Monday, September 9, 2013

Theatre in Vancouver 2013-14

I should say right upfront that this isn't going to be a listing of all the theatre in Vancouver, professional or otherwise.  That can be better found here, though supplemented by the offerings at UBC, SFU and Langara. It isn't clear yet what SFU students will be putting on.  Last year's Langara offerings were a lot more interesting than this season's, that's for sure.  If UBC were easier to get to, I probably would go see Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle (which I saw very well done in Chicago).  However, I am leaning towards going out there to see Jarry's Ubu Roi in the spring.

In general, the season looks respectable, but just not that full of plays that grab me.  An awful lot of them are shouty, violent plays that frankly bore me (Tracy Lett's Bug and Neil LaBute in general) or plays that I have absolutely no interest in seeing (Driving Miss Daisy or Mamet's Oleanna).  Perhaps the biggest disappointment was that Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries was pushed back an entire year, and I doubt I will see it (unless I truly am traveling back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver a lot for work).

Anyway, this is a list of the relatively few plays that I may see, so that I don't let them drop off my calendar completely.

  • The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett (now through Sep 29) United Players of Vancouver (way, way out in Jericho Park) -- I'll probably go to this.
  • Penelope by Enda Walsh (Sept. 26 - Oct. 13) The Cultch -- I am the most torn by this one.  I already saw this at Steppenwolf (with Tracey Letts incidentally), and I doubt this production will stack up to that.  However, the language is really quite interesting, quite poetic, and it might be worth seeing it again for that. Though I really hate getting over to the Cultch, which is definitely another strike against it.
  • Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz (Sept. 19-Oct. 20) Arts Club Theatre -- fairly likely to go, esp. if it is at the venue that is not on Granville Island (another place I hate to visit*)
  • Hotel Bethlehem by Drew McCreadie (Dec. 10-22) Firehall -- this is an extravagantly silly Nativity play, sort of a frothier version of Life of Brian.  I'll consider taking my son to it, depending on our winter plans.
  • The Seafarer by Conor McPherson (March 2014) Pacific Theatre -- most likely I will not see this somewhat eerie tale, as I saw it at Steppenwolf (with John Mahoney!)
  • March 20 - April 5, 2014
    Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry (March 20 - April 5) UBC -- reasonably likely I will make the trek out there for this.
  • The Changling by Thomas Middleton (July-August 2014) Ensemble Theatre Company -- if I am still around or travelling back and forth, I'll try to make this.  I saw them do a very creditable job of Middleton's Women Beware Women this summer.
So it's not nothing, but it isn't a lot of good theatre for a city of this size.  There are generally this many plays opening each week in Chicago, and I can draw up a list of 5-7 "must sees" every two months (not over the entire season).  Toronto is generally in the same league.  I'm sure a few things here and there will be added (patching some massive holes in the calendar), but the typical Vancouver theatre line-up is not at all to my taste, sadly.

I guess the real question mark is Bard on the Beach next summer.  I have a sense that they might tackle Lear, and there would be some closure in seeing it there (I missed them doing it in 1994 by about a day when I was passing through).  I seem to be averaging one play a summer at Bard and perhaps can keep up this tradition for a while.  On the other hand, I know the Stratford Festival is doing Lear, and that is almost certainly going to be a more polished production, and that might be the basis of a new summer/fall tradition.

* For a relatively compact city, Vancouver can be really a chore to get around, and many interesting events are in lousy locations.
March 20 - April 5, 2014


  1. I'm producing Gruesome Playground Injuries in July. Would love to have you!

    1. Thanks. I really enjoyed Animals out of Paper (in Chicago), though I realize this is a very different show. I think my schedule has changed enough for me to catch a preview.

  2. Replies
    1. When you have the details nailed down, send me a link, and I will mention it in a new post.