Are We Cool Now? opens tonight at The Cultch.

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This show  based on Dan Mangan tunes opens tonight for a run in East Van.  One of the things that I have been curious about is how you experience the show depending on whether you know the already know the music or not.   Here is the  set list:

Road Regrets
Daffodil
Fabulous
About As Helpful As You Can Be
Et Les Mots Croises
Fair Verona
Starts With Them, Ends With Us
Road Regrets (reprise)
Daffodil (reprise)
The Waiting Game (new song)
Set The Sails
Jeopardy
Indie Queens Are Waiting
Basket

So if you want to do some listening beforehand you can, but if you want to just come in without know a thing, that’s ok too.

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Like old times.

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I am in New York, here for a Fringe show. It’s an Alley Theatre show, part of FringeNYC, if you are nearby please come see us.

I spent the last couple of days in the August heat tracking down a chair and rug on craigslist for the show. Cheaper than bringing the ones we used in Vancouver. The rug was bought in a house in Brooklyn. The chair needed to be lugged down from the Upper East Side down to Fringe Central to drop off some flyers. Along the way I passed a young child, the mother was saying to the child, “Yes, that man has a chair. He can sit wherever he wants.”

After I dropped off the flyers I stopped for happy hour at an East Village bar, and sitting outside I put the chair next to me. A large group of Wall St types showed up, and asked if I was using the chair, I said no, they could use it, but it wasn’t the bar’s chair it was MY chair, but I was ok with it.

On the crowded subway I sat on my own damn chair, next to the doorway.

Timothy Sutherland 1966 – 2015.

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Tim was so compelling. I first came upon him giving speeches and righting some wrong in the back hallways of the Phoenix theatre building at UVic. He was opinionated and had a clear moral compass.

Lucas called him a “theatre warrior”. And he really was. He knew everything, but was eager to learn. He was sensuous and strong. He didn’t look like anyone else.  He sang sweetly. He could charm the pants off you.

He was part of a group of actors in the early days of SKAM who are the primary reason that I am a director. Tim, and the entire casts’ support in me gave the strength to try. They allowed me to find my way as I directed my first show – George F. Walker’s Zastrozzi, and Tim played the title character.  He told me he wanted me to direct and he trusted me. We re-mounted that show after our first successful run, we toured to NYC and Philly, and he was always both a leader and a team player. We all felt sweaty and fearless, and I shall never forget what we did in that time. Tim’s big, big heart was all over that, and he will alway be a part of who I am.

Crushing new opera.

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Just spent the past month at the Banff Centre, working with Against the Grain Theatre on some new opera. Joel Ivany is helping to forge new paths for opera in this country and it was a joy to be a part of it all, creating new work with some dedicated young singers in a gorgeous setting.

My main focus was a workshop production of James Rolfe and Anna Chatterton’s Crush, a commission of the COC, loosely based on Mozart’s Don Giovanni. It’s a challenging new opera, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so proud of a cast. As Jenna Douglas, the music director, said after the final performance, “I feel like I could lift a house.”

A detailed review is in the Calgary Herald here.

Michael Green.

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Michael was one of the first people to give me some guidance in our community. He invited me to Calgary to come and see the High Performance Rodeo as a youngster still finding my way. He told me to come and stay in his basement and see as many shows as I could. He showed me the Internet. He showed me how the Rabbits made theatre, how they made a company, how they loved and appreciated and took care of each other.

Michael Green was a gifted compelling performer, a curator ahead of everyone, and a snazzy dresser  He loved a good party. He was a weirdo, a generous soul, a visionary.  Talking to Michael sometimes made you feel like you were talking in some mind expansive future. He lead the way for so many of us, he blazed such a bright bright brilliant trail. He made me feel unique. The world lost some colour yesterday.

End of 2014, beginning of 2015.

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Looking back on a year, an odd day today where nothing makes clear sense, so my thoughts are a bit all over the place. Funny to think back on a calendar year, when the theatrical year is more like the school year. We are at the Winter Holidays, halfway through, but we are not into a a new number of year. It doesn’t seem to line up. The media likes to make Best Of Lists for a Year, but we don’t necessarily organize our theatre seasons like that. It feels like we are comparing the end of last season, with the beginning of this season. But nonetheless.

So then some of the things really sticking with me from the past year:

Then She Fell by 3rd Rail, The Glass Menagerie directed by John Tiffany, and some personal projects: Craigslist Cantata at ATP, Citadel, NAC. The women who trusted me with their plays: Susinn McFarlen, Hannah Moscovitch, and the unforgettable Linda Griffiths. Another glorious East Van Panto.

I get weird this time of year. I think Emelia was able to write about it in great ways here and here.

Onward.