by Colin Thomas
Years ago, playwright Daniel MacIvor told me that he was premiering a play in Vancouver, rather than in Toronto, where he lives, because Vancouver audiences are so smart (he said that he has to work hard to keep ahead of us, which he likes) and so nice: according to MacIvor, Vancouver theatregoers are less judgmental than Toronto audiences, more open.
Paul Strickland, who performed his wildly original Ain’t True and Uncle False at the Vancouver Fringe Festival this year, said something similar. He told me that, in lots of places where he performs Ain’t True, especially in the States, he’s got to pause and let people know what’s going on. But not here—because we’re so damn clever. And sweet.
Okay, because you’re so damn clever and sweet. Opinion is more divided about me.
How much has changed in the gay cosmos and in the cosmos of gay-themed plays? Well, we enjoyed a whole lot of social progress for a while there, including, in both Canada and the US, marriage equality and the right to serve in the military. And now, thanks to the hatred that is gaining ground, especially in the States, we’re experiencing a cultural backlash, which has made some of the scrappier scripts of the past few decades relevant again.
In this disarmingly personal and well-informed article from The New York Times, Jesse Green looks at some of the new queer scripts, but mostly at the revivals and adaptations—including a redo of When Pigs Fly—that are coming to the Big Apple this season.
Green also discusses the perennial freshness of Tony Kushner’s two-part play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes—speaking of which, the National Theatre’s production of Angels will hop from London to Broadway this fall. Reviews like this one from Ben Brantley of The New York Times make buying a plane ticket feel like a very good idea.
And, of course, you can also fly with local angels. Director Kim Collier’s production of Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, is playing at the Stanley until October 8. Here’s my review: “Damien Atkins performance as Prior [the central character] is the soul of this production.”
Sondheim on choreographer Jerome Robbins: “He’s the only genius I’ve ever met but he was demanding and easily offended. You came out scarred, but you came out with good work.” And, on his own lyrics: “’I Feel Pretty’ still bothers me. It’s just too elegant for a girl like Maria to sing. I mean, ‘It’s alarming how charming I feel’? That wouldn’t be unwelcome in Noël Coward’s living room. I don’t know what a Puerto Rican street girl is doing singing a line like that.”
This Sunday, September 24, you get one more chance to see one of the best shows of this or any other Vancouver Fringe Festival: as part of The Public Market Pick of the Fringe, Multiple Organism is playing at Performance Works at 6:00pm. Buy your tickets now. Sell the place out!
This surreal, sex-positive shadow-puppet show from Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. won an armload of prizes at the Fringe Awards Night: the Cultchivating the Fringe Award, the Georgia Straight Critics’ Choice Award, and the Artistic Risk Award. They also won rave reviews, including one from me—and a whole lot of new fans.
Guarantee: you will not see a show like this anywhere else.
Satisfied? Not quite?
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