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Soul Samurai at the Vancouver Fringe Festival

Culture, Events, FRINGE!!, Opinion, Performance, Performance, Reviews

September 11, 2017

Soul Samurai is mad ambitious.

It’s the latest offering from Affair of Honor, a small stage production house that employs fight choreographers and stunt people as actors and reaps the benefits of doing so. They’ve done some incredible fight work in the past and usually put on a visually striking show and this one is no exception.

This play is about a young woman named Dewdrop who is trained as a samurai after a bunch of vampires move into New York and everyone slowly got pseudo-Japanese for reasons that are never adequately explained. The main vampire dude looks Maori maybe? Is he a weeaboo? Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense. Nothing else does, either.

Affair of Honor provides their usual high-quality routines, though, and if you haven’t seen a show by them before Soul Samurai is worth checking out for that alone. These people – Nathania Louise Bernabe, Jackie.T. Hanlin, Lou Ticzon, Jordan Svenkeson, Eryka Alanna, and Jarelle De’Von Hepburn – know what they’re doing and know their way around a sword. The fights are fantastic and sometimes breathtaking, and there’s a number of dance routines that are equal parts elegant and terrifying.

The lighting and sound design are also pretty decent, so far as these go. The music selection is driven by high-energy fight music throughout with some slick hip-hop thrown in for good measure. The crew works with what they have and make it work, and the result is something that is hard to look away from.

Every member of the cast also gives it their all and almost manages to make the dialogue and script work, but… well, this is where it begins to fall apart.

If you are looking for good script work you will not find it here.

There’s a movie called My First Mister where one character explains to another that swear words have a place in language, and that is used for emphasis. That’s the proper fucking way to use vulgarity. Most people get this without being told – it’s a learned skill. Most writers, however…

Everyone swears in this show. A lot. To the point where none of the dialogue sounds like anything real people say. It also doesn’t help that the main romance between lesbians was very clearly written by a cis-gender man who was maybe been in the same room as lesbians in the past but has maybe never spoken with them. Spoken at them, maybe?

There is a metric shit-tonne of casual racism, as well. It’s probably meant to be endearing between the romantic leads the same way that the casual swearing is meant to sound tough, but it just comes across as fake and robs the characters of their dignity and believability.

I’ve seen a lot of post-apocalyptic stories lately in everything from comics to movies to the news, consuming dystopia after dystopia. Even when the story doesn’t spell out how the world fell into whatever hell it has become in that narrative, there is a sense that the characters know and that you could piece it together in hindsight. Not so, here.

The mythology is all over the fucking map and doesn’t make a lick of sense. The head samurai is not Japanese and people declaring themselves shoguns in New York implies a certain level of, well, something. We need to know what that something is but it doesn’t feel like either the characters or the world or the writer has any idea of what’s going on outside of the immediate now.

A big part of acting is learning what to do between lines – how to convey and live in a world that isn’t real, but feels like it is. Nothing here feels real because nothing happens outside the script, and no part of this makes any sense because of it. Forgettable caricatures prance about on stage and are given more life than they deserve by a talented cast before fading back into nothing.

It’s infuriating because I fucking want to like this.

For fuck’s sake, it’s a story about a lesbian couple torn apart by vampires as they take over New York and the fall out later, when the survivor pulls herself together enough to seek out revenge by becoming a Samurai and going on a rampage. Everything about that sentence is awesome, so where is that awesome in this story?

The vampires lack any real menace or sense of power here, which is also a problem. Unless given supernatural power, humans fighting vampires tend to end with humans becoming snacks unless they can somehow outwit the vampire. A vampire with Samurai hand-to-hand and sword training should be one of the scariest things wherever they happen to be, but they fall by the dozens here without anyone breaking a sweat and the fucking sidekick takes out the big badass vampire shogun.

It’s frustrating.

You have no idea how badly I want to like this.

The cast is limited because you need people that know their way around combat for this to work. The result here is that almost everyone plays multiple characters with a couple of costume changes to mark them, and they cover these changes by using pre-taped segments to tie the story together or to give us background on characters. This is all fine and good and it’s a good idea that is hamstrung because none of these scenes actually explain anything or evolve anyone; they become a weird disconnect where you hope they’re going somewhere because the cast is so good, but ultimately go nowhere because the writer is not.

