My Summer Stage-cation

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

A guest blog post by BFA Acting candidate Christine Quintana

After 8 intense months of training, rehearsal and performance, most theatre students are grateful for their summer holidays and see them as a brief break from their theatre lifestyle.  Not me, apparently.  In September I’ll begin my final year of the BFA Acting Program, but all this summer I’m working part-time for Bard on the Beach and the Arts Club Theatre Company, and I’m also working full time at Carousel Theatre, and loving every minute of it!

This year marks the 20th year of the Carousel Theatre’s Teen Shakespeare Program, and I’m here working as the Marketing and Audience Services Coordinator for their summer production of The Taming of the Shrew. In the Program, 16 teen actors undergo an intense 4 week rehearsal process culminating in a fully staged production which runs for 2 full weeks free to the public.  It’s my job to do everything from getting posters and fliers printed, writing and pitching the press release, taking press photos, to eventually acting as House Manager as we welcome over 3000 audience members to our show over the two week run.  It’s hard work, but it’s the best experience a theatre student could ask for!

Christine works behind the scenes at Carousel Theatre

I work with the incredible Carole Higgins and Jessie Van Rijn, who run Carousel Theatre as the Artistic and Managing Director and General Manager respectively. I feel lucky to go to work every day and learn from such talented women who are leaders in the Vancouver theatre community. I’m so glad to be working behind the scenes because I feel it will make me a better and more professional actor – the things that don’t seem like a big deal (“Oh, sorry, I’ll get my program bio in on Friday…”) can cause massive delays in important administrative or stage management projects!  A successful production means all hands on deck, and I’m so thrilled to be on board with Carousel Theatre for their summer show.

Christine does the photo shoot for Carousel's free outdoor show "The Taming of the Shrew"

I’m blogging and tweeting all summer leading up to the run of The Taming of the Shrew from July 30 to August 14.  I hope you’ll come out and see our show – bring your friends, it’s completely free!  I am excited to be back at UBC come September, but I’ll miss my Carousel Theatre family when I go.

Romeo & Juliet ignite!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

In the first of a series of guest posts from the Romeo & Juliet company BFA Acting Candidate Barbara Kozicki talks about the rehearsal process:

I was quite simply thrilled when the role of Friar Lawrence was offered to me. Right from the start Catriona Leger, the director, decided I would not pretend to be a man for the part, so the concept of Sister Lawrence was born, and along with it the task of creating an entirely new “religion” for the world of Romeo & Juliet.

Actor: Barbara Kozicki Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

As a director Catriona constantly encourages us actors to make bold choices and try crazy new things.  As I work on the show I really feel like I have an opportunity to put forth ideas and contribute to the creative process.  I have to admit that with all this freedom, I felt a little overwhelmed in the first few weeks of rehearsal.

Tim Matheson

Actors L-R Foreground: Megs Chenosky and Jameson Parker Background: Barbara Kozicki Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

In the beginning I just didn’t know where to begin.  Slowly I started incorporating ideas from Wicca and Druidism with varying degrees of success.  During my research I went to a few church services, spent time with a shaman and watched videos of pagan rituals.  We are still a few weeks away from opening night and I finally feel like the foundation of our un-named order has been constructed and I am excited to watch it evolve.

— Barbara Kozicki

Tim Matheson

Actor: Barbara Kozicki Photo Credit: Tim Matheson

Note: Barbara is in her intermediate year of the BFA Acting Program and will be performing on the Telus Studio Theatre stage for the first time in Romeo & Juliet which opens January 21, 2010. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Barbara is an accomplished fire dancer, poi performer and corporate entertainer. Previous credits include The Laramie Project (Theatre at UBC), Little House on the Prairie (Disney) and Comeback Season (Accent Entertainment). She can next be seen in Theatre at UBC’s production of Arms and the Man.

Side by Side with Sondheim

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

On October 27, 2009, I had the thrilling experience of interviewing Stephen Sondheim for 90 minutes on the stage of Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre in front of 900 adoring fans–of Sondheim’s, not mine.  Still, such a huge wave of love broke over the stage that a little of it inevitably splashed onto me.  What a feeling!

