Slider by IWEBIX
Tara Travis went to high school with three sets of identical twins. Each twin had such a markedly different personality that it sparked an obsession. Despite being in virtually the same body, how did they end up being entirely unique people? Add watching a medical documentary about Fetus in Fetu (when twins occur, but one is absorbed by the other in the womb, remaining in the body of the surviving twin in a tumor-like state), and a clown character that Tara had kicking around for years, and you have the initial thrust behind the creation of The Unfortunate Ruth.
“What if it was the absorbed twin that lived?” Tara says, explaining the evolution of The Unfortunate Ruth, which will be performed February 5 to 7 at Studio 1398 on Granville Island.
“Ruth is cool with who she is, but Ruthie is wracked with self-loathing and insecurity,” Tara says of her characters. Ruthie undergoes plastic surgery to “repair” the physical traits that Ruth is okay with. Ruthie has also just undergone a big weight loss at the start of this story—an event that parallels Tara’s own experience. “It was like getting a new body,” Tara explains. “I thought it would fix everything, and all my insecurities would go away and I would suddenly become ‘magical, ideal me,’ but ultimately you’re still the same person at the core. Of course you should take care of the package you’re in, but in the end, that doesn’t change who you really are, and that’s something I wanted to explore in The Unfortunate Ruth.”
Tara’s script started off with 15 pages of material when she submitted it for the Playwrights Theatre Centre’s Fringe New Play Prize—an award she won in 2014. “I got a lot of great feedback from Kathleen [Flaherty] on how to proceed.”
Tara brought Fringe favourites, Mind of a Snail on board to develop visuals to tell the story of Ruth and Ruthie in utero. “At first I thought about making latex puppets,” Tara, who is well known as a puppeteer, explained. “But I thought they’d end up being too creepy.” The audience needs to be endeared to Ruth and Ruthie in fetus form.
While Mind of Snail’s visuals are still a vital part of the show, The Unfortunate Ruth has evolved since it was first at the Fringe. “It was still in its infancy then. I’ve since added to it,” Tara says. “I’ve added a voice to the mother character, which helps to round out the story. But it’s still funny and playful, of course.”
Tara’s looking forward to performing the deeply personal show in Studio 1398’s intimate setting. “Ruth and Ruthie are my two halves. It’s a very vulnerable show for me since, like everyone else, I don’t like showing my neurotic side,” Tara says. “But I can’t wait to get back in the skin of Ruth. She’s so dear to me. I miss her.”
The Unfortunate Ruth is on February 5 to 7 with just three performances. Tickets are available at TheatreWire.com.
Back in 2014, the Fringe staff and board came to the conclusion that the organization’s Mission Statement needed a revamp. While our Vision, “Theatre for Everyone” remains the same, the Fringe needed a Mission Statement that summed up the work we do, and aspire to do (including our newest project, Theatre Wire)—something that would inspire us on a daily basis and not just be copied and pasted into grant applications.
The Fringe’s External Affairs Committee spent hours reflecting on the Fringe’s past and looking to the future. They took the time to chat with many folks from the Fringe community, including artists, funders, and volunteers. Then after many long sessions with thesauri blazing, they carefully crafted this statement:
Then they took it back to our board and stakeholders. And they like it! They see it as “fun,” “fresh,” and “aspirational.” Now we want to hear from you! Take this short survey and let us know what you think!
If you consider yourself a Fringer, chances are you’ve already met Robyn Kurtz, the Fringe and Theatre Wire’s new Marketing Manager. Robyn started with the Fringe as a patron and then quickly stepped up to fill a variety of volunteer roles over the years. She’s also a donor—including getting her family in on Your Fringe for a Day! She’s served on the Fringe’s board of directors as well—not to mention she had her wedding reception at the Fringe Bar!
Clearly Robyn is a die-hard Fringe fan, which, in combination with her sales background, makes her the ideal person to sell the Fringe and Theatre Wire to Vancouver’s theatre lovers and the theatre curious.
“I am stoked to be joining such a rad team who all work so hard to cultivate theatre in Vancouver,” Robyn says. “Fringe is my passion and now it’s my job. I’m really grateful and excited to take on this new role!” The rest of us are excited to have her here too!
Advance Theatre: New Works by Women is a partnership between the Fringe, Ruby Slippers Theatre, and Equity in Theatre showcasing dramatic readings of plays written by women. Only 30% of artistic directors, working directors, and playwrights in Canadian theatre are women. This under representation led to Ruby Slippers’ Diane Brown to instigate this program, which had a successful inaugural year at the 2015 Festival.
Submissions for inclusion in the Advance Theatre: New Works by Women series at the 2016 Fringe are being accepted until February 15 only! If you’re a self-identified woman with a play ready for submission, read all about the process and apply now!
