Category Archives: Theatre

Arts Club Theatre adds a new play to Vancouver's Holiday Theatre repertoire with Patron Saint of Stanley Park

Patron Saint of Stanley Park, written by
Hiro Kanagawa, is welcome addition to Arts Club Theatre's Vancouver's Holiday Theatre repertoire

The Patron Saint of Stanley Park
Arts Club Revue Theatre
written by Hiro Kanagawa
Starring Jillian Fargey, Brian
Linds, Derek Metz, introducing
Valsy Bergeron and Joseph Gustafson
Director Stephen Drover

Think of Christmas in Stanley Park, and we normally think Bright Lights Christmas Train… but if it was December 2006, there was an ice storm that destroyed many trees in Stanley Park.

Now imagine that a teen-aged girl and her techno-geek younger brother are going to Stanley Park to lay some flowers in memory of their father who mysteriously disappeared on Christmas Eve last year, while flying his seaplane to Vancouver Island while dressed in a Santa suit.  They are supposed to be taking the bus to their Uncle's Christmas Dinner on the North Shore.  But their mother is pre-occupied working two jobs.  They are each working out their grief in different ways, acknowledgement, denial and false hope.

We are introduced to Skookum Pete, a homeless man in Stanley Park, who speaks to the audience, breaking down the fourth wall.  Pete talks about the park, the weather, and about the voices he hears – through his fillings!  Brian Linds does a wonderful job playing Pete.  He is friendly and the audience quickly builds trust, while laughing with Pete at his distorted yet perceptive view of society.  Pete pushes a shopping cart and carries a torch with a cheese grater to protect his lantern.

Valsy Bergeron wonderfully plays the older sister Jennifer, on the brink of womanhood, looking out for her brother Josh, played by a young Joseph Gustafson.  They easily capture the family dynamics of push and pull, caught between Jennifer's rebellion against her mother, and her wish to memorialize her father.  Meanwhile Josh continually asserts that he believes that their father will turn up somehow, while recognizing that their mother is spending lots of her time at work.

The Arts Club has really developed a Christmas theatre repertoire for Vancouver.  “It's a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas” are currently playing at the Granville Island Stage and the Stanley Industrial Arts Alliance Stage.  They have also brought original theatre to Vancouver for Christmas with Nicola Cavendish's “It's Snowing on Saltspring” and Ann Mortifee's “Reflections of Crooked Walking”, as well as “Beauty and the Beast” in past years.  

“The Patron Saint of Stanley Park” was commissioned to Vancouver area playwright/actor Hiro Kanagawa as part of the Silver Commission, helping to develop new work.  Kanagawa is probably more familiar to Vancouver television audiences on many Vancouver filmed shows such as Caprica, X-Files, Highlander,  Smallville (as Principal Kwan), and Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet In Heaven.  Kanagawa often appears on stage, and was recently in “After the Quake” at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.   His past work has also included “White Balance” and he wrote “Tiger of Malaya.”

This family Christmas tale fantastically integrates Science Fiction, mythology and Stanley Park icons.  It is amazing to think there once really was a signal tower and bunker on Prospect Point, as there houses along Brockton Point.  Kangawa wanted to incorporate elements of Vancouver such as seaplanes into the play, to help build Vancouver's own theatrical references and recognizability.  And the audience loves it!  People can relate to the huge trees in Stanley Park and imagine the trees crashing down during the infamous 2006 windstorm that dramatically re-arranged the landscape of the park.

The multi-leveled stage is plain, covered with grays.  At first it appears boring.  But it soon comes to life, full of surprises as “trees” drop from the ceiling, darkness envelopes the theatre during the storm sequence, and bright lights appear in unexpected places.  Stage direction is clever and inventive, making good use of the levels, and the projections into the audience.  I am also pleased to note that music is by Noah Drew, whom I've known since he was a child 24 years ago.  Drew has matured into one of the city's finest theatre sound composers.  His work is subtle and unobtrusive, while being ambient and enhancing to the action on stage.

The play development is good.  At the end of the first act, the children have been rescued during the storm by Skookum Pete, meanwhile their mother is frantic and trying to reach her children by phone.  This perfectly sets up the second act for revelations for each of the characters, as well as resolutions to their issues.  There are some wonderful surprises in the second act which I won't reveal.  This play is definitely suitable for families, as the young characters carry the play along with Skookum Pete.  But as expected of a Christmas play, we are encouraged to empathetically share emotions with the characters, and discover what makes Christmas meaningful for each of us, while recognizing what is also meaningful for others.

