Friday, October 12, 2012

Plugging The Unplugging

Just a brief note to say that The Unplugging, a new play by Yvette Nolan, began preview performances at Arts Club Theatre's Revue Stage on Granville Island last night. Richard and I, along with our good friend Cathy, visiting from the UK, were in the audience.

In the play, Nolan (former Artistic Director at Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto), has adapted an Athabaskan legend, as recorded by Velma Wallis, called Two Old Women, in which the complaining protagonists of the title are cast out into the wilderness during a time of hardship after they have become too much of a burden on the rest of the community. Forced to rely on each other, and their storehouse of strength, stamina, and skills, the two women thrive against the odds, to the point where the community that has cast them out comes calling for their aid.

In Nolan's version, set in the very near future, she has tapped into the current cultural zeitgeist re our anxiously wired, digital culture (see TV's Revolution), imagining a post-apocalyptic world without electricity. Bern and Elena must re-discover the lost ways of their Aboriginal foremothers, "becoming," in the words of Nolan's script, something new. But the arrival of a mysterious stranger, Seamus, threatens their fragile new community of two. Jenn Griffin (as Bern) and Margo Kane (as Elena) are powerful stage presences, and they are ably supported by Anton Lipovetsky as Seamus. Lois Anderson is the director, with dramaturgical assistance having been provided by Rachel Ditor and my buddy DD Kugler.

I'll have more to say about the play after it officially opens next Wednesday, October 17th, and I get a chance to return for an additional viewing. But I did want to acknowledge how generous Yvette has already been in sharing the script with me--and the students of my Introduction to Drama class at SFU, who will be studying it and the production over the next two weeks.

I also wanted to say that I think the tag line and poster design for the show are among the most savvy that I have encountered in a long time. See below.


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