Tuesday, October 28, 2014

the rainmaker | halloween special

This Halloween you shouldn't have to choose between dressing up and seeing a play.  So we're giving you a deal: wear your finest plaid shirt to THE RAINMAKER on Friday night, and we'll give you 30% off your tickets.


Here are the details:

THE RAINMAKER Halloween Promotion
Friday, October 31 at 8pm ONLY
Wear a plaid shirt and get at-door tickets for 30% off
Subject to availability, and your plaid must be obviously recognizable to the box office staff.

Monday, October 27, 2014

nov 7-30 | facts | arthur milner

We produced Milner's play LEARNING TO LIVE WITH PERSONAL GROWTH back around 1992, with Ron and Judy Buchan Robinson in the cast, Morris Ertman directing at the Gateway Studio Theatre. Now United Players are bringing another of his plays to Vancouver! Email from him below.


Dear western friends,

I’m pleased to inform you about the United Players production of Facts, in Vancouver, opening November 7.

Facts is a murder mystery, set in the Palestinian West Bank. It opened in Ottawa in 2010, and has since been performed in Toronto; Palestine and Israel (in Arabic); London, U.K.; and Istanbul (in Turkish).

A few reviews from London …

Time Out — four stars, Critics’ Choice
— tensions rise until ideologies and resentments pour out like sweat ... a deservedly brilliant UK premiere ... striking in its lucidity

Financial Times — four stars
— taut and volatile … a pressure cooker ... a powerful piece that digs deep

Middle East Monitor
— refreshing ... lightening humour

Theatre Guide London
— An intense psychological drama, a meticulous police procedural, a history lesson ... all these in a high-energy ninety minutes.

Looking forward to seeing you …

Arthur

Facts by Arthur Milner
Nov 7-30 at United Players
Info here.

the rainmaker | forward by n. richard nash

N. Richard Nash, the playwright of THE RAINMAKER, wrote a beautiful forward in the published edition of the script about the impact of a drought.


When drought hits the lush grasslands of the richly fertile west, they are green no more and the dying is a palpable thing. What happens to the verdure and vegetation, to cattle and livestock can be read in the coldly statistical little bulletins freely issued by the Department of Agriculture. What happens to the people of the west—beyond the calculable and terrible phenomena of sudden poverty and loss of substance—is an incalculable and febrile kind of desperations. Rain will never come again; the earth will be sere forever; and in all of heaven, there is no promise of a remedy.

Yet, men of wisdom like H.C. Curry know to be patient with heaven. They know that the earth will not thirst forever; they know that one day they will again awaken to a green morning. Young people like Lizzie, his daughter, cannot know this as certainly as he does. Bright as she is, she cannot know. She can only count the shooting stars, and hope.

-Forward from the print edition of THE RAINMAKER, published by Samuel French

Thursday, October 23, 2014

oct 29-nov 9 | hamlet at the shop

Several friends-of-PT are involved in this production of HAMLET, featuring a female actor in the lead role.  Looks like a really interesting interpretation of this classic work.  It's also entirely worth checking out their Facebook event page - they've done up some truly clever graphics to bring the story into modern times. 


So shall you hear of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, of accidental judgements, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and forc’d cause, and in this upshot, purposes mistook fall’n on th’inventors’ heads.

All this can we truly deliver.

Wednesday October 29 – preview 7pm
October 30-Nov 9 - 7pm performances

Directed by Kailey & Sam Spear

Cast:
HAMLET Libby Osler
CLAUDIUS Greg Delmage
GERTRUDE Katherine Young
POLONIUS Toph Marshall
HORATIO Chris Walters
OPHELIA Starlise Waschuk
LAERTES - Annette Reilly
GHOST Jeffrey Renn
ROSENCRATNZ - Kaylin Metchi
GUILDENSTERN Tosh Sutherland
MARCELLA Katalina Bernards
PORTIA aka PLAYER QUEEN Priyatharshini Raja
ROSALIND aka PLAYER Janette Bundic
DEMETRIUS aka PLAYER James Dolby
GRAVEDIGGER 1/ ENSEMBLE Tracy Schut
GRAVEDIGGER 2/ FRANCISCA Sarah Kathryn Young
BARNARDO Andrew Gillingham
ENSEMBLE Stephanie Cho
ENSEMBLE Natasha Wehn

More info: http://hamletattheshop.wordpress.com/
Tickets: http://theshophamlet.brownpapertickets.com

the rainmaker | interview with ron reed

An interview with THE RAINMAKER's director, Ron Reed.



