Party reminder…

We’re having another of our legendary parties on Saturday to get ready for the new play , please come on by if you can. It’s going to be huge laughs and great times!

Some of Vancouver’s best stand-ups and sketch crews throughout the studio

Silent auction features signed and framed Roberto Luongo jersey


Cabaret and DJ till late

All the deets below…

The History Boys hits Vancouver, Arts Club off to a good start

The complete cast of The History Boys. Photo by David Cooper.
The complete cast of The History Boys. Photo by David Cooper.

Caught The History Boys the night before last and I’ve got to say, the Arts Club has gotten off to a crackerjack start to their 45th season. Both Doubt at the Stanley and The History Boys at the Granville Island Stage are fine productions, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give them a bump here. They’re must-see material for anyone with a taste for the type of contemporary theatre that wins the big awards.

Both plays have a certain connectivity, actually, but reside on opposite ends of their respective schools. Although both deal with pedagogical pederasty, most of the reactions to this in Doubt are abject horror while The History Boys are surprisingly nonchalant about the whole affair. This is not a criticism, the victim (or is he?) in the former is in Grade school while the “victims” in the latter are vying for spots at Oxford and Cambridge, and seem to find their eccentric teacher’s manhandling to be rather…bemusing.

The writing of these two Tony winners couldn’t be more different either. Shanley’s Doubt is a clinic in economy of script, there’s not one word in the blindingly fast 90 minutes that doesn’t directly move the play towards its climax, and it wastes no time in concluding. Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, by contrast, is a play presented only for those with, to quote the work itself, “a love of language, a love of words”. It’s a cracking good script with twelve main characters, and clocks in at close to three hours full of lengthy banter and wordplay. It’s a word-nerd’s candy store.

The production design at both theatres has never been better, and the functionality and simplicity of the continually morphing The History Boys set is marvellous. It also claims the distinction of having easily the most kick-ass scene-shift soundtrack I’ve ever heard. I wish I could have bought it.

It must be noted that the three senior members of a mostly young cast – Bernard Cuffling, Duncan Fraser and Jane Noble – performed their roles to about the highest possible level. I can’t imagine that it would be possible to cast a better version of any one of those characters. Simply sterling performances.

Nice work Arts Club, and happy 45th.

Director Dean Paul Gibson and the younger portion of the cast of The History Boys. Photo by David Cooper
Director Dean Paul Gibson and the younger portion of the cast of The History Boys. Photo by David Cooper

This one goes to eleven: Christina Sicoli

I checked out a Fringe play last year written by my friends Julius and Tosha, a clever little piece called Hands Down about the world of competitive rock, paper, scissors. J and T both acted in it as well, along with a couple of other actors that I’d not yet met. They were both great, but I simply could not get over the comic talent of this one girl, a marvelous little firecracker name Christina Sicoli who effortlessly had me and the rest of the crowd in the Playwrights Theatre Centre in stitches.

So when I found out she had entered the Fringe this year with a one-woman show that she had developed herself, there was no way I was going to miss it, and she didn’t disappoint. An introduction to the highly delusional wanna-be supermodel Talula Rose, Wild Rose was a Fringe hit this year, and a great showcase for Christina’s burgeoning comic acting chops. With impeccable timing and boundless energy she once again slayed the crowd at the PTC, this time all on her lonesome. Remember the name, because she’s ready for her close-up…

1. In one word, describe your present condition.


2. In however many words you feel like, describe the present condition of the Vancouver theatre scene.

I think there is a lot of great theatre, but I feel there needs to be more support, especially when it comes to original pieces.

3. How was your Fringe?

I had an amazing Fringe! A wonderful experience! But it went by too darn fast.

4. What was the biggest challenge in developing your one-woman show?

Trying not to get overwhelmed and second guessing my entire piece. When I found myself doing this I would focus on being in the moment and believing that it will all come together in the end. And it did.

5. Please walk us through your process of developing one of your characters.

When developing my character, I always had an idea/vision of what I wanted. I would start by walking around, focusing on the weight of the character, where he/she held their breath, how he/she stands, walds, what type of voices come out, working on the body, the breath, speech. Then I would sit with my director and have an “interview” as the character, improvising to develop material that I could use in the show. I would play a lot by myself too, not censoring material and just exploring to see what I would find.

6. What is the one thing – above all else – that you must possess as a comic actor? (Besides a sense of humour.)

Don’t be afraid to look stupid, ugly or make a fool out of yourself. And listen. Know how to play with your audience. So much funny comes out when you least expect it.

7. Who or what are your main influences as an artist?

Gilda Radner. Lucille Ball. Jennifer Saunders. I love physical comedy. I’m not interested in listening to a female comic bantering about their wight, ex-boyfriend or living with their mother and 3 cats at 35.

8. What’s the best piece of acting advice you’ve ever received?

You will go far if you keep doing what you’re doing. Stay true to yourself and never give up…you’re only one away.

9. Describe your dream career trajectory.

Developing the Talula Rose Trilogy, romantic comedies, a sitcom, SNL…a girl has got to have a dream!

10. What are your top 3 theatre reads?

The collected plays of Neil Simon.

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (Lily Tomlin) – Jane Wagner

Four Dogs and a Bone – Shanley

Oh! And of course Wild Rose.

11. What’s next?

Fine tuning Wild Rose and bringing it back with a bang! Talula Rose is a bit restless.