Julien Galipeau and Scott McGowan in the Fighting Chance Productions presentation of Girlfriend. Photo by Javier R. Sotres Photography.
Julien Galipeau and Scott McGowan in the Fighting Chance Productions presentation of Girlfriend. Photo by Javier R. Sotres Photography.

After a sixteen-month hiatus following last year’s production of Guys and Dolls, Vancouver’s Fighting Chance Productions is set to return to the stage with the Canadian premiere of the pop/rock musical Girlfriend.

Based on the 1991 album of the same name by alt-rock musician Mathew Sweet Girlfriend features just two actors. For director and producer Chris Lam, it was the perfect choice as the company’s first production in over a year. “We wanted to do a smaller show to ease back into the new theatre season,” says Lam.

Originally written following Sweet’s divorce in 1989, his music has been repurposed to help tell the story of a budding relationship between two young men. Taking place just after high school graduation, the two contemplate the next stage of their lives and connect over the songs from the album.

“The album Girlfriend is the music that is the catalyst for the boy’s mutual attraction,” explains Lam. “They both bond over the music and then explore their feelings for each other. Contextually music and mixtapes are a diving point to their relationship.”

And while the musical may be set in Nebraska in the 1990s, Lam says it is the story of connection and identity that continues to make it relevant for tody’s audiences. “These two boys need each other at this point in time, yet they don’t know it,” he says. “The language of desire and communication still translate today.”

Not the typical show you see during the holiday season, Lam goes onto say they specifically chose Girlfriend because it has nothing to do with Christmas. “[We thought] it would be a refreshing antidote to the other fare this time of year,” he says. “If you ever remember the clumsiness, fear, and joy of that first love, this show explores and celebrates it.”

Girlfriend plays The Nest (1398 Cartwright St, Granville Island, Vancouver) December 10-21. Visit fightingchanceproductions.ca for tickets and information.