We’re sad to say that 2015 was the ninth and final year that La Siembra Co-operative, better known to you as Camino, was a Fringe Festival Partner.
Camino provided crucial support for Festival fundraising and helped us achieve a record year for the 2015 Raffle. Not only did Camino support the Raffle by providing a big basket full of goodies as the 4th Prize, but mini-chocolates were handed out to ticket purchasers throughout the Festival—solidifying a place in the hearts (and tummies) of Fringers!
Thanks so much to Camino, and in particular to Mélanie Broguet and Jennifer Alldred who helped us make this partnership the sweetest one ever. We will miss you and wish you all at Camino the very best in the future! Perhaps our paths will cross again—we certainly hope so!
Like Father, Like Son? Sorry.
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
Chris Gibbs hasn’t been in the Vancouver Fringe for a few years, but this show about his newfound parenthood was part of the 2011 Festival, when the Georgia Straight’s Colin Thomas admitted that he was “still laughing at [Gibbs’] material the next morning.”
Closer Than Ever
February 4 – 20
Gateway Theatre MainStage
Love grows up: Art imitates life, and sometimes the other way around, in this very witty, slightly sassy, award-winning off-Broadway musical revue about the pleasures and pitfalls of “adulting”—including songs about sexcapades, one-way love affairs, life crises, multiple mis-marriages, parent-child role reversal, and growing old(er), gorgeously sung by Gateway’s seasoned ensemble cast.
February 9 – 13
Firehall Arts Centre
After a sold out run at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe as part of the Festival’s inaugural Dramatic Works Series, Little One went on to gain stellar reviews at the New York Fringe. Alley Theatre is now bringing Hannah Moscovitch’s dark tale of twisted adopted sibling back to the Firehall.
One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody
February 18 – 21
Charlie Ross has wowed audiences around the world with his one-man renditions of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Now he’s taking on a new trilogy to perform with no sound effects, no costumes, and no props—Batman: The Dark Knight Trilogy.
On Wednesday, December 2, Fringe artists and fans gathered at the Big Rock Urban Brewery to select the 2016 Festival’s Mainstage category artists by random draw! The Fringe received more applications than ever before, with 237 artists hoping for a Mainstage spot, some of whom were in attendance waiting to hear their names. Plus, non-artists were asked to “adopt an artist” and pretend to be them if their names were called and present a guess at what their show might be like.
While waiting for the draw to begin, the crowd took to colouring Jimmy, the wolf and sheep, and other characters that have graced the pages of Fringe program guides. The most creative colouring would win tickets to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Manuela Sosa took the prize for giving Jimmy a psychedelic pantsuit with runners up Priscilla Costa (a.k.a. Mona Monae), Ushi Tarissan, and April O’Peel making for tough competition.
Before drawing names, winners of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals Touring Lottery who had chosen Vancouver were lauded and include past Fringers, Cameryn Moore (Phone Whore, slut (r)evolution), Jeff Leard (The Show Must Go On, Sperm Wars), and Travis Bernhardt (Unpossible!, Lies!).
Then the Playwrights Theatre Centre’s (PTC) Dramaturg, Kathleen Flaherty and 2015’s Fringe New Play Prize winner, Derek Chan (Starstuff: Per Aspera Ad Astra), joined Fringe Executive Director, David Jordan on stage to announce the winner of the 2016 Fringe New Play Prize. Deneh’Cho Thompson, whose play The Girl Who Was Raised by Wolverine, will be part of the 2016 Festival and will receive dramaturgical support from PTC. Kathleen described Dene’s piece as “embracing populist forms of comedy and traditional First Nations storytelling with a 21st century sensibility.”
Finally, the evening rolled around to drawing artists from a series of hats! As in the past, applications are sorted based on the artists’ place of residence. This year, the Fringe adjusted the categories to include more Provincial artist spots, while the North American category includes artists from across Canada and the USA. The international category is smaller, but is truly more international.
Names were drawn quickly. The international category filled up fast with only five spots available. Ruxandra Cantir from Moldova took a spot alongside Jem “horseshoes” Rolls—who somehow always makes it in the draw. Fringe Board members took turns pulling from the North American and Provincial categories. Martin Dockery, Windy Wynazz, John Grady, and James Jordan all secured spots in the Festival.
The Provincial category held the most excitement for the people sipping their Big Rock beers as some artists were waiting with baited breath. Chloe Ziner from Mind of a Snail was drawn! She took to the stage and explained that the show may contain bacteria. Morgan Brayton, who applied with the show title Unique & Precious Snow Flake was also in the crowd. And the excitement was high when Jessie van Rijn was called. Representing the Electric Company Theatre, who did their first Fringe show in 1996, Brilliant!—the Electrics will be back for the 20th anniversary of the company!
