We continue our coverage of the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival with #FringeDuJour. A daily peak at some of the shows coming to this year’s festival, we’ve asked Fringe artists to answers four questions to entice you to want to see what they have to offer and to cross-pollinate the Fringe.
Vancity Culture Lab, 1895 Venables Street
1. Tell us about your show.
Blackbird is about a young woman, Una, and a middle aged man, Ray, who had an emotional and sexual relationship fifteen years prior, when he was forty and she was only twelve. When the relationship was discovered, Ray was sentenced to prison while Una became ostracized in her community. In the present, the emotionally troubled Una finally decides to seek Ray out and confront him for the first time in fifteen years about their disturbing past.
2. Why should someone come see it?
Blackbird is a very realistic and brutally honest portrait of two people with a painful past, that is conveyed through a long conversation, which occurs within one scene, in real time. Its content is really socially relevant, especially with the current dialogues on victim shaming, the sexualisation of young girls and convict rehabilitation occurring within the public sphere. However, the play is unique in that it doesn’t impose its own brand of morality and judgement on the characters. Blackbird was also initially commissioned specifically for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2005, exactly ten years ago, which makes watching it on a Fringe stage, albeit across the Atlantic, particularly exciting and meaningful.
3. If your show was a cartoon character which cartoon character would it be and why?
I think this show would, at least in terms of complexity if not quite thematically, be Lady Eboshi from Princess Mononoke. Although she is, at points, the antagonist of the animated film, Lady Eboshi is also a multifaceted, multi-dimensional character. She is both crusader and destroyer, activist and oppressor. She cares for her people deeply and is committed to social progress, rescuing and housing the lepers and prostitutes in her village. However, she is also power hungry and intent on destroying nature for the sake of industrial progress. Though you know some of her actions are wrong and hurtful, you can also sympathize to a certain degree. In a similar way, this play defies convention by neither condemning, nor condoning. It does not view its characters in terms of black and white. Instead, Blackbird presents all sides of the terrible, messy situation and leaves it to the audience to judge for themselves.
4. If you could see only one show at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, besides your own what show would that be?
I would see The Four of Us by Itmar Moses. It is a smart and funny play that is also really relatable, especially to young people who are struggling with success or the lack of. Additionally, it’s directed by Brian Cochrane, whom I think is one of the best young directors in the city.
The 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival runs September 10-20 on Granville Island and stages around town. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.