ITSAZOO presents the world premiere inspired by dark and long-forgotten East Vancouver history with Cheyenne Rouleau’s Sunrise Betties.
Set in 1972, the story follows the fictional Betties, a fiercely loyal, all-female street gang run by a powerful matriarch who operates a small-time drug trafficking operation. When the gang inadvertently starts a turf war with a prominent mobster, a corrupt Vancouver Police officer mysteriously shows up, offering to-good-to-be-true promises. This challenges the gang’s loyalty, revealing their tight-knit “family” may have a rat amongst them.
“Sunrise Betties offers a glimpse into the origins of the economic disparity and opioid crisis that are synonymous with our ‘world-class city,'” says Sebastien Archibald, ITSAZOO’s co-artistic producer who also plays the role of a corrupt VPD Officer. “In a city notorious for erasing its history, our goal is to highlight it. With this shocking, violent, and funny work, we go back to a pre-internet, pre-Expo ’86, pre-gentrification East Vancouver period. We hold a mirror up to Vancouver and say, this is your history; this is how it used to be; this is how we got here.”
In this edition of Before The Curtain Goes Up, David C Jones speaks with playwright Cheyenne Rouleau to learn more.
ITSAZOO presents Sunrise Betties in the basement of East Vancouver’s Russian Hall (600 Campbell Ave, Vancouver) from February 21 through March 10. Visit itsazoo.org for tickets and information.