Soul Samurai is a big unholy mess of a thing, and yet… it is mad fucking ambitious. It has as intense a car chase as you’re ever going to see on stage and, again, that fight choreography is gorgeous and the acting is so much better than this script deserves. Affair of Honor is capable of doing amazing things and you can see brilliance shine through here and there. While the ideas are great and the performances awesome the script fails the production on every level.

If you want to see a talented cast and crew struggle with a script, this is your show.

Soul Samurai tickets run for $14 a pop and it’s playing at the Cultch (1895 Venables Street in Vancouver) at the following times:

Tuesday, Sept 12, 8:50 pm (Half Price Show)

Friday, Sept 15, 7:00 pm

Sunday, Sept 17, 5:35 pm

You can buy tickets by clicking here.

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364

FRINGE! FRINGE! FRINGE!

Comedy, Culture, Events, FRINGE!!, Performance, Showcase

September 7, 2017

Fringe festivals are a creative person’s dream. YOU ARE LITERALLY WATCHING ALL OF YOUR KINDRED SOULS DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE TO SEE!

We would like to give you our guide of must see awesome cool Fringe things.  So, in alphabetical order:

A DAVID LYNCH WET DREAM by Acherontia Productions

A David Lynch Wet Dream” is a surreal exploration of unconscious fears, desires and the strange ways in which they manifest. The show premiered at the 2016 Montreal Fringe festival to both public and critical acclaim and was named as the runner up for the Mainline Creativity Award . “Lynch Wet Dream” was remounted in January of 2017 as the headliner of the Bouge D’ici dance Festival and is hitting both the Regina and Vancouver International Fringe Festivals.

A David Lynch Wet Dream is a one woman show centering around a character trying to find her place within a harsh and intangible landscape. It is a story about leaving the clutches of naivety and grappling with the ever-changing nature of identity. The piece uses the disturbing yet beautiful Lynchian world to bring its protagonist to terms with the absurdity of being alive.

The movement based theatre piece incorporates clown like play contrasted by visceral dance. Making use of projection and sound design the audience is plunged into a world of color and light and cacophonic sound.

Tickets 14$ – https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/a%20david%20lynch%20wet%20dream/events

September 7, 2017 – 6:45pm is half-price!
September 9, 2017 – 8:05pm
September 12, 2017 – 5:15pm
September 14, 2017 – 10:15pm
September 15, 2017 – 6:45pm
September 17, 2017 – 1:00pm

playing at

The Revue Stage
1601 Johnston St,
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3R7

CRY-BABY: THE MUSICAL by Awkward Stage Productions

Awkward Stage Productions returns to The Fringe for the 8th time with the Canadian Premier of Cry-Baby: The Musical

Based on the Universal Pictures cult classic film written and directed by John Waters

Book by Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell
Music and Lyrics by Adam Schlesinger and David Javerbaum

Director: Barbara Tomasic
Musical Director: Andy Toth
Choreographer: Erika Babins

It’s 1950s Baltimore, the conservative squares face off against the leather-clad delinquents in this rockabilly musical based on John Waters’ cult film. Filled with unforgettable songs and a truly unique and fresh story. Cry-Baby, Allison and Baltimore’s juvenile delinquents will dance their way right into your heart!

Featuring a diverse cast of 16 emerging artists:
Victor Hunter, Katrina Teitz, Daniel Curalli, Kelly-Ruth Mercier, Synthia Yusuf, Ali Watson, Krista Skwarok, Stephanie Wong, Charlotte Marija Wright, Daren Dyhengco, Vuk Prodanovic, Max Borowski, Courtney Shields, Sidney Klips , Tosh Sutherland, Jessica Ingham and Nathan Cottell

TICKETS $14 – http://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/cry-baby-%20the%20musical/events

SHOWTIMES
September 7th, 2017 – 6:45pm
September 9th, 2017 – 8:30pm
September 10th 2017 – 1:45pm
September 11th 2017 – 6:00pm is half-price!
September 13th 2017 – 6:00pm
September 16th 2017 – 3:15pm
September 17th 2017- 2:00pm & 7:15pm

playing at

Firehall Arts Centre

280 E Cordova St.

Vancouver, BC V6A 1L3

 

DISTRACTINGLY SEXY by Nebula Company Theatre

Join real life scientist (and writer) Mily Mumford for an interactive ultra-funny, quite-wild, pretty-darn sexy history of how women in science have been f*$%ed over for centuries and what it’s like to be a lady-of-the-lab today. Directed by Cheyenne Mabberley of The After After Party (Pick of the Fringe, Vancouver 2016)!

