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Batman Beats Winter Blues

February 10, 2016

One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody

Laughing at Epic Films One Trilogy at a Time

Charlie Ross' One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody will be performed Feb. 18-21, but Charlie won't be wearing a mask. He doesn't need one to play every character from all three Dark Knight films.

Charlie Ross’ One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody will be performed Feb. 18-21, but Charlie won’t be wearing a mask. He doesn’t need one to play every character from all three Dark Knight films.

When Charlie Ross created his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy, he was holding onto the same fandom as his eight-year-old self, who saw Star Wars: A New Hope approximately 400 times. For his One-Man Lord of the Rings, Charlie again was tapping into “the simplicity of childhood,” he wrote in a 2010 issue of Canadian Theatre Review. “JRR Tolkien’s books had greatly influenced my childhood … [and] when I saw the epic tale had been reborn as cinematic poetry [where] you could feel the love and passion for the source material,” he knew it was the next trilogy to tackle. But Charlie took longer to find a third trilogy to complete his own trilogy of trilogies.

After seeing Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and anticipating The Dark Knight Rises, Charlie thought he had his next creation set. But the shooting in a Colorado theatre at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises marred his enthusiasm. “I’ve always had a childlike exuberance for the movie experience,” Charlie explains. “I had a hard time removing that experience from the movie. It was difficult to reconcile.”

Eventually Charlie was able to go back to the idea of condensing the three films into his trademark show style. “There’s less preciousness in this show than in Star Wars or Lord of the Rings for me,” Charlie says. “I’m having a lot more fun with this show than I thought I would. I love being a piss-ant. And I love working on something new.”

What isn’t new about Charlie’s process is working with TJ Dawe, who dramaturged this show as well as his others. The pair have known each other for more than 20 years. At university they were often paired in drama classes—and the origin of Charlie’s Star Wars commenced during a Frisbee game where they each had to quote lines from the classic films.

“We put our fun hats on to come up with something new and exciting,” Charlie says of One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody. And while the Batman films aren’t as well known as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, Charlie wants to “draw out the memory of experiencing the films.”

“I know people will need to be prompted more. I have to do more work to indicate what’s happening—and I don’t want it to be an inside joke between me and the people who know the films as much as I do,” Charlie says. “I want to make people laugh.”

While Charlie would love if his audiences see Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy in advance, he points out that with this series the most interesting aspect is the characters. “They’re flawed—especially the good ones. They make bad choices or act rashly and suffer for it … The characters all experience, and we witness, moments of doubt and/or failure and we get to understand more about them by how they choose to rise up.”

“And I’ve tried to make it as irreverent as possible,” Charlie laughs.

See One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody February 18-21 at Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island as part of the Winterruption Festival. Tickets are available at TheatreWire.com

Want to save 20%? We’re having a Valentine’s Day sale! Buy your tickets before midnight on February 14 using promo code BATLOVE and tickets will be just $20! 

Fringe’s Executive Director Wins Forty Under 40!

On January 27, 40 of Vancouver’s young entrepreneurs and business leaders, along with their friends and colleagues, convened at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel to celebrate their induction to Business in Vancouver’s annual Forty Under 40 Awards. Among them was the Fringe’s Executive Director, David Jordan.

David (giving the thumbs up), surrounding by Fringe Board members, at the Forty Under 40 gala.

David (giving the thumbs up), surrounding by Fringe Board members, at the Forty Under 40 gala.

“It was a real honour to have the Fringe and also arts and the non-profit sector recognized by the business community,” David says of his win. “The awards ceremony was a great opportunity to connect with other business leaders with whom I may not have crossed paths with otherwise. It’s so interesting to get a small window into what drives people to go to work every day. Hopefully we can develop connections that will go beyond the awards and work together to make Vancouver a better place to work and live!”

Since 1989, Business in Vancouver has been providing information and networking opportunities to businesses operating in and around Vancouver. 2015 marks the 26th year the publication has been celebrating young lawyers, CEOs and the like—who also go beyond business by contributing to their communities.

David was selected because of the Fringe’s success since he took charge in 2005—when the Fringe had a $100,000 deficit! Under his leadership, the Fringe has eliminated its deficit, doubled attendance, and quadrupled sponsorship revenues. But David gives a lot of credit to his team, which has also grown to now include seven year-round staff (when he started, it was just three people!).

