Kitt is a strange girl. She’s an outsider, a social reject, a misfit—but according to the folks at SNAFU Dance Theatre, who created her, those are just the kind of people who change the world. And from May 7 to 11, you’ll get a chance to get inside Kitt’s head.
Looking at the catalogue of work that SNAFU has created, it’s pretty obvious that Kitt isn’t the only SNAFU character who could be classified as a social misfit. “That’s ‘cause we’re misfits,” Kathleen Greenfield, SNAFU’s Co-Artistic Director and co-writer of Little Orange Man and Kitt & Jane, said. When asked why outsiders are integral to their shows, Sarah Jane Pelzer, a founding artist with SNAFU piped up: “Misfits grapple with the world in a unique and interesting way. Their interactions with the world are unique. They challenge the mainstream and grow up to be the people who create social change.”
And Kitt is trying to change the world!
When we first meet Kitt in Little Orange Man, she’s 12 years old and she invites the audience into her realm—that of her family and the playground, not to mention her amazing imagination. She tells the audience about the kids in her class, including one kid who poops his pants (who turns out to be Jane), and her grandfather’s grisly folk tales. The “dream experiment” she makes the audience participate in brought the Georgia Straight’s Colin Thomas to tears back in 2011.
Two years later we meet Kitt again, but she’s at the age when she starts to notice the world around her and wonders what the future will bring. During a class assignment, she gets paired with the poopy pants kid who somehow acquired the unfortunate nickname Jane. They’re supposed to present on salmon, but things get out of control. Kitt and Jane hijack the assembly and prepare us for the apocalypse. “They see this as the most exciting challenge of their lives,” Ingrid Hansen, Co-Artistic Director, co-writer, and the actress behind Kitt explained. “Everything is collapsing—the environment, the economy, but their attitude is, ‘bring it on! We can deal with it.’”
This attitude reflects those of teens SNAFU interviewed while creating Kitt & Jane. “The end of the world feels more immediate to young people because they’re going to be there when it happens,” Ingrid says. “They know they have to live with the decisions of the people who came before them, these people who got to live the good life at the expense of the future.” The interviews with teens, along with a variety of others, will be available in podcast form soon. “What people actually fear the most though, if an apocalypse happens, is that they’d be alone,” Ingrid explains. Luckily Kitt & Jane offers solutions for just that scenario.
As some of you may have noticed, ticket sales for Little Orange Man and Kitt & Jane were down for a week earlier this month due to the Heartbleed Bug. To protect you and ensure your financial security, we disabled our ticket sales until we could be sure that the Heartbleed Bug was addressed. We’re now confident that our systems are secure, as our ticketing partners have assured us that any potential problems have been resolved. Furthermore, we have no reason to believe that the Fringe was the target of any malicious activity.
For added security, we suggest you login to our ticketing system and change your password.
There are still a few more days to apply to be our Assistant Volunteer Coordinator! You’ll be setting up the Fringe Volunteer Centre, a space where up to 600 volunteers check in for their shifts, have a quick coffee, and socialize with each other. You’ll also be recruiting these lovely people to be ushers, ticket takers, drivers, and all sorts of jobs that make the Festival run smoothly. Apply by April 25 and make sure you meet the criteria (this position is funded by the Canada Summer Jobs program). Find more details here.
We’ll be posting more seasonal positions in the coming months, so be sure to check our website regularly if you want to contribute to making the Festival happen!
car2go will be back to sponsor the 2014 Fringe Festival! We’re sure you’ve seen the blue and white smart cars zipping around Vancouver already—maybe you’re already one of the initiated! But if not, car2go wants to offer Fringe fans the opportunity to register for free and get 30 minutes free drive time! Use promo code FRINGE0030 when signing up and you’ll get access to a carsharing organization designed to complement multiple forms of transportation including cycling, walking, transit, and more! Learn more about how car2go works, rates, and all the how to’s on their website.
Plus, if you sign up now, you’ll certainly get your member card in time to use a car2go to get to the Fringe! There are plenty of designated car2go parking spots on Granville Island too, so there’s no need to worry about doing a loop looking for a space or timing your visit.
Already a member? Forward the promotional code FRINGE0030 with your account details to Vancouver[at]car2go[dot]com, ATTN Marketing, and you will receive 30 minutes of driving. Please note that drive time is valid for use within 30 days. 1 redemption per Fringe supporter.
Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre
Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Now-April 27, 2014
A post modern revisitation of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession is being mounted by Marisa Smith of Alley Theatre, winner of the 2010 Joanna Maratta Award for Wicked Shorts. Check out the interactive documentary website. $3 from every ticket will be donated to WISH Drop-In Centre and PACE Society.
Now-May 4, 2014
In a trailer outside the Italian Cultural Center, 3075 Slocan St.
Fringe Onsite alumni Itsazoo Productions will seat you and a very limited audience inside the trailer belonging to the Smiths, a dysfunctional family who hires a hit man in a life insurance scheme. Be sure to watch the preview video for this show written by Pulitzer Prize winner, Tracy Letts.
Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus
May 7, 2014
All the footage had to be smuggled out of Belarus for this documentary about The Belarus Free Theatre, a company that ignores government censorship laws created by President Alexander Lukashenko and puts themselves at risk of losing jobs or being beaten by the authorities. Presented as part of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, running May 2-11.
Reefer Madness: The Musical
May 14-18, 2014
CBC Studio 700
Those Awkward Stage kids have fallen prey to the deadly narcotic, marijuana! Even Jesus seems to have been smokin’ the reefer, leading a chorus of showgirl angels!
You don’t often hear of actors quitting their full time acting jobs to do a Fringe show, but that’s exactly what Chase Padgett did in 2010—but the show the actor/musician is best known for would never had happened if the trumpet hadn’t become a bore.
Since he can remember, Chase has been performing—whether it was in school productions or playing the trumpet in the school band. In seventh grade, Chase’s dad gave him a guitar for Christmas.
“I hadn’t asked for a guitar and I didn’t want it,” Chase explained. But over the next couple years, Chase started to get bored with the trumpet, and finally, when he was 15, he decided to pull the guitar out of the closet and try playing it. “I taught myself a few chords and decided that if it ever got boring, I’d stop. I wanted to focus on the mystery of the instrument, rather than the mastery, and that’s led me to try out all the genres you see in 6 Guitars.”
During his days at the University of Central Florida, where he gained a BA with a focus in music, Chase decided to experiment with improv at the SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando. He was hooked and the experience helped lead him to jobs at Disney World and Universal Studios where he worked full time playing characters like Beetlejuice and the Grinch.
But Chase wanted a challenge. Along with his sketch comedy troupe, the Executives, Chase ventured into the world of Fringe in 2008 and 2009.
Another challenge had been in the works during those years too. With his SAK Comedy Lab buddy and fellow Disney World employee Jay Hopkins, Chase had begun creating the characters in 6 Guitars.
“Jay would interview me as each character, and we’d record these interviews. Together we finessed them and developed the script for 6 Guitars,” Chase said. When he made it into the Orlando Fringe Festival in 2010, he decided to quit his full time job. “I learned so much at Disney World, but I had to take the risk.”
The risk paid off. 6 Guitars swept the Audience Choice Awards and has gone on to be performed 158 times. “Every performance is a little different,” Chase explains. “It’s a little bit scary that way, but it keeps things fresh.”
Nashville Hurricane, Chase’s next solo show, which will be in Vancouver March 19 to 23, started off in a similar way to 6 Guitars, with the help of Jay Hopkins. “There’s also a little bit of me in it,” Chase shared. “There are some similarities between me and Henry, the main character. We both spent a lot of time alone learning to play music.”
But unlike Chase, Henry doesn’t want to perform. “The character has autism and he has to overcome his fear of people,” Chase explains. “The story is structured like Joseph Campbell’s monomyth. Henry’s a hero who’s given a gift. He has to find himself through the journey and is challenged along the way. He has to figure out how to do what he loves, playing music, while overcoming a fear of being in front of people.”
Music fans will be happy to know that Chase has added more songs to the show since its original inception—and fans of Tommy Emmanuel will see his influence on the music in Nashville Hurricane. “Henry’s playing very much in Tommy Emmanuel’s style, with the harmony, melody, and bass all played at once on the guitar,” Chase explains. “And it all culminates in the closing number, ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia.’”
