Charlie Ross is living his childhood dream—he gets to be Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, and retell the Star Wars stories—for an audience! “It’s connecting with that eight-year-old child, who loves to just reenact and play all the different characters,” Charlie recently told the BBC.
When Charlie was eight, he lived on a farm outside Prince George. His exposure to popular culture was pretty limited, but his dad had a tape of Star Wars that Charlie claims to have watched about 400 times. “The damage was done,” he told the BBC. “In a way, it was like childhood trauma!”
His mom let him skip Cub Scouts one night so he could attend his first acting workshop, and years later, Charlie has turned his obsession into a career that’s taken him around the world. He’s performed One-Man Star Wars Trilogy off-Broadway, in Dubai’s resorts, London’s West End, at Star Wars conventions, and everywhere in between.
But what’s it like being a kid on stage once you have a kid in real life?
In March, 2014, Charlie and his wife welcomed their baby girl to the world—an experience he says was way scarier than any performance experience. “Actors tend to rehearse things and don’t like to screw up, although it can be fun if you do, but with having a kid, you don’t want to make any mistakes. It’s all about the kid now!”
And while performing One-Man Star Wars Trilogy is still a great release for his inner eight-year-old, Charlie has noticed a shift in his performances. He pays much more attention to the kids, and their parents, when they’re part of the audience at his shows. “It might be more kid friendly. I just did a show in Petoskey, Michigan and there were lots of kids,” Charlie says. “It made me feel very happy to see the kids digging the show. It also made feel hopeful for future generations of theatre goers.”
Although being a dad means Charlie is now somewhat grown up, he’s happy to “get to relive being a kid as a parent” as his daughter grows—and he’s looking forward to the day he and his daughter bond over Star Wars.
The Lottery has been drawn and the Dramatic Works Series filled up in a matter a minutes. So where does that leave artists who want to be part of the 2015 Fringe? There are two more options for you:
At long last, our list of pre-approved Bring Your Own Venue (BYOV) venues has been released! This year we’ve added new BYOV venues—Pacific Theatre and Arts Umbrella (and Carousel Theatre is back)—to create a wider variety of options for our artists. Click here for all the details on how to apply. BYOV applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Applicants must have a pre-approved venue secured before applying with the Fringe.
If you’d like to produce a Site-Specific Show for your BYOV, visit the Site-Specific info page for details and the application form. Don’t forget, your show must be site-specific. Proximity to either our Granville Island or our East Van hubs will be heavily considered.
New for 2015 is the DAREU! program! DAREU! is an evolution of the Onsite Program. Up to 12 participants will create Augmented Reality site-specific videos based on the theme of “risk.” These videos will be viewable on smartphones or tablets through the 2nd Story App and will debut at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in September. DAREU! will be similar to The Only Animal’s 2nd Story: Blood Alley pilot project, which was part of the 2014 Heart of the City Festival.
Workshops will be held weekly March 11 thru June 17 and The Only Animal will provide mentorship, instruction, workshop materials, video and editing equipment, design support, a production materials budget, and production and event support including printed and social media publicity materials. All participants will receive an Artist Rush Pass for the Fringe.
Participation is limited to writer-directors aged 17-24 (inclusive) who have the intention to be professional artists. No experience in film or video necessary. A gender balanced diverse group of artists will be selected on a first come, first served basis. For more information on the program, and to apply, visit The Only Animal’s website.
Always the banker in Monopoly? Love the Fringe? Show your love by helping us find a new Treasurer for the Fringe/FVTS Board (First Vancouver Theatrespace Society).
Our very capable current Treasurer, Andrew Westman is becoming the next President of the FVTS Board, so we need someone to fill his shoes as he takes on this new role. As the Treasurer you would assist Andrew, the Board, and Executive Director David Jordan with the preparation of the annual budget, quarterly reports, and generally keeping on top on financial issues and keeping the Board informed.
Thanks to an anonymous TELUS employee or retiree, and the TELUS Dollars for Doers program, the Fringe received a TELUS donation of $400!
Dollars for Doers is a program that recognizes the volunteer efforts of TELUS’ staff and retired staff team. When a TELUS employee volunteers a minimum of 50 hours in the community, TELUS donates $200 to the organization of his or her choice. And when a retired TELUS employee volunteers 200 hours, TELUS donates $400! To the Fringe Lover who designated the Fringe for the TELUS donation: Thanks, whoever you are, for choosing to support the Festival and Fringe artists!
Do you or did you work for TELUS, or another business that donates to charities in exchange for your volunteer hours? If so, don’t forget you can leverage more support for the Fringe through Dollars for Doers and other donation matching programs! Don’t work for TELUS? Many businesses offer similar volunteer rewards/donation matching programs. Just ask your HR representative and get your company supporting the Festival and Fringe artists!
Don’t forget: the Vancouver Fringe’s charitable society name is “First Vancouver Theatrespace Society.”