Bel Canto singing of Vancouver Opera's Lucia di Lammermoor is stunning!

Wow!  Classical Italian opera at it's best with bel canto singing, and lavish sets with projections!

Lucia di Lammermoor
Vancouver Opera
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
December 4, 7, 9, 11


Photo credit: Tim Matheson  – courtesy Vancouver Opera

Don't be late to this opera!  With stalls on the Lion's Gate Bridge, traffic re-routed to Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, and traffic on the Georgia Viaduct backed all the way to Main St. – I very nearly missed getting seated.  The set is dark.  The overture begins.  Flashes of lightning(?) illuminate the main characters of this tragic love triangle.  And an electric current runs through the audience.  At that moment, there is no place on earth I would rather be.

A group of guards search for an intruder in a forest.  A young woman named Lucia secretly meets with the hunter.  Meanwhile her brother, the castle lord, wants to marry her off to save the family's failing fortunes.  Lucia and Edgardo declare their love for each other, even though he is the sworn enemy of her brother.

Eglise Gutierrez, the brilliant Cuban-American coloratura soprano, is Lucia to Michael Fabiano'd Edgardo. Her first aria, set in the forest, is a showcase of trills and runs that make the lyrical beauty of bel canto opera so popular.  The opening night crowd gladly gave a lengthy applause to her solo.

The singing of all the leads is very strong,  and reaches a climax in Act II after Lucia is married to the hapless Arturo (Thomas Macleay).   Six singers simultaneously voice their own ideas of the consequences of Lucia's wedding to a man she doesn't want to marry, who is thinks she is wonderful, arranged by her brother, with comments by the priest and her attendant companion, while her objet d'amour interrupts the wedding too late. Wow! Six part harmony!

And the sets are absolutely gorgeous!  The forest scenes are densely layered with projections on the scrim screen.  The castle scenes reveal a background of a vertical view of castle walls and ramparts.

Welcome to the Vancouver Opera's 2010 production of the 1835 Donizetti opera, Lucia di Lammermoor, set in early 18th Century Scotland, on the Scottish Lowland marshes of Ravenswood Castle.  It is one of the most popular operas, making it's 6th appearance as a Vancouver Opera production since 1966.  It could be popular because of Vancouver and BC's deep Scottish roots, but there was not a kilt to be seen on stage, since the setting is in the lowlands of Lammermuir Hills – East of Edinburgh.  Donizetti based his opera on the historical  novel by Sir Walter Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor, which was based on a true story of the Dalrymple Family in 1669, when a groom met a wedding night tragedy, and the bride never recovered from the trauma.  And thus, one of opera's most famous scenes and arias was created. 

There are dozens of youtube videos of “The Mad Scene” for Lucia Di Lammermoor, debating the merits of certain singers.  But on the Queen Elizabeth stage only one mattered.  Gutierrez moved thoughtfully and held the audience's rapt attention.  Standing Ovations for Guiterrez at the end of the evening.

This is supposedly a deep psychological opera, about the misguided family dynamics, and the tragic deaths of three innocents.  But it could also be compared to Romeo and Juliet, because of the feuding families.  A simple boy meets girl, others try to break them up, girl thinks boy betrays her, so she runs the other way, and 1st boy tries to get girl back, but has consequences.  Oops, maybe it it's more complicated than I thought.  But in our sophisticated 21st psychological reasonings, we must remember that Lucia and Edgardo are likely teenagers.  Their infatuations and rash actions could also be likened to a Glee plot on television with terrific singing scenes, but with tragic consequences more akin to the “I know What You Did” horror series.

Vancouver Opera website is very interesting. 

You can find many weblinks to information about Lucia Di Lammoor on the Vancouver opera website.  One of my favorite perusals is the anime cartoons done for many of its operas. 

Check out  anime cartoons for Lucia Di Lammermoor:
http://www.vancouveropera.ca/operalive/read.html

Music Director Jonathan Darlington describes his personal and dark connections to Donizetti.:
http://www.jonathan-darlington.com/2010/12/lucia-di-lammermoor-extreme-emotions-and-exquisit-beauty/#more-1028

There is even a Vancouver Opera youtube channel.  These are videos of the rehearsals and set concepts.  Don't watch them if you want to be surprised.  But do watch them to be better prepared for when you do attend.

http://www.youtube.com/user/vancouveropera


Interesting related tangential trivia with Walter Scott, Robert Burns and Giacommo Rossini:

A teen-aged Walter Scott, met the rising Scottish poet Robert Burns during the winter of 1786–87, at one salon gatherings where Burns would have given a reading about the time his first book Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect was published.