Get your tickets to see Chase in Nashville Hurricane, March 19 to 23 at Performance Works on Granville Island.
by David Jordan, Fringe Festival Executive Director
In February we kicked off our year round programming initiative “Fringe Presents” with One Man Lord of the Rings and Hockey Night at the Puck and Pickle Pub—undeniably two of the greatest success stories to ever come out of the Fringe circuit. Alongside these shows we also hosted TJ Dawe’s interview series, Totem Figures, which was initially created as podcasts following the theatre show of the same name.
Often touted as a “Fringe God,” TJ interviews guests about their heroes and influences—their Totem Figures. Although the Totem Figures podcasts are complete, TJ revived the series for the stage—adding video to support some of the discussion. He interviewed Charlie Ross of One Man Lord of the Rings on February 8 and will be interviewing Chase Padgett following a performance of Nashville Hurricane on March 22, 2014.
When TJ and I first conceived of adding Totem Figures interviews to select Fringe Presents performances, we were certain that we didn’t want them to be anything like a normal talk back where a handful of people stick around. One of the gifts TJ brings is the ability to discuss a wide range of topics in great depth and detail—which he displayed in spades with Charlie (it also doesn’t hurt that they have been friends for more than 20 years). What was really exciting about the interview was that throughout it Charlie and TJ talked about the essence of theatre and performance by talking about topics that seemingly have nothing to do with theatre, or with each other: wrestling, favourite records, and Iron Maiden.
This is not a hallucination! It is not September. It is March—yet the Fringe seems to be upon us with two Georgia Straight Critics’ Choice Award winners on Vancouver stages this month.
At the 2012 Fringe, Underbelly won the Cultchivating the Fringe Award, which is presented to the Festival show that demonstrates unique potential and rewards it with a run at The Cultch. The time has finally arrived, March 18 to 30.
Based on the life and writings of William S. Burroughs and The Beats, Jayson McDonald’s portrayal of a generation dealing with the aftermath of WWII, a group of whom developed a new literary style and cultural movement, is mesmerizing—so much so that the Straight’s Colin Thomas calls for more: “Dazzling…the script is full of crazy humour and darkness…Again! Again!”
And if that isn’t enough incentive, The Cultch is offering Fringe Fans an exclusive offer! Save 50% on tickets to Underbelly at The Cultch when you book by March 7! Enter promo code underbelly50 online or by phone through The Cultch Box Office at 604-251-1363.* Again, we reiterate, this is not a hallucination!
Are you trying to get media attention for your event but not having any luck? Or are you a marketing hot shot that craves even more media coverage? We have a solution! Deb Pickman, co-artistic director and ensemble member of the Vancouver theatre company shameless hussy productions, and Communications & Marketing Specialist for Theatre at UBC, will return to host Hot Copy, a marketing and publicity workshop to help you get the media attention you need!
While the workshop will focus on marketing a Fringe Festival show, the low and no-cost tips and tricks are ideal for all independent artists looking to promote themselves and their events. Learn the basics of a press release and when to contact media outlets, what are the key elements to choosing promotional images for posters and flyers, and social media tips. Plus, Deb will answer as many questions as time allows!
When: Monday, April 14, 7-9:00pm
Where: Carousel Theatre Studio, 1411 Cartwright Street on Granville Island
How Much?: Free for confirmed 2014 Fringe Festival artists; $10 for non-Fringe artists
RSVP to Shantini Klaassen at administration[at]vancouverfringe[dot]com by April 11, 2014
We have a thing about love. And we love the Fringers who create a vibrant community of theatre-makers and goers in Vancouver, centered around the Festival—and all year long. Every year people share stories of making friends (and love connections) at the Festival and how the interactions Fringers have with each other break so many stereotypes of Vancouver as an unfriendly, no-fun place.
A special group of Fringers help make the Fringe happen in a concrete way—our donors, many of whom are also volunteers and artists, contributing in so many ways! We always want to express our love for these special folk, so once again, we sent them Valentine’s cards!
A team of loving volunteers came in for an arts and craft day at the Fringe office to make cards that we mailed off shortly after. Cut outs of hearts, glitter glue, and a special cupid made up the Valentine cards, which now adorn fridges, mantles, and email boxes around Vancouver and beyond.
Didn’t get a Fringe-y Valentine? Want to contribute to your Fringe community? Donate today and keep an eye out for our annual fundraising campaign, Spring for the Fringe, this May! We love you guys!