Tell me about your first encounter with The Rainmaker.

I was in grade 11 in high school and Theatre Calgary put the play on. I was completely enamored. Then my high school drama teacher had us each do a monologue, and I did one from that play.
My grade 12 year we did The Rainmaker, and it was one of those most memorable high school experiences that sticks with you. I wanted to play Starbuck, but of course even at that age I was playing old people, so I was HC.

Since then I’ve taught acting a lot and in most of my classes we’ve used one scene in the play. I love that play.

As a play you have loved for so long, why didn’t you produce it earlier?

You know, a few reasons. It’s got seven actors, and we used to really be constricted from doing large-cast shows like that. It’s still tricky, but once a season or so we can kind of make it work. And this season the other two shows have two and three actors, so we can make it work.

Generally, Pacific Theatre tends to gravitate towards really substantial, thought provoking, potentially controversial pieces that explore the depths of spirituality and ethical dilemmas. This play is not that. It’s a lovely play, and we don’t do so much straight up lovely, well made, classic plays. That’s another reason it’s taken so long.

The reason why I’m doing it now starts with last year’s apprentices. Ryan Scramstad did a Starbuck monologue for his audition and it was really strong. With that in my head, the next to audition was Pippa Johnstone, and I realized she would be the perfect Lizzie. So I started scheming about doing it with Pippa as Lizzie, and then as I got to know the other two apprentices I realized they would be perfect as Lizzie’s two brothers. Then the cast just began to emerge and they were so perfect – to begin the season with the apprentices who had just completed was perfect.

What are the challenges of this play?

Challenge one was to get a cast that really was right. Turned out not to be that big of a challenge because we have some pretty great people around. There were a couple of roles I read a lot of people for, but my problem there was that there were a lot of people who could do the role. But there you just start judging by how different people connect with each other and what happens and we got magic.

It’s a straightforward, beautiful play, and I think the actors can be truthful and talk to each other and we’ll just try to create the situation where their job is to live in the world of the play and be the human beings that they are in that story.

Are you doing anything different with this staging?

We’re busting out of the scenic realism the play would usually have. We’re evoking something more poetic that way. We’ve got John Webber designing so I think we’re in good hands.

There is a straight-forwardness about the characters and the story and most people just make it in a ranch house. Ranch houses are an evocative setting and that’s fine, but I come from the prairies and there’s such a sense of the sky and the earth. Especially when you’re on a farm. There’s the farmhouse, and maybe a cluster of farm buildings, and then there’s this mass of space. So in our little room I wanted to evoke that.

We’ve really stepped away from a naturalistic thing, and we really took our cue from the playwright. In 1954 he wrote in the introduction and said that everybody, right down to the ushers, needs to know that this is a Romance. A capital “R” Romance – Romantic. And there’s a poetry there. So we’ll take that further than they would have in 1954, not in the acting, but the setting.

We’ve really stripped the realistic elements down to the bare essentials. We even gave up things we wanted to have on stage but we wanted it as open as can be. If I could stage the play in the middle of a ranch out in the field and just put the furniture pieces there and the audience could stand around and watch, I would. But not even see each other. There’s no walls or anything. That’s my ideal. So we’re trying to get as close to that as we can in our 20x20 theatre.

The values of the play could be called “old fashioned”, how do you respond to that?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a play that was about me and my values and my relationships. That’s not what I go to the theatre for. I get enough of me at home. I go to see what was life like then, what’s life like for him, what’s life like in that country.