There is a quote wrongly attributed to Burns “Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of dying, he sings.  While this quote very aptly describes the death scenes in Lucia Di Lammermoor, I could find no references of this quote on official Burns websites.  But I did find it referenced to American comedian/actor Ed Gardner, which makes more sense.  Burns usually wrote in the Scottish dialect, where the term “guy” is more usually found as a name “Guy”.

There are 9 operas that are set in Scotland.  The most famous two are Donizetti's Lucia Di Lammermoor, and Verdi's Macbeth.  Rossini's La donna del lago (The Lady of the Lake), which was the first Walter Scott novel to be adapted to opera, has not been performed in Vancouver.  While Vancouver Opera has produce Lucia di Lammermoor 6 times, and Macbeth only once, VO seems to have a love affair with certain operas set in China and Japan, as Turando has been produced 4 times, and Madam Butterfly 9 times.  Count for yourself  on Vancouver Opera's Production History.

Mayor's Arts Awards celebrate Evelyn Lau and Alvin Tolentino in Literary and Dance categories!

photo

Evelyn Lau, Literary Arts Honouree speaks at the City of Vancouver 2010 Mayor's Arts Awards.  Her choice of emerging Artist was writer Kaitlyn Fontana – whom Lau had only met in person the night of the awards.  Previously Lau and Fontana communicated by email only, as Lau had given literary feedback to Fontana.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 106 by Toddish McWong
After the awards ceremony, Lau was congratulated by Todd Wong and Patricia Lim, managing editor of Ricepaper Magazine.  Lau has contributed to Ricepaper Magazine many times and is featured in the just-released 15th Anniversary edition.  Wong is a main organizer of the 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner which will feature Lau as an award recipient for the ACWW Community Builder Award, on December 11th.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 015 by Toddish McWong
Bill Richardson hosted the Mayor's Arts Awards, that were held at 560 Club, the former site of the now defunct A&B Sound record and stereo store. 

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 009 by Toddish McWong
Dustin Rivers gave an eloquent speech in his native Squamish language.  He was the Emerging Artist chosen by Cease Wyss, the honouree for the Film and New Media Award.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 061 by Toddish McWong
Community Arts Honouree Carmen Rosen (right) smiles fondly at Maggie Winston, her choice for Emerging Artist.  I have known Carmen since 2005, when she performed at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner as a Celtic musician.  Carmen is the organizer of the Moon Festival held each year at the Renfrew Ravine.  She can also be found walking on stilts for other festivals such as Winter Solstice and Chinese New Year Festivals.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 067 by Toddish McWong
Sal Ferreras is the Music Award Honouree.  He chose Evan Arntzen as Emerging Artist.  Sal is an incredible teacher of music at UBC, as well as a percussionist.  He really knows no cultural boundaries when performing music with musicians of many cultures and disciplines.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 063 by Toddish McWong

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 012 by Toddish McWong

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 072 by Toddish McWong
The walls of the club were used as back drops for the projections announcing each award winner.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 079 by Toddish McWong
Dance Award Honouree Alvin Erasga Tolentino chose Sujit Vaidya as Emerging Artist, describing the young Indian Classical Dancer with much enthusiasm.  I have known Alvin for about 10 years, and have watched many of his performances at the Firehall Arts Centre, the Roundhouse and Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 098 by Toddish McWong
Philanthropist Award recipient is Yosef Wosk, whom I first met many years ago at a board meeting for the Vancouver Public Library.  Very appropriate, since Yosef loves libraries – one of his current projects is helping to develop libraries in developing countries.  He is also the creator of SFU's Philosophy Cafes, which I helped program and co-host in 2003 for Vancouver Asian Heritage Month.

2010_November_Mayors_Arts_Awards 111 by Toddish McWong
Three Vancouver City workers with author Evelyn Lau: City Councilor Heather Deal, who handles the arts portfolio on council; Cultural Services worker Claudia who had helped to set up the Mayor's Arts Awards along with many other events last week; libary worker Todd Wong who has helped to set up programs for Vancouver libraries in his roles with Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, such as the inaugural One Book One Vancouver program.  Evelyn has told me that she would like to work at the library.  I think that Evelyn should be the library's next writer-in-residence.