Congratulations to David and all the Forty Under 40 winners! Read their stories here and check out this interview David did with Roundhouse Radio about his win.

Mortal Coil's Chix on Stix will be dancing around Granville Island during this year's Winterruption!

Mortal Coil’s Chix on Stix will be dancing around Granville Island during this year’s Winterruption!


Why wait till summer to enjoy an arts festival?

February is quickly turning into a month of festivals! Just For Laughs NorthWest, Talking Stick Festival, and Chutzpah! are all on in February! Joining them is Granville Island’s 11th annual Winterruption, February 19-21!

The Fringe and Theatre Wire will be part of this year’s Winterruption with Charlie Ross’ One-Man Dark Knight: A Batman Parody and there’s lots more to help you defeat winter down on Granville Island. There are interactive workshops where you can make your own art, including glassblowing and making snowflakes with the Federation of Canadian Artists. There’s plenty for kids too! They can make their own Maple Taffy, get their face painted, and enjoy street performances.

Then there’s the food. Meet the brewers and distillers that call Granville Island home, including our pals at The Liberty Distillery, a sustainable seafood walking tour presented by the David Suzuki Foundation, and you can eat some donuts made especially for Winterrruption!

See you there!

The Theatre Scene

Bright Blue Future is on till March 5 at Pacific Theatre.

Bright Blue Future is on till March 5 at Pacific Theatre.

Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre

PostSecret: The Show 
February 17-March 5
Firehall Arts Centre
Back for an encore presentation, Fringe alumni, Kahlil Ashanti and TJ Dawe partnered with Justin Sudds and Frank Warren, the creator of the PostSecret blog, to devise this multimedia show made of personal secrets from anonymous people. This time round, fellow Fringe alumni, Sam Mullins is part of the cast! Use coupon code FRINGESTARS to get $5 off any ticket to performances from February 23-28!

Bright Blue Future 
February 19-March 5
Pacific Theatre
Written by Sean Harris Oliver, whose play, The Fighting Season, won the Georgia Straight’s Critics Choice Award and the Cultchivating the Fringe Award at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe, Bright Blue Future explores a substance-fueled evening in the lives of four 20-somethings navigating feelings of inadequacy, sexual tension, and fear of the impending future.

Wait Until Dark
March 1-12
Havana Theatre
Frederick Knott’s masterful thriller follows Susy Hendrix, a blind woman who finds herself wrapped up in a drug smuggling attempt gone awry. Each suspenseful moment builds in menace until the final terrifying, breath stopping scene.

Mission and Obsession

January 21, 2016

Which Ruth is the unfortunate one? See the show, February 5-7 to find out for yourself.

Which Ruth is the unfortunate one? See the show, February 5-7 to find out for yourself.

Which Twin Is The Unfortunate Ruth?

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.”

Mind of a Snail created Ruth and Ruthie's in utero world.

Mind of a Snail created Ruth and Ruthie’s in utero world.

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.

Cultivating audiences is just one of the points in the Fringe's new Mission Statement. Photo by Michael Sider.

Cultivating audiences is just one of the points in the Fringe’s new Mission Statement. Photo by Michael Sider.

New Year, New Mission!

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:

“Cultivating artists and audiences to create
an open and vibrant independent theatre community.”


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!

Robyn with a poster from her first Fringe (2005) while working away on our new project, Theatre Wire.

Robyn with a poster from her first Fringe (2005) while working away on our new project, Theatre Wire.

Welcome to the Team Robyn!

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!

The 2015 installment of Advance Theatre was featured in the Georgia Straight.

The 2015 installment of Advance Theatre was featured in the Georgia Straight.

Reminder! Last Chance to Apply to Advance Theatre

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!

So Long and Thanks for the Chocolate, Camino!

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.

Thanks for all the chocolate--and the support--over the years Camino! Photo by Michael Gabriana.

Thanks for all the chocolate–and the support–over the years Camino! Photo by Michael Gabriana.

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!

Closer Than Ever will be at the Gateway Theatre.

Closer Than Ever will be at Gateway Theatre February 4-20.

The Theatre Scene

Just a taste of what Vancouver has to offer in the way of Theatre

Like Father, Like Son? Sorry. 
January 30
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.

Little One
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
Waterfront Theatre
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.