heavily on our contrastive voices and rigour to stretch our instincts and foundations and to commit to our imaginations. It was important to us to never once stop considering the body as an unlimited and unchartered resource for the music and our ideas to be physical.

How did you decide on the title for the show?

We wanted to challenge ourselves to expose real content of our relationship through loveable and lethal beings; caricatures of our inner monsters, children, animals…to show the ways we are most different or alike. We asked ourselves How do you see me? Who do I want to be to you, with you, for you?…and with a little help and time we titled the work Me So You So Me.

Will this experience change the way you create dance pieces in the future?

We were thrust into a new level of experimental and inventive territory by committing so wholly to the music and it has changed the way that we continue to make dance. Though we won’t always use music this way, we are thriving on the shared research process and language it has opened up to us.

Me So You So Me by Out Innerspace runs at The Cultch from until Mar 1 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets are from $18 and can be purchased online http://bit.ly/MAaAvA, or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.