“25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” delights!!!

The marvelous cast of the Arts Club production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” – photo courtesy of Arts Club

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Arts Club Vancouver
extended until August 25th.

I first became interested in spelling bees after my 2nd cousin Tracey won the inaugural Canspell regional spelling bee in the Vancouver region.  At the young age of 14, she then went off to the Scripps National Bee in Washington DC, and the Canspell National in Ottawa where she placed in the top 5.  I diligently followed the emails that her mother sent the family. Next I watched the movie Akeelah and the Bee, about a young child becoming involved in a spelling Bee, and being trained by Laurence Fishburne's character of Dr. Larabee.  Richard Gere also starred in the movie Bee Season.

This play captures all the silly ideas of the importance of spelling bees as well as the serious undercurrents of perfectionism and high expectations placed on the young competitors of these contests.  This is afterall a musical.  And musicals are meant to be fun and light.  And this musical delivers on all accounts… except I don't know if I can hum any of the tunes… but I was humming something when I walked out of the theatre.

The Arts Club has put a real effort into this production.  I remember earlier in May, when Arts Club manager Howard Jang told me that this was going to be very enjoyable.  He's right.  You step into the theatre, and the set design accurately represents a high school gymnasium, right down to the lockers outside in the hall.  You are indeed transported into a world of nostalgia as the musical begins with event host Rona Lisa Peretti entering the gym to set up.  There is a flashback
to when she is a little girl and she won the third annual spelling bee by correctly
spelling syzygy.  It brings a certain emotional induction to the theatre play, as I recalled watching the CBC documentary Generation: The Chan Legacy, that showed tv film footage of my young cousin Tracey spelling her word at the Canspell contest.

There are five contestants that are supplemented by four “contestants” chosen from the audience.  This adds to a wonderful spontaneity for the play, as each night will be different with the audience members chosen. 

This play is also a wonderful fit for multicultural Vancouver.  Two of the characters are Asian.  Chip Tolentino is a boy scout having issues with puberty.  This returning champion of last year's contest is played by Vincent Tong.  Marcy Park is an over-achieving recent transplant that sings “I Speak Six Languages” and played by Rosie Simon.

This is a fun play and perfect for a summer evening of fun.  25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has been extended until August 25th.

More soon…..

Funny Asians from LA are performing for Asian Comedy Night by VACT

11th Annual Asian Comedy Night features
18 Mighty Mountain Warriors “HOOT CAMP”

Here's a message from Joyce Lam of Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.  Joyce was just presented in April with the BC Community Achievement Award for all her good work in founding and developing Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre.  Come see what the fuss is all about!

 

HURRY! Tickets
only available for 2 remaining performances!

2 evenings:
Saturday June 5th & Sunday June 6th

Only 2 hilarious
performances

remaining at the Roundhouse Performance Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews (corner of Davie & Pacific Blvd)
Vancouver, BC

  • $20
    in advance – general admission
  • $25
    in advance – reserved section (first 2 rows in raised centre
    section
    )
  • $25
    at the door – general admission only
  • $108
    in advance – SAVE! – group rate for 6 tickets (general
    admissions)

Buy on-line at www.vact.ca or at the
Roundhouse at 604.713.1800

poster

Back by popular demand from 2009 for their very own show are: The 18
Mighty
Mountain Warriors (18mmw) from Los Angeles!  This group has garnered
three
awards including the 2007 Emmy Award “Mighty Warriors of Comedy”,
the 2006 International Sketch Comedy Championships, and the 2005 Bay
Area’s Best Comedy Troupe award. They continue to rock the San Francisco
Bay Area and San Jose with their unique blend of Asian and political
themed
sketches.

Visit
www.18mmw.com or www.vact.ca for more
information.

Review: Etch-YOUR-Sketch-OFF

VACT's Etch-YOUR-Sketch-OFF presents new teams for new Asian-Canadian sketch comedies!

special to www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com

by Michael Brophy

Thursday night I attended an event put on by Vancouver Asian
Canadian Theater which is organized by Joyce Lam. She is the original
creator and producer of the Etch-YOUR-SketchOFF comedy show who has
recently been honored with the BC Community Achievement Award for her
work in shaping our provinces theatrical community.