Sondheim was here as a fundraiser for APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert, whose   artistic director, Scott Ashton Swan, had invited me to do the interview.  I’ve done quite a few high-profile one-on-ones–John Ralston Saul, Neil LaBute, Kim Cattrall–but I felt anxious about Sondheim.  It would be like interviewing Shakespeare–the Shakespeare of modern musical theatre–but I knew little about him and not enough about his music or the shows he had written.  And what shows!  West Side Story (the greatest musical ever, in my pantheon) and Gypsy (lyrics only); music and lyrics for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, Assassins, and more.  The guy’s a superstar, one of the 20th century’s finest artists.

So I spent a week in full Sondheim immersion, reading his biography and four other books about his work, and listening to the soundtracks of all his shows. Finally, I felt prepared.  But I had also read and heard things that suggested he might be grumpy, egotistical, thin-skinned.  And he’s 79 years old, so how sharp could he be? How much would he remember? How long could he sit?

Turned out none of my fears were warranted.  Sondheim is brilliant, witty and articulate, with a virtual photographic memory for details. I helped a little by setting him up with questions about his life and work that, from my reading, seemed to be often-told stories.  And he’d knock them out of the park with perfectly timed punchlines.

He’s also remarkably gracious, personable and modest. (“Call me Steve.”) And unbelievably vigorous.  Our gig was his fourth in four nights in different cities: San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Vancouver.  And he traveled alone–no retinue, no handlers, no assistant.  What a guy.

This was Sondheim’s first trip to Vancouver and very likely his last.  Those of us at the Vogue that night—me especially–were fortunate to be in the presence of true greatness.

~ Guest Post by Jerry Wasserman, Department Head of Theatre and Film at UBC
Note: Vancouver Sun coverage of the interview.
For all things Sondheim see

Director’s Notes for MK Woyzeck

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

While I may have taken the extreme liberty of adapting Georg Büchner’s timeless masterpiece, Woyzeck, I remain well aware that no words of mine could ever come close to expressing the anguished ruminations at the play’s core as well as those penned by the author himself in an oft-quoted letter to his fiancée:

“I felt as though utterly crushed by the hideous fatalism of history.  I find in human nature a terrible sameness, in human circumstances an ineluctable violence vouchsafed to all and to none.  Individuals but froth on the waves, greatness a mere coincidence, the mastery of geniuses a dance of puppets, a ridiculous struggle against an iron law that can at best be understood but never mastered… ’Must’ is one of those words by which mankind was damned from the very beginning.  The saying, ‘It must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh’, is horrifying.  What is it in man that lies, murders, steals?”

Theatre at UBC's production of MK Woyzeck

Theatre at UBC's production of MK Woyzeck

It was over fifteen years ago that the inspired and inspiring teaching of UBC’s own distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theatre, Dr. Errol Durbach, first ignited in me a burning obsession with Büchner’s Woyzeck that has continued to smolder to this day.  It is to him that I dedicate my work on this production.

Tom Scholte
Assistant Professor
UBC Department of Theatre and Film

Note: MK Woyzeck runs in the Frederic Wood Theatre at 7:30 nightly until Saturday October 10th. Call 604.822.2678 for tickets.

Find UBC’s Sweet Spot: The DSS

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Ready – set – and “go” book your tickets to our first Extra Event of the 2009/10 Season from Theatre at UBC. It’s the final week of production for the alumna founded company shameless hussy productions’ professional presentation of Frozen by Bryony Lavery at our Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre.

The Somserset aka “The DSS” is cleverly disguised as an former engineering shed – but enter the doors to this newly renovated facility and discover the sexiest performance space in all of UBC. It’s the kind of venue Vancouver artists and patrons are continually crying out for, an intimate little black box theatre that features state of the art equipment and seating for up to 120.

Dorothy Somsetset Studio Theatre

Right: Dorothy Somsetset Studio Theatre

shameless hussy company members, including myself, have taken time out from saying the same things over, and over, and over (aka rehearsing) to pitch the opening of Frozen for Simon Ogden’s The Next Stage Magazine on YouTube.

The Dorothy Somerset Studio was first opened in a location below the Frederic Wood Theatre to honor Theatre at UBC’s first and founding department head Dorothy Somerset. Generations of theatre artists cut their teeth in the Somerset including Brent Carver, Goldie Semple, Nicola Cavendish, Eric Peterson and many others – along with our current department head Jerry Wasserman.

It’s a great privilege to return to perform in this historic venue for the first time since it’s been relocated, and to open this play that I love so much under the banner of the Department of Theatre’s very beloved founder, Miss Dorothy Somerset.

Spam prevention powered by Akismet