â€¦I almost got into like 6 car accidents and ended up at UBC because I missed a turn, but what else is new? Thank goodness I got there with half an hour to spare, although I spent that entire time up until the show started being overly excited about my amazing reserved seating with a sign that had my name on it. Iâ€™m kind of a big deal. Just kiddingâ€¦but no really.
Anyway, back to the show!
Fighting Chance Productions (remember that amazing theatre company that brought you BARE: A Pop Opera this summer?) presented to a full and enthusiastic audience A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum: an over the top comedy where everything that could go wrong in a storyline does in a matter of seconds. The millions of different things happening onstage and the million misunderstandings between characters in the plotline made for a very audience-active show. While the plotline twists and bends into the most complicated scenarios that leave you thinking, â€œholy shit, the worst possible thing that could happen in this situation definitely just happenedâ€, everything managed to make perfect sense through song, dance and humor.
I laugh a lot, believe me I do, but the amount of laughter which escaped from wherever it is that laughter escapes from in body was absolutely ridiculous. From the very moment when Pseudolus (played by Mr. Ryan Mooney) stepped on the stage, I knew that this character would have me in stitches the entire time. And he did! Then Hysterium (Michael Wild), Sennex (Peter Stainton), and every single other character in that amazing show came onstage and tears continued to stream down my adorable cheeks. I am a huge stickler about comedic timing, and that is one of the most important things I notice when I see a performance.
Good thing the comedic timing was spot on in Forum! Pseudolus for example: I honestly couldnâ€™t even tell if what Ryan Mooney (who might I add, is the guy who directed BARE) was saying was scripted or not, THATâ€™s how clean and pristine his comedic chops were for this character. The great thing about this show is that nobody sucked, and even if they did (which Iâ€™m sure they didnâ€™t), I was laughing so hard that I didnâ€™t even notice.
Because Youth in 57 Minutes is dedicated to youth, I feel compelled to talk about Hero; a teenage boy lost in love with Philia (Elyse Maloway) played by Cameron Dunster, who was also in BAREâ€¦am I the only one who wasnâ€™t in that show?! Anyhow, Hero exemplified and illustrated the perfect amount of teenage angst and internal desire in which we often face, and is a very adorable and relatable character in that sense. His comical songs sing about common adolescent issues, and his singing voice was wonderful. He also had great legs, and rocked the hell out of an itty-bitty toga better than anyone I know.
My favorite part of the entire show was the audience interaction involved that made the show complete. It was amazing how each character stayed committed while interacting with very different audience members each time, and how the audience members reactedâ€¦Iâ€™m not going to tell you what happens because it is best you see what I mean for yourself.
A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum is playing until the 22nd of October, so if you havenâ€™t seen it yet then pleaseâ€¦GO! If it wasnâ€™t worth seeing, I would not say thisâ€¦actually I might of anyway, but that is NOT the case here. I may even bring my mom to see it (cue the â€œAWWW!â€). A huge thank you again to Fighting Chance Productions for exceeding our expectations and accommodating Youth in 57 Minutes. We love you. Sounds tacky, but we do. Until next time!
There are many things in life that piss me off: driving, people reading and not replying to my BBMâ€™s, and working are among the extensive list. But the number one thing on my ongoing and ever-growing list is the way in which the Catholic community suppresses very real issues about sexuality and being in high school, which then leads to ignorant children and teenagers who will forever go on in life hating or being uncomfortable around certain types of people…like the homosexual community, for instance. I went to a catholic school all of my life, so Iâ€™d like to deem myself entitled to make claims like that. Anyhow, since I graduated and moved onto university where I was faced with â€œdifferentâ€ people, Iâ€™ve been struggling with the fact that being gay is strongly frowned upon in a Catholic/Christian (whatâ€™s the difference, anyway?!) setting, and is what causes the students and followers of the faith to not view these lifestyles with an open mind.
Iâ€™m not totally pessimistic. There are also many things in life that I love, like sushi, sleeping, and- my ultimate favorite- Musical Theatre. When my good friend, Imelda Gaborno, told me earlier this year that she had been cast in Fighting Chance Productionsâ€™ BARE: A Pop Opera, I was excited that I had an excuse to go see a show (not that you ever need an excuse to see theatre!). Then she told me what the show was about, and I was ecstatic as it combined my love for theatre with that issue I bitched about earlier; I was all in and had high expectations for how this show would be tackled.