This takes us to a place that I get, that I understand. Lizzie feels broken up for being unmarried at 30. Well, people still feel that way. I know plenty of them. Or maybe it’s not marriage but worrying nobody’s ever going to find you attractive – I’ve felt that way. And that’s Lizzie’s plight. I think it’s very human. The feelings of “I failed at this, there’s nobody for me.” And that’s fine if you don’t want anybody, but if you do, that’s got to hurt.

And I now identify with the dad. Somebody said “you’re only as happy as your least happy child at any moment”, and there is HC and his daughter is broken hearted.

Is there something that you’re most looking forward to about this now?

I’m most looking forward to the play and the actors. I’m also actually using the same source of music that we used in my high school production, which is the music of Aaron Copeland. Because it’s pure Americana and it’s beautiful and romantic and soaring. I’ve got some solo piano stuff I’d never heard before.

It was the right choice in 1974 in Lord Beaverbrook High School in Calgary and it’s the right choice in 2014 at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

oct 21-nov 1 | the illusion | twu

Our friends at TWU are opening their first show of the season!


THE ILLUSION at TWU

Dads and kids have been butting heads since the 17th century, it seems. Offering a magical take on the pitfalls of parenting, The Illusion tells the tale of one man’s search to be reunited with his son before it’s too late. Onstage at Trinity Western University from October 21 to November 1, this fantasy adventure brings together action, romance, and a powerful story about family.

A long time ago, in a fairy-tale land far away, a grieving father asks a mysterious illusionist to show him the life of his prodigal son, banished for 15 years. In the dazzling illusion that follows, we watch the struggle of our young hero, Calisto. As he fights to make his fortune and win the woman he loves, Calisto must dodge the perils of an unforgiving world—and the consequences of his own mistakes.

Playing October 21 through November 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, with 2:00 p.m. Saturday matinees. Join us on the second Tuesday for a Q&A talkback with the cast.

For tickets and information, visit www.twu.ca/theatre or call 604.513.2121 extension 3872.

the rainmaker | cast change

Next week there will be a change in THE RAINMAKER - Ron Reed will be taking over the role of H.C. from Andrew Wheeler.


In order to allow Andrew Wheeler to accept a role in the Firehall Arts Centre's production of URINETOWN, Ron has agreed to take over the role for the final week of performances. This is an amicable decision, made in conjunction with Donna Spencer at the Firehall and the entire team at here PT to support Andrew's career and the work of our colleagues at Main and Cordova.

On the opportunity to play both roles, Andrew said, “Ron’s generosity has allowed me to explore the theme of ‘lack of water resources’ from two unique perspectives in two very different worlds. I am extremely grateful to Ron, Pacific Theatre, and my fellow cast mates for the extra load they have taken on in order to allow this work for me.”

Ron expresses a mixture of excitement and nerves: “It’s a daunting challenge; I’ve watched Andrew in rehearsal, all day every day for three weeks, and those are big cowboy boots to fill! But when Andrew raised the possibility, I knew I had to take the opportunity. To live in that play again, forty years after playing the role in high school. A play I loved so much, with a cast of actors I so enjoy. But now actually being the age of H.C., knowing what it is to be a father, knowing what it is to see your life’s work in jeopardy, it seems like something I have to do.”

So attend the week of Oct 29-Nov 1 and see Ron reprise the role he played at his high school 40 years ago!

the rainmaker | responses


"There’s beauty in this simplicity, and it’s rooted in language, which the play uses in both florid and simple ways ... Persuasively, director Ron Reed and his company hold this material in an affectionate embrace. Ryan Scramstad is hilarious as the slow-witted Jim. Scramstad makes the guy as fresh and sweet as a new ear of corn and he gets his laughs by speaking his lines with utter sincerity. Andrew Wheeler’s H.C. is the salt of the earth and so full of affection for Lizzie that it’s heartbreaking. John Voth’s File is the most contained characterization of the evening, and a lovely case study in just how naturalistically this material can be played. And relative newcomer Pippa Johnstone impresses as Lizzie; the role is pivotal and the play’s naive style is difficult but Johnstone consistently makes emotional sense of it." | Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight


"A magnificent production of a brilliant classic. I had forgotten the depth of perception and emotion the script contains. The actors conveyed these qualities with tender strength." | Anne-Marie Epp, audience response

"Salvador’s performance is slickly enjoyable. Until almost the end he doesn’t let us know whether this guy is for real or not. Johnstone does a very nice job with Lizzie, too, showing her vulnerability and insecurity as well as her strength." | Jerry Wasserman, VancouverPlays.com

"The Rainmaker is such a fine production in the most perfect of venues. I really enjoy the intimacy of the Pacific Theatre. The set is solidly effective. The squeaky screen door, the dusty/dirty floors. The room was indeed a bit on the warm side, but heck, we were in a drought. Everything about the set was just perfectly considered and placed. The music fit into the production with precision. I found the story itself to be powerful — although I could imagine that the actual impact and interpretation of the story might vary from person to person. I’ll also admit that I had a few tears at the end. And, as perhaps the most critical element of any theatrical work, this production is superbly cast with amazingly talented actors. Each of them should be very proud of their hard work in entertaining us theatre-goers so well. As perhaps my highest form of compliment – I am returning to see this same production again this week. Very, very well done folks." | Kenneth C., audience response

"As comforting as homemade pumpkin pie. You know Lizzie is going to get a man, you know the rainmaker is a conman and, shucks, you know it’s gonna rain. The play goes where our hearts want it to go; it’s just a matter of how long it takes to get there and what surprises we might meet along the way." Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier


"The play oozes with timeless concepts of trust, hope, love, and self-discovery, which explains its continued revival on stages worldwide. Director Ron Reed’s production is one such must-see gem. ... The Rainmaker is about individuals discovering their true selves." | Cora Li, Vancouverscape

"I LOVED the Rainmaker! It was funny without being ridiculous. It had believable characters whom all blended well together. The casting was great and the set simple, yet flexible. It was wonderful to leave the theatre feeling so positive with a good dose of hope on top!" | Shannon Bell, audience response

"This production boasts some very powerful performances that capture both the cornpone humour and the almost operatic passion. Andrew Wheeler as the tired and hopeful father is riveting and while he remains devoted to his children, he can still see their flaws. Ryan Scramstrad as the younger, simpler brother finds all the humour of this 1950’s himbo, but with such a great big heart that he often devastates. Robert Salvador is Starbuck, the charlatan rainmaker who holds promise for Lizzie and her family, and has the sexy conman down, but also finds the earnest romantic that makes you root for him. Pippa Johnstone as Lizzie has the self-accepted heaviness of someone who has lived life as a ‘plain girl’ and she finds so much cautious joy when she thinks she is going on a date that it breaks your heart." | David C. Jones, Vancouver Presents

"It was good to enter their lives entering a drought stricken farm and their survival, and then see the struggle that Lizzie faced along with a caring father a caring yet adolescent brother while the other brother handled family members like he ran the ranch. Very intriguing to watch family dynamics." | Beatrice Vanderbos, audience response

"This is a lovely production with a cozy set designed brilliantly by John Webber. With Thanksgiving upon us and Christmas just around the corner, this is a great kick off to the holiday season with its heartwarming sentimentality and family dynamics." | Alan Woo, Fun Fun Vancouver

"In the final analysis, it is all the same: whether you want it to rain or you can’t wait for someone to make it stop raining, you must be prepared to immerse yourself in your hopes and dreams, transcend your sins, and finally become who you really are meant to be. This is the synthesis that director Ron Reed has managed to weave artfully into the Pacific Theatre’s excellent 2014 production of The Rainmaker." - Roger Eberle, Review Vancouver

nov 10 | bruce cockburn | writers fest + autobiography + box set

In the early days of Pacific Theatre, when I was a Bruce Cockburn devotee and people didn't yet know what PT was, I'd tell them that what Bruce Cockburn was in the world of music, we wanted to be in live theatre. 