Congratulations to all the artists selected in the Lottery! We can’t wait to learn more about the shows you’ll bring to the 2016 Vancouver Fringe Festival! Click here for a full list of accepted and waitlisted artists.
We’ve all been to a show that shifts your perspective, that makes you question, makes you cry, or makes you laugh—many of these shows happen at the Fringe. But did you know that it’s your donations that help the Festival and Fringe artists create those unique and life-changing moments? It can’t happen without you!
Last year, Fringe Lovers covered the basic costs of over 70% of Festival Mainstage shows! This is more than ever before and helped make the 2015 Festival the biggest one, yet!
It also shows the power of Fringe Heroes like you to make the Festival utterly unforgettable and life-changing for other Fringers and Fringe artists! It’s not too late to be a Fringe Hero and make a difference!
Artists are already creating their shows for the 2016 Festival. Mentorship through the Dramatic Works Series and The Only Animal’s Generation Hot program will help emerging artists grow. Through the Fringe, you help give nearly 90 artists the opportunity to produce work for the first time or to experiment with new styles and scripts devoid of censorship. Plus, Vancouver’s independent theatre scene is coalescing around Theatre Wire. Your donations help make this all possible.
Your investment in the Festival and Fringe artists will help make sure this happens and make it all as amazing as it can possibly be!
Forgot to donate in 2015? Want to add to the transformative power of your 2015 donation? Want to help fund 100% of the performances? Want to save more on your 2015 taxes? It’s not too late to create amazing theatre for everyone… and get a 2015 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 believing in your Fringe and making it all happen!
Thanks to support from the Lochmaddy Foundation, shows with a dramatic focus will be part of the Festival for a third year—and we’ve just selected the participating artists!
Hosted at The Cultch’s Vancity Culture Lab, six groups will produce drama-based theatre pieces for the Festival. Artists in the Dramatic Works category must use a previously produced script classified as a drama with two or more actors.
Due to the popularity of the Series, a draw was held in the Fringe offices on Tuesday, December 15, rather than the previous first come, first served method. Using an online random draw generator, the six winners are:
Congratulations to these artists! Check out the list of winners and waitlisted artists here.
The clock is ticking and it’s just days till the man in the red suit slides down your chimney! If you’re behind on shopping this year, don’t fret! Consider a 3-show pass to Theatre Wire and cross everyone off your gift list right now!
With a Theatre Wire gift certificate, your gift recipient can select which shows and performance dates they prefer—and shows run through May!
Fringe partners play a vital role in making the Festival the fun, accessible atmosphere it is! Shear Comfort helps immensely, particularly by supporting the Volunteer Program. With their help, the Fringe is better equipped to make volunteering just a little more comfortable! That’s why we want to thank Shear Comfort and learn about what makes them tick! (By the way, they’re currently having a sale on seat covers!)
Tell us a bit about your business.
Shear Comfort began as a small company selling sheepskin products to consumers out of our Vancouver store. Soon after opening, Shear Comfort began to distribute its products wholesale to merchants in a variety of industries, including car dealerships, accessory stores, trucking centres, upholstery shops, and multi-location stores. In 1999, we launched ShearComfort.com and began marketing our high quality, custom-made, Shear Comfort seat covers directly to customers online. Offering a large selection of styles, guaranteeing low prices, and customer satisfaction have led Shear Comfort to become one of the top online merchants in the seat cover industry.
How long has it been around? How did it come to be?
Shear Comfort was established in 1983 and started through selling sheepskin products only. Since then the company has evolved into an ecommerce seat covers retailer that sells car seat covers to the North American market.
Is there a certain culture that it promotes?
We all work very hard, which allows us to play hard, too!
Four words that would best describe your business are:
Quality Products + Customer Service
We want Fringers to know a bit about why your business is involved in the Fringe. So, why Fringe?
Shear Comfort is a supporter of Vancouver’s local arts community and values the work that the Fringe Festival does for the city.
December 28 (and the last Monday of every month)
The Fox Cabaret
This new monthly debuted on the Barefoot Wine & Bubbly Stage at the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar back in September and features a special guest every month. In December, Aaron Chapman, writer of Liquor, Lust and The Law: The Story of Vancouver’s Legendary Penthouse Nightclub joins Fringe alumni Andrew Bailey, Tara Travis, and Jayson McDonald in this comedy-horror radio performed live on stage as an homage to creaky old radio anthologies of yesteryear.
Heathers: The Musical
January 6 – 17, 2016
The York Theatre
Based on the 1988 cult film, Heathers: The Musical is a shockingly funny, heartfelt, and homicidal show directed by David C. Jones and starring fellow Fringer, Christine Quintana.