Behind The Wonderheads

We are thrilled to have the Wonderheads back at The Cultch for their presentation of Loon, running until November 23 in the Historic Theatre. If you missed their presentation of Grim and Fischer in 2013 be sure not to miss this one! The Wonderheads are an award-winning physical theatre company specializing in mask performance and exquisite visual storytelling for both adults and children. Their work is performed in hand-crafted full-face mask; a wordless style that has been described as watching a living cartoon.

Loon

 

Loon tells the whimsical story of Francis, a lovelorn cinema janitor. The Wonderheads step into the life of this lonely man and look for love. In this strange and beautiful story, we are left wondering, can a man truly love the moon?

“A magnificent mix of puppetry, mime, soundscape and mask-work that gives the life of a poor urban schlemiel such dignity and pathos, you can’t help but be moved, first to laughter, then to tears.”
– Edmonton Journal

“Genius both in concept and execution doesn’t begin to describe what Braidwood and Phoenix accomplish.
– Calgary Sun

Check out another great review here from the Winnipeg CBC.

If you’re interested in who is behind the Heads, listen to this podcast with Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix and find out how the Wonderheads met, how they were inspired by mask work, and how their shows have evolved over time.

Also, here is a really fun video of how the masks are made by Kate Braidwood titled Behind the Heads: Making a Mask.

 

Funeral home partners up with The Cultch for Grim & Fischer

By Ricky Choi

Death meets his match in Mrs. Fischer, a tenacious granny not ready to breathe her last breath.

This week, Grim & Fischer (the 2011 recipient of the Cultchivating the Fringe Award) makes its Vancouver return! Visiting us from Portland, Oregon, this surreal but tenderly presented work of imagination and whimsy brings us one woman’s fight for survival in a showdown with Death himself. Something that you may not have known is that Dignity Memorial, a funeral service provider, is the production sponsor for Grim & Fischer. We were lucky enough to catch up with Forest Lawn & Ocean View Funeral Homes’ General Manager Michael Hedden to find out about his experience at Dignity Memorial, and why this partnership is such a good fit.

Could you tell us about Dignity Memorial and your role as general manager?

Forest Lawn & Ocean View Funeral Homes’ General Manager Michael Hedden

Dignity Memorial is a network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers. All of our services are designed to help families through one of the most personal and challenging stages of life. We understand losing a loved one is an emotional and difficult experience, and we are committed to helping families with compassionate, professional and personal service. As the General Manager of two funeral homes and a crematorium under the Dignity brand I am responsible for leading a team dedicated to helping families honour a life lived.

As the production sponsor for Grim & Fischer, what role do you see Dignity Memorial playing in supporting the arts?

At Dignity Memorial we believe every life has a unique and special story to tell. The arts represent a form of story telling, so it’s really a natural fit. When we celebrate a life lived we perform traditional ceremony, we listen to music and reflect on visuals all with the intention of honouring a unique journey.

Did you ever imagine that Dignity Memorial would be involved with an arts organisation? How did this process take shape?

Dignity Memorial is an active participant in the Arts community with sponsorship and collaboration with dance companies, theatre and music. Living life to its fullest means getting out there and participating in the communities we live in. Our dedicated staff not only support the arts but participate in local theatre, bands, community charities and wellness activities.

What are some misconceptions about working in the funeral business?

Common misconceptions? Well most people forget that funerals are really for the living.

In Grim & Fischer, an aging grandmother is pit against the Grim Reaper and must confront the inevitable question that we all face: what is it to know your end is nigh? Do you wish to share any insight into this question?

Well, here’s the thing about being a funeral professional, seldom do I actually meet the person for whom we are creating a service for. I meet their family and loved ones and through the creation of a service gain insight into who they were and how they lived their life. Personally, when it’s my time I hope to be exhausted from fully participating in a rich meaningful existence.

For more information on Dignity Memorial please visit: www.dignitymemorial.ca

Grim & Fischer runs at The Cultch until January 13. Tickets are $30 and are available online at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at 1895 Venables St.