What’s happening in Vancouver theatre in October

What theatrical gifts is the fall season giving us? Opening shows include a Pulitzer Prize-winning play presented by the Arts Club, an acclaimed one-man show about solvent abuse, and even something for the kids. See below for more info about plays ongoing and opening in October. (Updated Oct. 11)

Dancing Lessons (until Oct. 20, Jericho Arts Centre)—A geophysics professor asks a professional dancer to teach him how to dance for an awards dinner. But she’s injured, and he has Asperger Syndrome in the 2014 play by American writer Mark St. Germain. The two-hander stars Sandra Medeiros as Senga, the dancer, and Andrew Coghlan as Ever, the professor. The Naked Goddess Production marks the play’s Western Canadian premiere. (Tickets: $20-25 at theatrewire.com)

Sandra Medeiros and Andrew Coghlan star in Dancing Lessons.

Cost of Living (Oct. 10-Nov. 3, at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre)—The Arts Club and Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre present the Canadian premiere of Cost of Living, the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning work by Polish-American playwright Martyna Majok. In it, a wealthy student named John is cared for by Jess, a young woman down on her luck, and Eddie rebuilds an old bond by providing aid to his ex-wife, Ani. Says director Ashlie Corcoran, “When I first read this Pulitzer Prize-winning play earlier this year, I fell in love right away. It’s a deeply poetic, heartfelt piece that deals with complex and thoughtful ideas. It explores loneliness, privilege, ability and disability, love and longing.” (Tickets: from $29 at artsclub.com and 604-687-1644)

The Arts Club’s production of The Cost of Living.

REPLAY: A Bunch of Great Plays-Again! (Oct. 15-19 & Oct. 22-26, Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive)—Staircase Theatre presents a selection of plays culled from this year’s Vancouver Fringe Festival. The selections include Rodney Decroo’s Didn’t Hurt; Amplify Choral Theatre’s Where the Quiet Queers Are; Ragamuffin Productions’ Legoland; Power Pause Production’s The Morning After with Pam & Paula; Dion Arnold’s How I Killed My Nan; and Monster Theatre’s No Tweed Too Tight: Another Grant Canyon Mystery. (Tickets: from $18.25-$21.50 at bit.ly/2nCsvtt)

2019 International Theatresports Institute Festival (Oct. 15-Oct. 20, various venues)—Vancouver TheatreSports hosts the 2019 International Theatresports Institute Conference and Festival. The festival features 100+ improv actors from 18 countries, add 50 performances across three theatre venues. The International Theatresports Institute (ITI) is the largest improv network in the world, and every two years it holds a conference and festival that brings together improvisers from around the globe. Previous locations have included Dubai, Milan, Würzburg, and San Francisco. Signature shows include The Toys Strike Back, by Norway’s Det Andre Teatret. (Tickets: from $7 to $35 and from $49 to $220 for passes. Full Festival ticketing details are now available online at vtsl.com)

The Toys Strike Back, by Norway’s Det Andre Teatret, is a matinee show for families with children that creates its content from the toys that the kids bring with them to the performance.

Take d Milk, Nah? (Oct 16-26, Vancity Culture Lab, 1895 Venables St.)—Jivesh Parasram presents a solo show about his Indo-Caribbean heritage as part of Diwali in BC’s 2019 season. In Take d Milk, Nah?, “Parasram blends personal storytelling and ritual to walk the audience through the Hin-do’s and Hin-don’ts at the intersections of these cultures,” according to the media release. The playwright/performer is the winner of the 2018 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award and one of the founding Artistic Producers of Pandemic Theatre (Toronto). Last year, he was named the new Artistic Director of award-winning Vancouver company, Rumble Theatre. (Tickets: $35 at 604-251-1363 and tickets.thecultch.com)

China Doll (Oct. 17-26, Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond)—Written and Directed by Marjorie Chan, China Doll follows a young Chinese girl, Su-Ling, who is bound by tradition both figuratively and literally. The Dora and Governor General’s Literary Award-nominated play is set in the early 20th century Shanghai when the practice of foot-binding had reached its peak in popularity. (Tickets: From $29 online at gatewaytheatre.com and 604-270-1812)

Frankenstein: Lost in Darkness (Oct. 18 at 8 p.m., Pacific Theatre, 1440 W. 12th St.)—Wireless Wings Radio performs Peter Church’s adaptation of the Mary Shelley classic as a staged radio play. (Tickets: pacifictheatre.org)

Huff (Oct. 30 at 12 & 7:30 p.m., Telus Studio Theatre, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC, 6265 Crescent Road)—Award-winning playwright and actor Cliff Cardinal’s one-man show is a darkly comic tale of three Indigenous brothers caught in a pattern of grief and solvent abuse following the death of their mother. Cardinal embodies over a dozen different characters in a portrayal described as “stunning” by the Edinburgh Festival, and a “hard-hitting tour-de-force” by The Guardian. (Tickets: $35/adult, $15/student at 604-822-2697 and chancentre.com)

Sydney – January 22, 2017: A scene from Huff, showing at the 2017 Sydney Festival (photo by Jamie Williams/Sydney Festival)

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito (Oct. 30- Nov. 10, Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street on Granville Island)—Mary Jane is a mosquito who doesn’t have wings and feels like a misfit because of this. But her voice soars to the stars. From the media release: “After being unsuccessful at making friends and moving schools, Mary Jane learns that by sharing her language, her kind heart and her songs with the world, she can become friends with anyone. This new play by Canadian playwright Tomson Highway weaves music, song and Cree language into its storytelling. With live music throughout, and supported with puppetry and fanciful costumes, this is an engaging piece for younger audiences” (recommended for ages four and up). (Tickets: adults $35, seniors/students $29, young people 3-18 years $18 at carouseltheatre.ca and 604-685-6217)

Nicole Joy-Fraser protrays Mary Jane Mosquito. Lauren Garbutt photo.

Ongoing:

Antony & Cleopatra (until Oct 13, Studio 58 at Langara, 100 W. 49th Ave.)—Students in the nationally renowned professional theatre training program at Langara College’s Studio 58 present a production of Shakespeare’s Antony & Cleopatra. Included: gender reversal and choreography by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. (Tickets: ticketstonight.ca or 604- 684-2787)

The Birds & the Bees (until Oct. 26, Granville Island Stage)—The Birds & the Bees follows Sarah, a turkey farmer, who has split up with her husband and moved in with
her mom, Gail, a beekeeper. There’s also a flirty neighbour and a young grad student. “Set in adjoining bedrooms, The Birds & the Bees is a Canadian comedy about love, lust, beekeeping, and the artificial insemination of turkeys,” says the media release. (Tickets from $29 at artsclub.com and 604-687-1644)

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