Starring Art Kitching, Elizabeth Kirkland, Sharon Crandall, and Frank Zotter, The Concierge of Vancouver will be at Studio 1398 October 6 to 16. We chatted with Director Ian Farthing, Playwright Shaul Ezer, and Publicist Damon Jang to learn a little more about the show—which, according to Damon, was conceived when Shaul Ezer’s building concierge challenged him to write a show about a concierge!
Why do you think creating a play about the housing issues in Vancouver could be beneficial? What will it teach fellow Vancouverites?
Ian Farthing: I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a play that speaks so directly to current events. Given the amount of news stories about the empty homes crisis right now, the timing of this production is perfect. Of course, this isn’t a play that is going to solve the problem, but we hope that with some humour we can at least get people to start thinking outside the box on potential solutions.
What is the main storyline?
IF: The Concierge of Vancouver follows the story of an unassuming concierge in an upscale condo building who also works for a reclusive donor who gives away millions each year to fund worthy causes. But when a tenacious reporter starts to make links between this donor and dodgy dealings at a large bank, things start to get a little complicated for the poor Concierge.
Shaul Ezer: It’s also about how a concierge in a substantially empty building finds a way to serve his city.
How long did it take to create the play? Was it planned over time or did it come about spontaneously?
SE: It started in 2013, and with input from other writers and the director, it is now in version 13.0.
IF: I was brought on board in the role of director and dramaturg about a year ago. The play had already undergone some development with a workshop reading last year, so things were in good shape, but I spent the summer doing a lot more work with the playwright to refine the story and get the script ready to go into rehearsals.
Is is play comedic or it is mostly drama-based?
Damon Jang: Comedic for sure. If you want to laugh rather than cry about the Vancouver housing situation, come and see this play.
Why should people attend the play?
IF: Who doesn’t like to sit back and enjoy a good, fun story? Plus, it’s so topical with what’s going on in Vancouver right now.
DJ: It’s a new Canadian work that is specific to issues facing Vancouverites today. I think it’s important for people to learn about current issues, even if the story is fictionalized. And theatre is a great platform for that.