PuSH International Performing Arts Festival
January 20 – February 8
Unique and genre pushing (hence the name) performances from artists around the world and around the block. Be sure to check out Club PuSH at Performance Works and free events like Human Library and Le Grand Continental (in which our Board President, Jane Westheuser, along with dozens of Vancouverites, will be dancing). And if you’re between 16-24 years old, get a Youth Passport and see up to six shows for just $5 each!
The Bacchae 2.1
January 21 – February 7
Frederic Wood Theatre at UBC
American playwright Charles L. Mee often gets his mitts on the Greeks and shakes them around till their teeth rattle. The Bacchae 2.1 gives us a subversive Dionysus in thigh highs and combat boots. Warning: Explicit content.
This Stays In The Room
February 4 – 7
This Stays in the Room invites you, the audience, to join them on the stage of the Waterfront Theatre as they explore what it requires to face ourselves and others as we grapple with shame, forgiveness, vulnerability, and hope. Seated on the stage in the midst of the action, the audience will be invited to act as witness to the disquiet of other people’s internal dialogue and struggle.
Missed the Fringe? Don’t fret! The second year of programming outside the Festival promises epic lightsaber battles, high school reflections, and a break from reality in One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, Marathon, and Virtual Solitaire.
“This year’s Fringe Presents shows take us on a virtuosic ride through boyhood,” Fringe Executive Director David Jordan explains. “It’s every boy’s dream come true to be able to play like Charles Ross in his re-enactment of all three original Star Wars movies. In Virtual Solitaire we get to see the dark side of that male obsession with fantasy and video games when the fun doesn’t end, and finally, in Marathon, TJ Dawe takes us on a journey through awkwardness and isolation to manhood in his coming-of-age story.”
One-Man Star Wars Trilogy
By Charles Ross
February 17-19, 2015
at Performance Works
After last year’s sold out run of One-Man Lord of the Rings, Charles Ross is back by popular demand with his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy! He’s been touring the world with One-Man Star Wars Trilogy since 2002, when it was a hit on the Fringe circuit, with the George Lucas stamp of approval.
“With nuclear levels of energy, [Ross] throws himself around the stage, performing not only the dialogue of Lucas’ movies, but the theme music, sound effects, and both sides of the lightsaber battles.” —Variety
By Dawson Nichols
March 17-29, 2015
at Studio 1398
Since Virtual Solitaire’s 1997 debut and 2000 Vancouver Fringe run, technology has advanced exponentially, and so too has its ability to leave users feeling isolated, disconnected, and sometimes addicted. In Virtual Solitaire, Nathan is addicted to full immersion virtual reality. He’s had the surgery, but can’t afford the bandwidth anymore. He turns to testing games for cash, but gets trapped in one when the characters take over his brain and body—and he can no longer tell the difference between his virtual reality and his real life.
“So beautifully written and performed that it should stand as a blueprint for any solo artist.” —Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun
By TJ Dawe
March 17-29, 2015
at Studio 1398
After receiving a standing ovation at the 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival’s Opening Night and 30th Birthday Bash, we’re bringing Marathon back for a full run! Based on TJ Dawe’s short stint running track and field as a means of connecting with his high-school-principal-dad, Dawe links his actions and emotions to his understanding of the Enneagram and his Fringe career—giving audiences insight into the man who’s been delighting Fringe crowds since 1998’s Tired Clichés.
“An elfin grin spreads on his face, and he takes us back to his ill-fated career as a high school athlete … the long arms reach out and the tales spill with breathless enthusiasm. He takes three seemingly unrelated threads, skillfully winds them together and once again, he’s the master.” —Edmonton Sun
On December 3, hopeful artists gathered amongst their friends and other Festival Fans at Vancouver’s ANZA Club. All were eager to find out which of the record breaking 221 applicants would win a spot in the random Lottery-selected lineup for next year’s Festival.
In true fun Fringe fashion, the Lottery also worked as a bingo game where attendees had to eat some worms (of the gummy variety), perform an Elvis impersonation, or do a slow dance whenever certain numbers were called out. Assisted by Board Members Nancy More, Lianna Walden, and Robyn Kurtz, Executive Director David Jordan hosted the draw and the game with whimsy and the occasional tip on how to do a proper “high school slow dance.”
Before the official draw, 2014’s winner of the PTC Fringe New Play Prize, Tara Travis, presented 2015’s winner, playwright Derek Chan of rice & beans theatre. Derek’s play Starstuff will receive a free Mainstage spot at the 2015 Festival as well as dramaturgical support with Playwrights Theatre Centre’s, Kathleen Flaherty.
During the Lottery draw, Derek’s co-artistic director at rice & beans, Peter Chamale, also won a spot for his own show which he said will include topics such as “cooking and brown people,” called Small Town Hoser Spic. Another Lottery winner was longtime Festival volunteer Scott Water, who is producing a play about “a boy who sees letters and numbers in colour but isn’t crazy.” Two-time London Fringe performer and choreographer, Emilee Nimetz is both excited and “terrified!” to be doing her first solo production. Emilee’s spoken word and movement-based show will be centered around the idea of its title, How to Build a Home.
