By Deanna Cheng
In just seven days, Bright Young Theatre and Aenigma Theatre will present an experimental new work by director Tanya Mathivanan. Tanya is the Founder, Managing Director, and Co-Artistic Director of Aenigma Theatre and truly is a bright spot in Vancouver’s emerging theatre scene. Her first show, 2014’s The Zoo Story premiered in the Fringe’s first Dramatic Works Series and in 2015 she followed up with Blackbird, a show The Ubyssey called “unconventional and intense”. Her play Dying City in 2016 was described the New York Observer as the “finest new American play I’ve seen in a long while …”.
This year, Tanya directs Viva as part of the 2017/2018 Theatre Wire Season. Written by Canadian playwright Scott Button, Viva was shortlisted for the UK-based Theatre 503 Playwriting Award and won the Best One-Act Play Award at the Theatre BC Playwriting Contest last year.
Theatre Wire got a chance to speak with Tanya about what she’s looking forward to in this new, exciting work.
Theatre Wire: What inspired you to do this play?
When Melanie Reich (co-producer) and Scott Button (playwright) approached me to do this show, I was immediately struck by the beautiful, poetic nature of the script and its potential for a deep, visceral impact. I loved the fact that it portrayed heightened, extreme versions of emotions that plague everyday people.
TW: What is something that people don’t know about your show that they should?
It is an original play written by a Vancouver playwright, Scott Button. This is a first production of an experimental work in terms of style and structure, so it should be quite intriguing.
TW: What are you most looking forward to about the performances?
I’m particularly looking forward to watching Melanie Reich and Patrick Dodd play multiple characters. Although the play focuses on two main characters, Alice and Graeme, there are also side characters that pop up when each one is telling their stories. They are also played by Melanie and Patrick. It will be incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding.
TW: What do you want your performance to prompt people to think about?
I’d like people to think about the moral boundaries that we, as a society, like to place. I’d like them to think about the judgements that we often place on others who, in our eyes, cross those boundaries. I would also like people to think about what they themselves might be capable of, and how far they might be willing to go for the sake of someone they loved, or for the sake of Love itself.
What is your next project and why are you excited about it?
There’s a play that I’ve been dying to do for the last 5 years that I’m hoping to finally put on next year. It’s a beautiful script about grief, something that affects every single one of us. I’m a sucker for text rich drama, so that’s particularly exciting for me. Stay tuned for more information!
Viva is on October 12-22 at Havana Theatre, located at 1212 Commercial Drive. Buy your tickets now —and don’t forget, Viva is part of the Theatre Wire Subscription Series. If you purchase tickets to three or more shows, discounts will apply automatically and you’ll become a Theatre Wire Subscriber! Click here for more info on Subscriptions and to read about Subscriber Benefits.