Written and performed by Mily Mumford
Directed by Cheyenne Mabberley
Dramatugical support by Cheyenne Mabberley, Katey Hoffman and Kayvon Khoshkam
Stage manager: Samantha Pawliuk

TICKETS $14 –  https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/distractingly%20sexy/events

SHOWTIMES

September 8, 2017 5:00pm

September 10, 2017 8:15pm

September 11, 2017 10:15pm

September 14, 2017 6:45pm

September 15, 2017 8:35pm,

September 16, 2017 2:45pm is half-price!

playing at

Studio 16

1555 W 7th Ave.

Vancouver, BC

V6J 1S1

FIELD ZOOLOGY 101 by Shawn O’Hara

From the untamed wilds of the Vancouver Landfill to the loading bay behind Pacific City Centre, Field Zoologist Brad Gooseberry has seen it all. Join him in this introductory lecture, as he shares a lifetime of “wisdom” and “experience” on how to thrive and survive in the cutthroat world of Field Zoology.

Voted Favourite Comedy at the Victoria Fringe Festival 2016
“Hilarious!… A brilliant character!” – Showbill.ca
“Great improv… a fun one-man show!” – Orlando Sentinel

Showtimes:

September 8, 2017 – 8:25PM is half price!
September 9, 2017 – 10:05PM
September 10, 2017 – 2:40PM
September 13, 2017 – 9:20PM
September 15, 2017 – 5:10PM
September 16, 2017 – 3:50PM

Tickets 14$ – https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/field%20zoology%20101/events 

playing at

False Creek Community Centre

1318 Cartwright St.

Vancouver, BC

V6H 3R8

GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES by Michael Germant and Island Productions

Rajiv Joseph’s ‘Gruesome Playground Injuries’ hits the Canadian stage at Vancouver Fringe Festival

STORY
Gruesome Playground Injuries is a harrowing and humorous story about love, where internal and external pain are a measure of everything vulnerable when it comes to intimacy, timing and love. Over the course of 30 years, the lives of Kayleen and Doug intersect at the most bizarre intervals, leading the two childhood friends to compare scars and the physical calamities that keep drawing them together.

WHO
Written by Pulitzer Prize Finalist Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Mel Tuck
Starring Gina Leon and Michael Germant
Produced by Island Productions
Stage Managed by Avalon Short and Carolyn Woolner
Set design and construction by Mel Tuck and Dave McLeod
Photography by Jayme Cowley

PERFORMANCES
September 8th 7:00 p.m. – Preview (HALF-PRICE)
September 9th 4:45 p.m. – Opening Night
September 10th 8:40 p.m.
September 14th 7:00 p.m.
September 16th 5:50 p.m.
September 17th 1:40 p.m. – Closing Night

TICKETS $14 – https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/gruesome%20playground%20injuries/events

playing at
Vancity Culture Lab Theatre @ The Clutch
1895 Venables St.Vancouver, BC V5L 2H6

HABITATS by Habitats

Accompanied by a mysterious white hare, a woman travels through time to find home in a world of continuous transformation. Blending physical comedy, contemporary circus and dance, ‘Habitats’ is an interdisciplinary performance for all ages. Supported by BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and Made in BC.

Created and performed by Nayana Fielkov & Isabelle Kirouac with original music by Martin Reisle and shadow art by Heather Dawn Sparks
TICKETS 14$ –  https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/habitats/events

SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Thursday Sept. 7th- 7:17pm – Half Price Day!
Wednesday Sept 13- 5:30pm
Thursday Sept 14th- 10:25pm
Friday Sept. 15th- 6:45 pm
Sunday Sept 17th- 1:00pm
LOCATION:
The Cultch Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables St. Vancouver
TICKETS 14$ –  https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/habitats/events

SCIENTIST TURNED COMEDIAN  by Scientist Turned Comedian Tim Lee

6 shows as part of Vancouver Fringe Festival!
“You know how Larry the Cable Guy’s act pretty much consists of him yelling “Git ‘er done!” every five minutes or so? Scientist-turned-comic Tim Lee’s material is the diametric opposite. Lee, who got his PhD before realizing where his true talents lay, blends science talk (complete with PowerPoint presentations) with comedy. The hilarious result is like what would happen if you crossed your high-school chem teacher with George Carlin”
– The Boston Phoenix

You can read our interview with him here.

