It all takes work

Janis La Couvee's Art Smarts column honours all the hard work that goes into a theatre production

Victoria audiences are fortunate indeed to have an abundance of new work to choose from. In March and April, three companies–Atomic Vaudeville, Impulse Theatre and Broken Rhythms–will present the latest iterations of BlissKrieg, the Dream Collectors and Universal Horrors.

Most people would never consider looking at a house and thinking that it arrived, pre-formed, on the site, yet if you asked them how long it took to craft a show, the answer might surprise.

Atomic Vaudeville is now on the third version of a piece originally titled Action Revue—now BlissKrieg.  The collaborative team includes founders Britt Small and Jacob Richmond as well as frequent contributors Alex Waslenko, Hank Pine and a host of actors who have been giving shape to radical ideas that reflect the current zeitgeist.  Over the course of the past three years they played physically, produced two shows, wrote scenes and music, and then applied for a Kevin Spacey Foundation grant and approached the Belfry Theatre for production assistance.  (BlissKrieg is part of the 2017 Spark Festival, March 9-11).  Small and Wlasenko estimate that by the time this musical comedy hits the stage everyone involved will have devoted over 450 hours in development. Inside a “post-human simulated paradise, Tilda and her daughter Jingwei have just over an hour to make a crucial decision on the future of life in the universe”. Based on Atomic Vaudeville’s track record, established since 2004 with its cabaret series (the 75th cabaret is April 13, 14, 15 at the Victoria Event Centre), and shows Ride the Cyclone and Legoland, this will be a hot ticket. Belfry.bc.ca

Now in its seventh season, Impulse Theatre, established in 2010 by Andrew Barrett while still a student at the University of Victoria, has an impressive history of physically based performance, often staged in early years in-site specific locations dotted around the region.  The Dream Collectors has been in development since 2014; it began as a small ten minute segment at Intrepid Theatre’s Theatre Under the Gun, where teams of four people work for 48 hours to present a new work.  Barrett then received an early career development grant from the BC Arts Council and worked with mentor Britt Small and a team of artists.  They entered Theatre Under the Gun again in spring 2016 and further developed the piece with a weeklong workshop and presentation in June of last year.  Dream Collectors is devised physical theatre that incorporates elements of dance and puppetry; it follows three beings who have been collecting the dreams of humanity forever.  Impulse Theatre will build the latest version of the show in three solid weeks of rehearsal, incorporating elements from previous performances. April 19-22 at the Intrepid Theatre Club.  Impulsetheatre.ca

Broken Rhythms was founded in 2011 by Dyana Sonik-Henderson to accommodate the innovative style rhythmical contemporary, which combines jazz, contemporary, Hip Hop, and animalistic influences. Earlier work by the company benefitted from presentations at Intrepid Theatre’s YOU Show and the Victoria Fringe Festival where it won successive Pick of the Fringe awards. People remember the dancers for the fantastic eyelashes they wear—a very successful bit of marketing. Their latest work, Universal Horrors is based on classic horror movies from the golden age—Dracula, Phantom of the Opera and Wolf Man. Development included hours of watching films and then creating movements based on them.  A snippet of the show was presented at the LashBash Fundraiser last summer, and then another at Impulse Theatre’s Peek Show of new works in November.  Sonik-Henderson estimates it takes a minimum of nine hours work—in developing concepts, choreographing movements and researching music—for every minute onstage.  Following a run at The Roxy Theatre, March 15th-19th, Broken Rhythms heads to the Toronto Fringe in July. Brokenrhythmsvictoria.com

 

Just Posted

Bill Gaston, Monique Gray Smith capture Victoria Book Prizes for 2018

Butler Book Prize and Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize winners collect $5,000 each

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read