BARE, under the direction of the multi-talented Ryan Mooney, takes us through the complicated, secret relationship between high school students Jason (Lucas Blaney) and Peter (Braeden Cox) at a Catholic boarding school. Keeping it under wraps from their friends, teachers, and parents, Jason and Peter sing their way through a complicated story-line as they are thrown many curve-balls and surprises along the way (Iâ€™d tell you, but then it wouldnâ€™t be a surprise..duh.). The love between them draws many parallels to the story and relationship of Romeo and Juliet; lovers who could not be together. Using Romeo and Juliet in its plot line, a tale about two star-crossed lovers who could not be together under certain circumstances, was great symbolism that helped the audience to digest the tough situation happening in front of their eyes easier.
Besides the relationship between Peter and Jason, the partying, drug use, alcohol consumption, and sexual tendencies amongst all characters were things that couldnâ€™t go unnoticed. It was, from my point of view, an accurate portrayal of what happens when you take a bunch of kids, lock them up away from the bigger world around them, and tellthem what to believe in and control everyone of their movements. Iâ€™ve been going to a catholic school since Kindergarten, and to say that that stuff doesnâ€™t happen is bullshit (sorry, mom and dad…).
The singing was incredible. Letâ€™s be honest…in every show thereâ€™s usually that one person who doesnâ€™t really deliver vocally. Again, I deem myself eligible to say this because I am usually that person (fuck my life). It felt as though there was barely any speaking lines, but I am NOT complaining. The songs told the story, and the youth vocals made that story all the more enjoyable. I do need to put the spotlight on the character Nadia (played by Emma Leigh Hillier) who sang a song called “Plain Jane Fat Ass” that immediately became my new favorite musical theatre song.
A performance so real and raw, BARE made me leave the theatre feeling more passionate about the issues of oppression which adolescents deal with in a Catholic community, and also super inspired by the mesmerizing cast of 20 who stayed completely committed to the story and its truth. Did I mention they were all considered youth? No?! Well now you know that we are capable of being the key players in such dramaâ€™s like BARE, and can portray any issue on stage…no matter how hard it is to bare. Thank you to Fighting Chance Productions for accommodating Youth in 57 Minutes, and I look forward to seeing more of your productions!
Photo from http://fightingchanceproductions.ca/
Under the direction of Simon Isherwood, Notre Dame Regional Secondary performedÂ “Bye, Bye Birdie”last week in front of a nearly sold-out audience each night! Enthusiastic students ranging from ages 13 to 17 took part in making the show come alive; whether it was singing 3-part harmonies or working on the elaborate set.
Teen heartthrob, Conrad Birdie visits the town of Sweet Apple, Ohio to kiss a lucky fan upon being drafted to the army, and ultimately causes swooning crowds and chaos among the teenaged population instead. “It’s funny what certain idols do to us,” says Anthony Belmonte (playing Conrad Birdie), “we usually look for someone to look up to, and that’s why this show is hilarious.” Jay Balletta, a newcomer on the musical theatre front (playing Albert Peterson) prides himself in being involved in such a comedy, and adds that “life has enough drama, and we don’t need to watch that in a play”.
For students like Vanessa Merenda (playing Rose Alvarez) and Michelle Luongo (playing Mrs. Mae Peterson) who have consumed their high school careers with musical theatre, they consider the arts in high school to be an amazing experience. “What we learn from each other on stage and behind the scenes in practice is all stuff we apply to real life,” says Michelle. Although the large ensemble of students in the show varies in musical theatre experience from none at all to years of practice, their exciting stage presence remained high throughout the entire show. This very stage presence is something that inspires grade 8 students like Sebastian Busse, who hopes that he can exude the same qualities as his grade 9, 10,11, and 12 mentors in future productions. “After performing with them, you’re inspired and want to be as well-trained and confident as them,” he says.
Keep checking back to Y57′s website for more info about events in the fine and performing arts!