FALSE CREEK GYM – 1318 Cartwright St, V6H 3R8
Sat 9/9 1:15PM
Sun 9/10 9:15PM
Mon 9/11 8:15PM
Thur 9/14 6:40PM
Sat 9/16 5:25 PM
Sun 9/17 2:45 PM

Tickets $14 – http://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/scientist%20turned%20comedian/events

SLUMBER HERE by Geekenders and Instant Theatre Company

Do you want to fall in love tonight?

Immerse yourself in the fantasy of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as you are thrust into the carnivalesque world of the fairies to be seduced by Oberon, assist the Mechanicals to fix their play, help Puck create mischief, visit Nick Bottom (a real mini donkey!), and find your soulmate.

‘The Tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe’ and the rest of the Mechanicals’ repertoire will be free to watch by any member of the public that happens by their stage in Granville Island’s Sculpture Garden.

LOCATION: Ron Basford Park, Granville Island. Specifically starting in the Sculpture Garden. You can find the big, metallic sculpture behind Performance Works and the parking lot next to it, along the boardwalk. Looks like: http://covapp.vancouver.ca/PublicArtRegistry/_image.aspx/A086lfGQBVCFyarDuQP1M3kCgUHgEn-SoHC36GE=/MAW139-1.jpg

Tickets on sale now! http://www.vancouverfringe.com/

Saturday, Sept 9: 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
Sunday, Sept 10: 1pm, 2pm, 3pm
Monday, Sept 11: 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
Tuesday, Sept 12: 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
Friday, Sept 15: 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
Saturday, Sept 16: 1pm, 2pm, 3pm
Sunday, Sept 17: 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm

Featuring….

Zac Beardsley, Stephen Blakley, Lindsay Braynen, Bradley Bergeron, Arthi Chandra, Greg Delmage, Meredith Fraser, Isabella Halladay, Kimberly Ho, Daisy Hulme, Amanda Lau, Stefanie Michaud, Draco Muff-Boi, Shan Naziripour, Shayan Naziripour, Chloe Packer, Casey Por, Claire Rice, Levi Schneider, Abbey St. Brendan, Claire Temple, Graeme Thompson, Andrew Wade, Zach Wolfman

Conceived and directed by Ryan Caron, Fairlith Harvey, Andrew Lynch, Chelsey Stuyt
Writing by Abbey St. Brendan (Yes, this would be our fiction editor), Fairlith Harvey, and W. Shakespeare
Graphic Design by Julia Lank
Puck Text Coaching – Sarah Harrison
Produced by Geekenders and Instant Theatre
http://geekenders.ca/ || http://instanttheatre.com/

SOUL SAMURAI by Affair of Honor

Katanas. Revenge. True Love. What are you waiting for?

Queer romance, slick hip hop, and the finest stage combat this side of Brooklyn crash the Fringe with SOUL SAMURAI.

Affair of Honor presents the tale of Dewdrop, a young samurai in post-apocalyptic Manhattan. She’s on a mission to avenge the death of her girlfriend Sally at the hands of the Long Tooth gang… but she’ll have to battle burnouts, shoguns, flashbacks, and her wise-ass B-boy sidekick just to make it across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Featuring: Nathania Louise Bernabe, Jackie.T. Hanlin, Lou Ticzon, Jordan Svenkeson, Eryka Alanna, and Jarelle De’Von Hepburn.

