The Black House and the Blue Sky from Xua Xua Productions.
The Black House and the Blue Sky from Xua Xua Productions.

This week is full of independent thinkers, including a gender-bender pushing the limits of Shakespeare, a new musical based on the music of Stars, and a darkly funny film based on a Morris Panych play.

Actor, director, teacher, producer, artistic director and founder of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, Lisa Wolpe, will host a unique celebration of the power of cross-gender Shakespeare. In Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender (Jul 16), Wolpe performs and contextualizes her experience of interpreting some of the many Shakespearian roles she has played, including Hamlet, Iago, Richard III, while exploring her own life story. It should prove to be an engaging and insightful evening given Shakespeare’s female roles were traditionally played by men.

Vancouver Presents contributor Andrea Loewen is busy this summer working on a home-gorown musical based on the songs from Canadian indie rockers Stars’ album The Five Ghosts.  Written by Loewen and Dani Bryant of Xua Xua Productions they are presenting a script-in-hand, staged workshop presentation of The Black House and the Blue Sky (Jul 17 & 18).  Every good coming of age story features sex and death, but what’s the point of it all? In The Black House and the Blue Sky Aimee has experienced both elements, but still refuses to entertain the notion of vulnerability, clinging to her achievement-oriented life.

The Vancouver indie film Lawrence & Holloman (Jul 18 – 23) is coming full circle. With its world premiere last year at the Vancouver International Film Festival, they are back with its Vancouver theatrical premiere, nearly a year after playing festivals around the world.  This dark comedy adapted from Morris Panych’s play, works on many levels: as wacky sketch comedy, as absurdist fable and, most pungently, as a satire on the modern rat race.

Vancouver Presents!