Host of the show, Tom Chin, related his witty observations on the
lifestyles of the stereotypical aspiring Asian lawyer, dentist, or
doctor and disclosed “what happens to Asians that don't make it to med
school”. With a piercing “Aiyya!” Tom introduced the first group SFUU
MAN CHU which promised the most value for ones dollar during these hard
economic times by presenting “one sketch for every dollar spent”.

Banana Drama, winner of this years People Choys Awards, began with a
sketch bringing light to our North American dependence on all things
made in China by stripping a young man of all his Chinese made clothing
until left wearing only a skimpy man-kini — more male nudity ensued as
a comedic theme of the night.

New teams to the sketch-off scene include
Beef Noodle Soup, a two man group that presented bi-curious characters
wanking to an image of Gordon Campbell, had the audience cringing with
muffled laughter. Asians Bleed Red, also a new addition to the theater,
did a well choreographed dance to the tune of “Domo Arrigato, Mr.
Robato”.

One of my personal favorite groups this year and a 2008
recipient of the Rice Bowl Prize had Simon Yang of The Yangtzers
performing a contemporary dance with a hoover vacuum revealing the
eroticism between one man and his servile machine. Other gut-busting notables Angry Asian
Men and Laughing Make Mind Damage helped make it clear that Asian North
Americans have come a long way in comedy from the likes of William
Hungs short lived career as an entertainer. 

My night with the V.A.C.T.
crew was capped with an after-party that took place at Earls in
Yaletown which had members of the audience and actors in the sketch-off
socializing well past midnight. I would highly recommend attending if
you haven't in the past years. This annual event is always brimming
with a culturally diverse humor that resonates the funny bone with
gratuitous displays of raunchy buffoonery.

VACT's Etch-YOUR-SketchOFF2?#$% now features friendly rivalries

Asians are talented in sketch comedy too!

I chatted with VACT's founding creator Joyce Lam last week.  There is big drama for this year's Etch-YOUR-SketchOFF2!#$%.  One of last year's comedy sketch teams has split into two new teams for 2010.  That's right… dramedy is happening!  Members of last year's Darin' Joes, have formed new teams.  Fane Tse has helped to form new team Angry Asian Men. Josette Jorge was also with Darin' Joes last year but has returned to SFUU Man Chu.

Will there be a comedic show down?

Other teams competing are: Beef Noodle Soup, Laughing Make Mind Dangerous, Banana Drama, Asians Bleed Red, The Yangzters.

Of special note: Tricia Collins is performing with SFUU MAN CHU.  Tricia co-hosted the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner with me.  She is one of my favorite Vancouver actresses – having performed in her solo show Gravity, as well as Firehall Theatre's Ecstasy of Rita Joe and Urban Ink Production's Hunted.  She is also a writer, contributing to Ricepaper Magazine and Completely Mixed Up: An Asian North American Mixed Race Anthology.

35 performers will be on stage.  Mostly Asians with some members of non-Asian minority groups, representing token inclusivity and plain old friendship between races.

Check out the VACT website:  www.vact.ca

Etch Your SketchOff 2 Logo

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 – Vancouver Rice Bowl Competition
Thursday, April 29, 2010 – People’s CHOYS Award
Nightly at 7:30 PM

Buy your tickets online now!

NEW GROUP RATE! BUY 8 TICKETS FOR $120!
Tickets are $15 each!

Buy Group Rate tickets online now!

Be a Friend of VACT

Wed Apr 21, 03:15 PM by editor

For
those who have enjoyed our shows and want to support us financially –
we are recognizing our fans with special benefits.  Depending on your
friendship level, you will receive premium reserved seating upgrades,
recognition in the programs, opening night tickets and invitations to
cast parties, signed productions posters and special concierge
ticketing services & privileges.  Our way of saying thank you to
you.

For more details, click here.

Ali & Ali 7: RCMP, Immigration and tasers – Oh My!

Ali & Ali 7 Return to the stage for another outrageous skewering of Canadian Multiculturalism

WORLD PREMIERE of Ali & Ali
Created and performed by Camyar Chai, Guillermo Verdecchia and Marcus Youssef
Co-starring Laara Sadiq and Raugi Yu
Directed by Guillermo Verdecchia

at the Cultch’s Historic Theatre
Apr 14–24
Tickets for Cultch Performances available at 604-251-1363 or https://tickets.thecultch.com/

at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts’ Studio Theatre
April 28 – May 1
Tickets for Shadbolt performances at 604-205-3000 or boxoffice@burnaby.ca

Ali & Ali are to Canadian multiculturalism what Wayne & Shuster
are to Canadian culture.  They poke fun at ourselves, to help us laugh
at the absurdity of our history and culture.