Thirty years later, the man has written his autobiography. Release date is November 5, preceded a week earlier with an 8 cd (+1 dvd) box set retrospective October 28.  You can order the book ($24.99), the music ($129.99) or both ($149.99) from the True North website.  And he'll be in Vancouver November 10 to talk about the book with Writers Festival artistic director Hal Wake ($25) - buy a ticket for that and you get a promo code to save 15% on the book and music bundle. 



Vancouver Writers Festival Event 
Rumours Of Glory 
Monday, November 10th at 7:30pm
St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church
Burrard at Nelson Street

Legendary Canadian singer and songwriter Bruce Cockburn talks to Vancouver Writers Fest Artistic Director Hal Wake about his long-awaited memoir, Rumours of Glory—a chronicle of faith, fear, and activism that is also a lively cultural and musical tour through the late twentieth century.

With 30 albums and numerous awards to his credit, Cockburn has earned high praise as an exceptional songwriter and pioneering guitarist, whose career has been shaped by politics, protest, romance, and spiritual discovery. His remarkable journey has seen him embrace folk, jazz, blues, rock, and worldbeat styles while travelling to such far-flung places as Guatemala, Mali, Mozambique, Afghanistan, and Nepal, and writing memorable songs about his ever-expanding world of wonders.

Tickets: $25 adults / $23 Students & Seniors /$21 Bookclubs*
Online: vancouvertix.com
Phone: VancouverTix, 604-629-8849

Plus service charges
*5 tickets minimum; phone sales only


Bruce Cockburn Announces 'Rumours of Glory' Autobiography and Box Set
Exclaim
by Gregory Adams

If the miracle you were waiting for was Bruce Cockburn to finally issue his long-in-the-works autobiography, than your prayers have been answered. His tome, titled Rumours of Glory, hits bookshelves November 4 through HarperCollins Canada, with a career-spanning box set of the same name arriving October 28 via True North.

A press release explains that the book finds the singer-songwriter providing an intimate look at both Cockburn's life and the stories behind his eclectic and prolific songbook. It adds that Cockburn "shares his family life, personal relationships, Christian convictions, and the social and political activism that has defined him and his music."

Rumours of Glory weighs in on a variety of topics the artist has supported over the years, from First Nations rights, to environmental issues, to war atrocities, with his songs presenting those themes on musical landscapes encompassing traces of jazz, folk, rock, world beat and more.

"Over the years, the notion that there should be a book about me has popped up now and then, along with offers to write it," Cockburn said in a statement. "It always seemed too soon and I've felt all along that such a book should be mine to author."

The Rumours of Glory box set, meanwhile, is a nine-disc affair. It contains eight audio discs covering much of his career, with hits amongst the 117-song tracklisting including "Lovers in a Dangerous Time," "If a Tree," "Waiting for a Miracle" and "Wondering Where the Lions Are." Though a few previously unreleased tracks are scattered throughout the set, there is an entire disc's worth of unheard material.

In addition to the audio portion of the box, a DVD concert film is also included. Directed by Joel Goldberg, Bruce Cockburn Live - The Slice O Life Tour contains footage filmed between May 15 and 17, 1988.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

sideshow | tonight!

Tonight is the first SIDESHOW of the season!


SIDESHOW MUSICAL IMPROV
Tuesday, October 21 at 7:30pm

A night of musical improv featuring our friends Off Key Improv! One act of improv games followed by a one-act improvised musical, inspired by THE RAINMAKER as well as audience suggestions.

the rainmaker | more production photos

Another set of production photos from THE RAINMAKER!  Here's a closer look at the Curry family.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

the rainmaker | theatre club

We've got our first Theatre Club of the season today for THE RAINMAKER!  Stick around after the matinee to discuss the show with fellow audience members and our apprentice Shona Struthers.


You can also check out our discussion guide and hold your own Theatre Club!  Just download the PDF of our discussion guide here.