Film by Nach Dudsdeemaytha

Cameos by: Albert Nicholas, Lee Shorten, Rene Rebora and Damon Bradley Jang

Times:
FRIDAY SEPT 8 – 9:00 PM
SATURDAY SEPT 9 – 2:15 PM
SUNDAY SEPT 10 – 6:15 PM
TUESDAY SEPT 12 – 8:50 PM — HALF PRICE!
FRIDAY SEPT 15 – 7:00 PM
SUNDAY SEPT 17 – 5:35 PM

Location:
Vancity Culture Lab @ The Cultch
1895 Venables Street (Victoria at Venables)

Note:
SOUL SAMURAI features strong language, sexuality, and (awesome) stage combat. Not for the faint of heart.

SWORDPLAY: A PLAY OF SWORDS  by Sex T-Rex

Sex T-Rex presents / / / S W O R D P L A Y / / / A Play of Swords

With a trail of sold-out houses and rave reviews, Swordplay: A Play of Swords is Sex T-Rex’s most beloved show yet! Chandelier-swinging, epic adventure and swordfights, swordfights, swordfights await as we bring our signature cinematic style to the stage, dancing from The Princess Bride, to Final Fantasy, to Game of Thrones and dipping our rapier wit into all things sordid and sworded.

We’re so excited to be making our Vancouver Fringe Festival debut with#SwordPlay with none other than PETER CARLONE of Peter ‘n Chris Showfame taking on such roles as Grandpa and Sexy Tree!


/ / / PERFORMED BY / / /
Conor Bradbury
Peter Carlone
Julian Frid
Kaitlin Morrow
Seann Murray

SHOWTIMES
Thursday, September 7th @ 6.35pm ***Half-price show!***
Saturday, September 9th @ 8.20pm
Wednesday, September 13th @ 5.15pm
Thursday, September 14th @ 10.05pm
Friday, September 15th @ 6.45pm
Sunday, September 17th @ 1pm

FALSE CREEK GYM
1318 Cartwright St.

TICKETS 14$ – https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/swordplay-%20a%20play%20of%20swords/events

SZERETLEK: A HUNGARIAN LOVE STORY  by The Grand Salto Theatre

Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story
Written and Performed By: Zita Nyarady and Myque Franz
Directed by: Maria Wodzinska
2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival
September 7th-17th 2017

Proclaimed the “Most Adorable Show” by the Ottawa New Critics, awarded 4 1/2 STAR from the Winnipeg Free Press and described as “a sweet story told with grace and undeniable charm” by the CBC. Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story focuses on love, particularly the love that blossoms in the heart of a young school teacher, Katalin and her suitor(s) in the tiny village of Kerekegyhaza Hungary in 1946. This true story is a testament to how love can emerge in the aftermath of the darkest times.

This show was developed when The Grand Salto Theatre’s Zita Nyarady and Myque Franz interviewed Zita’s grandmother Katalin Szabo on the eve of her 90th birthday. With permission from Katalin, and Zita’s family, The Grand Salto Theatre has expertly brought her love story to life. With a mix of storytelling, dance, masks, Hungarian culture and linguistics Zita and Myque weave this family story into an engaging theatrical experience.

Venue: False Creek Gym

Thursday September 7th 5:00pm
Sunday September 10th 5:55pm
Monday September 11th 5:00pm
Wednesday September 13th 7:45pm
Saturday September 16th 10:30pm
Sunday September 17th 4:30pm

Tickets $14 – https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/szeretlek-%20a%20hungarian%20love%20story/events

THE AUDIENCE DIES AT THE END by Singles Awareness Productions

Hot off a three year journey, theatre maker Blair Moro brings his solo show The Audience Dies at the End to the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

This bloody (funny) travelogue takes you through some of Blair’s real experiences mixed with a Faustian pact he made to become the greatest performer ever!

The show is being presented at Arts Umbrella: 1286 Cartwright St., Granville Island, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8

SHOW TIMES
Sept 8 – 6:15pm
Sept 9 – 2:45pm & 9:45pm
Sept 10 – 6:15pm
Sept 11 – 8pm – Half Price
Sept 12 – 9:45pm
Sept 14 – 6:15pm
Sept 15 – 8pm
Sept 16 – 9:45pm

PRICE: $14 – https://tickets.vancouverfringe.com/shows/the%20audience%20dies%20at%20the%20end/events

If you would like to see all that the Vancouver Fringe Festival has to offer and to also buy special passes to shows you can click here! Happy Fringe-ing!

 

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