But in today's world, Wayne & Shuster, comedy kings of the 1960's and 1970's, have given way to Kids from the Hall, and Russell Peters.  Canadian culture is no longer white and red, our cultural diversity includes black and yellow and pink and especially brown.  Canadians also come from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Azerbaijian.  Wayne & Shuster used to make fun of foreign accents.  Camyar Chai and Marcus Youssef as brown immigrant refugees from the fictional country of Agraba, take ethnic jokes to a whole different level – but with some very serious political commentary.

This
was my first time at Ali & Ali. I really enjoyed reading the
published play Ali & Ali and the Axes of Evil.  I couldn't stop laughing at some of the bits about Asian Heritage Month, and the Scottish stage manager.  For the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, I had invited Marcus Youssef to read/perform an excerpt with comedian Charles Demers.  So I wasn't going to miss them.

The show opens with a montage of  current world leaders from Libya, USA, and Canada.  It's a tribute rap to Moammar Gadhafi.  Wow… we are definitely in a different cultural perspective here.  The play is interactive with the audience, asking questions, getting responses.  Surprise!  They are spoofing and utilizing experimental theatre audience participation as well as Bertolt Brecht's agitprop theatre.

Ali & Ali are presenting a show to the audience.  They introduce their assistant as Yogi Ru, in actuality Vancouver actor Raugi Yu.  Raugi is the straight man to this zany duo, even dressing up as Obama's Portuguese Water Dog. 

Along the way, an ethnic South Asian RCMP officer (Laara Sadiq) appears, to charge
Ali & Ali with illegal immigration to Canada.  A kangaroo court (or
would it be a “moose court” in Canada?) ensues and Ali & Ali must
defend and explain themselves. This is where the character of Raugi steps up as an interpreter to
explain the actions of Ali & Ali to the RCMP officer.  But true to
Ali & Ali interpretation and misinterpretion, as Canadian
sacred institutions
such as the RCMP are poked with scenarios including tasers and cultural sensitivity
training. Broad outrageous humour got loud laffs from the audience –
especially the puppet show!

Ali & Ali poke some fun at Barak Obama's New
World Order. The puppet show took on a weird outrageous vibe, as talking heads of Afro-American movement cultural icons, criticize Obama policies in the White House.  It would have been nice if they had been able to identify who their “Jiminy Cricket” conscience guides were, as many audience members are probably not versed in Afro-American revolutionaries such as Malcolm X and Angela Davis.  

Some serious topics are addressed such as
prison detention & torture, illegal immigration and deportation.  This show uses the slap stick humour to set up and explain the underlying social commentary.  How does a normal human being cope with being detained in prison on unspecific charges?  The balance between the serious and absurdist swings back and forth, eliciting emotional reactions from the audience.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  There are many in-jokes, dependent upon the audience's knowledge of many things.  It is like a television channel-flipping barrage of issues.  But the play succeeds in informing the audience about our country's detention of prisoners, and it creating new cultural perspectives of multiculturalism.  Sometimes, how you see the world really does depend on what colour your eyes are.

Definitely not for everybody – but neither was Monty Python or Wayne & Shuster.

Check out the Neworld website:
http://www.neworldtheatre.com/productions-ali-and-ali-7.html

Program revealed for this Sunday's 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

What's Happening this Sunday at Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner?

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinners always emphasize BC's cultural and historical past and present. While we acknowledge the Scottish and Chinese pioneers that helped to shape this province of British Columbia, we also look to see where we are going and what kind of cultural fusion is happening.  This year's program is amazing.

Larissa Lai is the featured author (When Fox is A Thousand, Salt Fish Girl + new poetry book Automaton
Biographies).  Larissa enjoyed last year's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner when Rita Wong was the featured author.  Larissa teaches Burns poetry at the UBC English Department.

