Calling all artistic risk-takers – Killer Joe brings black humour and a makeshift trailer park to Vancouver

Photo courtesy ITSAZOO Productions.

Photo courtesy ITSAZOO Productions.

Killer Joe, a play by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tracy Letts, is coming to Vancouver. The hook: the scabrous play about a white-trash family takes place in a makeshift trailer park in the parking lot of the Italian Cultural Centre. And only 37 audience members at a time will be able to take in the play during its April 15 – May 4 run.

In Killer Joe, a clan of trailer-trash Texans hire Killer Joe Cooper, a full-time cop and part-time contract killer (played by Matthew McConaughey in the 2011 movie version directed by William Friedkin), to murder their estranged, naggy, alcoholic matriarch to benefit from her insurance policy. Complications ensue, and things swiftly spiral out of control.

Director Chelsea Haberlin calls Killer Joe “theatre for the Tarantino and HBO crowd; a bloody, sexy, brilliant piece of work with something to say. There are definitely shock factors – nudity, simulated sex, violence – but they are applied in an incisive way to create a dialogue about moral righteousness, ambiguity, and the depravity that poverty can necessitate. We can’t wait to welcome artistic risk-takers to our trailers.”

In addition to the Smiths’ mobile-home, ITSAZOO is constructing an elaborate trailer park, which makes for an immersive if small area in which to view the play. Audiences will be invited to engage in a fully-immersive environment that includes roaming the park prior to the show and sticking around for a beer (PBR or Budweiser no doubt – none of this fancy-pants craft beer stuff) afterward.

The cast includes local actors Sebastien Archibald, Meghan Chenosky, Ted Cole, Emma Slipp, and Colby Wilson (as Killer Joe). Playwright Letts’ other credits include the play August: Osage County (for which he won the Pulitzer), which was also a 2013 movie, and Bug. William Friedkin, who directed the film version of Killer Joe, also directed a movie version based on Bug and starring Ashley Judd.

Killer Joe runs in the parking lot of the Italian Cultural Centre at 3075 Slocan St. April 15 – May 4. Tickets $20-25 at



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