Candice Fiorentino of Anatolia Speaks, along with Martin Dockery (with a new show, The Exclusion Zone) will return in 2015, as will Portland-based mask artist Andrew Phoenix of WonderHeads. Lottery Party goers cheered on when other return artists’ names were pulled from the hats, including Hiromi Yano (aka Little Miss Hiccup), Trent Baumann (better known as The Birdmann), and Corin Raymond, who won the Pick of the Fringe with his show Bookworm, a few years ago.
Just before the final provincial winner was drawn, Board Members Doug Beaton and Robyn Kurtz hijacked the Lottery to celebrate David’s decade-long stint at the Fringe. David was bestowed with a tower of hats, each representing a role he’s played over the years as Executive Director. An audience favourite was “The Lid of the Last Minute Success.”
To cap off the event, shadow puppeteers Mind of a Snail delighted the crowd with what they described as their “weirdest show ever,” Inside Outlet, before the Nautical Miles’ Corbin Murdoch spun a selection of dance-inducing tunes.
Full Lottery and WaitList results can be found here. Heaps of thanks to the ANZA Club for lending us their room, equipment, and wonderful staff! Congrats 2015 Lottery winners!
Your donations let the Festival and Fringe artists create those unique and life-changing moments, big and small, that we all love. It doesn’t happen without your help!
Fringe Lovers covered the basic costs of about half of the 2014 Festival Mainstage shows! These Fringe Heroes helped make the 30th Anniversary Fringe utterly unforgettable and the biggest Festival to date! It’s not too late to be a Fringe Hero and make a difference!
Work on the 2015 Festival is already well underway. The successful Dramatic Works Series will be returning for a second year, we are creating new mentorship opportunities (including with youth), and beginning exciting collaborations with local independent theatre companies! And Fringe Presents continues this Spring.
Of course, none of this materializes by itself. Your investment in the Festival and Fringe artists will help make sure this happens and make it all as amazing as it can possibly can be!
Forgot to donate? Want to add to the transformative power of your 2014 donation? Want to help fund over 50% of the performances?… Or save more on your 2014 taxes? It’s not too late to create amazing theatre for everyone… and get a 2014 tax receipt!
Help create a strong year-round Fringe and build the next Festival and next decade of Fringe! This is your Fringe—make it happen!
Thank you for your belief in your Fringe!
For nearly 50 years, the Georgia Straight has been reporting on Vancouver’s arts, culture, lifestyle, politics, and everything in between. They even printed the Fringe’s program guide back when the Festival was establishing itself in the 1980s. We asked them to share a little bit about what it’s like sponsoring the Festival:
How did you support the Fringe this year?
As a true partner to the Fringe, we produced a special issue and sent out our talented theatre reviewers to see as much Fringe as humanly possible. Shouldn’t Colin Thomas get a special Fringe award?
Tell us why your organization supports the Fringe and/or the arts.
We believe the arts provide a vital contribution to the community and make our city a better place to live. The Fringe personifies everything that the arts should be…accessible, fun, affordable, and a place to nurture artists. The Fringe is also a great kick off to the arts season and seems to wrap up the summer months in a perfect way. The Fringe Festival has been voted “Best Performing Arts Festival” in our Best of Vancouver Readers’ Poll for many years. Our readers LOVE the Fringe!
What do you like about the Fringe?
In FIVE words:
If your organization and the Fringe were people, what would they do on an afternoon together? And why?
We would create something wacky and fun…probably a band or a theatre troupe or combination thereof. How about “The Straight Fringers?” Sounds like a hit coming your way soon….topped off with a party to wrap it up.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Radio Show
December 5 – 30, 2014
Who would have guessed that an attempted suicide would become a beloved holiday classic? Revisit the perennial favourite as a 1940s style radio play, written by Peter Church. Check out the cute costumes in this preview!
January 7 – 17, 2015
Firehall Arts Centre
Produced by Fringe alumni, Alley Theatre, Kayak, is the story of Annie Iverson, a BMW-driving, bleached-blond who sets out to save her son from the dangers of his radical environmentalist girlfriend.
PostSecret: The Show
January 20 – February 7, 2015
Firehall Arts Centre
Fringe legend TJ Dawe creates monologues that often spring from his deepest, darkest secrets. He has teamed up with Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret.com one of the most popular blogs in the world, to develop this unforgettable live, immersive experience that draws you into the world of sexual, sad, funny, and controversial secrets, connecting stories of frailty and heroism playing out silently around us. Starring Fringe alumni, Kahlil Ashanti.
From our whiteboard to you! Happy holidays from the Fringe! Illustration by Shantini Klaassen.