Lan Tung
is the featured musician with her trio Birds of Paradox, with guitarist Ron Samworth and multi-instrumentalist  NealamjitDhillon. Nealamjit has performed at Gung Haggis Fat Choy previously with Joe McDonald's band “Brave Waves.”
This will be Lan's first time at Gung Haggis Fat Choy, she is a
virtuoso on the erhu, and is well known with her group Orchid Ensemble

Marcus Youssef
is featured playwright and will perform excerpt from “Ali & Ali and
the Axis of Evil” which pokes fun at Asian Heritage Month,
Multiculturalism and Scottish history and culture.  Marcus is one of the founders of Neworld Theatre with Adrienne Wong and Camyar Chai.  Adrienne is a perennial favorite at Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  She has co-hosted and last year, she presented a preview excerpt from her Neworld theatre play “Mixie and the Half-breeds.”  In May 2009, Marcus and Adrienne co-produced and performed in a reading at the Vancouver Public Library for History Joy Kogawa House's inaugural Writer-in-Residence program with Montreal author John Asfour. This is Marcus's first visit to Gung Haggis Fat Choy, he will be joined by Camyar Chai and Charles Demers.

Tricia Collins,
is our Chinese-Irish-Guyanese-Canadian co-host. Her recent one-woman
play Gravity played to rave reviews in Vancouver, Montreal and Guyana.  Tricia has performed in many theatre plays, and recently her work was featured at the Whistler Film Festival in

Gung Haggis Pipes & Drums – including Dan Huang – Drum Sgt of the Kelowna Pipes & Drums.

Alex and Aidan Huang – Scottish-Chinese-Canadian Highland Dancers age 6 &
9.

William Saunders, president of the Vancouver & District Labour Council, will give the Immortal Memory about our Ploughman's Poet

Joe McDonald, official bagpiper of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, will help lead some singalongs and special tunes

Todd Wong, creator of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, will read poems, lead singalongs and maybe play some accordion

GREAT PRIZES….
Tix for “Monkey King” at Centre for Vancouver for Performing Arts
Tix for Vancouver Opera's “Nixon in China
Tix for Firehall Arts Centre “Where the Blood Mixes
Great Book Prizes:
Jim Wong-Chu – Swallowing Clouds
Larissa Lai – Automaton Biographies
Fiona Tinwei Lam –  Enter the Chrysanthemum
Charles Demers – Vancouver Special
Gu Xiong – The Yellow Pear
Ashok Mathur's A Little Distillery in Nowgong
+ Lots More

Google News Alert for “Gung Haggis Fat Choy”

Here are some of the media interviews about Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner + other stories

Every year I do media interviews.  On Robbie Burns Day, I was woken up at 7am by a request from BBC Radio Scotland.  Yesterday, I did an interview for French CBC television.  Monday was Epoch Times.  Last week the Georgia Straight did a food feature article.  Somewhere in Scotland there is an interview in the Sunday Post.  Even SFU, Seattle and North Shore News have stories about Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner this year.  Check out the links:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the ultimate fusion feast

Straight.com – Carolyn Ali – ‎Jan 21, 2010‎
“People really like haggis dim sum,” says Todd Wong, otherwise known as Toddish McWong. He's organizing the 12th annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner,

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Celebrates Chinese and Scottish Heritage

The Epoch Times – Ryan Moffatt – ‎11 hours ago‎
At first glance not a lot, but if you ask Todd Wong, founder of Gung Haggis Fat Choy, the two partner together quite well. “In Canada they talk about the

Food Calendar

North Shore News – Pamela Stone, Debbie Caldwell – ‎4 hours ago‎
Gung Haggis Fat Choy:
The annual Scottish and Chinese cultural, musical and literary event
featuring intercultural food, fun, poems and music, Sunday, Jan.

Join the Burns Day fun Jan. 25

Simon Fraser University News – ‎Jan 21, 2010‎
And don't forget to stay for Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a fun meld of Chinese New Year and Burns Day festivities, with dragon cart races, haggis and egg rolls.

Like a trip home

The Kingston Whig-Standard – Ian Elliot – ‎Jan 25, 2010‎
and a unique Canadian twist is a Scottish- Chinese fusion born in Vancouver known as Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners that feature haggis wontons and other

Vancouver taste treat: haggis won ton

Crosscut (blog) – Knute Berger – ‎19 hours ago‎
The menu for the 2010 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner in Vancouver has been revealed, and it combines the celebratory influences of Chinese New Year with the

Food and Culture Topic of Presentation

Opinion250 News (blog) – ‎Jan 9, 2010‎
We also attend boundary-blurring festivals, such as Gung Haggis Fat Choy Day,” says Dr. Iwama, who has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies.