Looking to tap into the market of those who want something a little different this time of year, Vancouver indie theatre companies Twenty Something Theatre and Hardline Productions are coming together with a production of Brendan Gall’s Wide Awake Hearts.
[pullquote]“We kind of like the idea of doing a non-holiday themed play during the holidays. A lot of people looking for entertainment at this time of year don’t necessarily want the usual saccharine-y sweet holiday stuff.” – Brian Cochrane, director of Wide Awake Hearts and Twenty Something Theatre’s Associate Artistic Producer[/pullquote]“We kind of like the idea of doing a non-holiday themed play during the holidays. A lot of people looking for entertainment at this time of year don’t necessarily want the usual saccharine-y sweet holiday stuff,” says director and Twenty Something Theatre Associate Artistic Producer, Brian Cochrane who also reveals, ironically perhaps, that the words ‘Merry Christmas’ are actually used in the show.
Telling the story of four people working on an independent film, the movie’s screenwriter casts his wife in his new film and hires his best friend to play her lover. “A double love triangle starts to emerge, as fact and fiction starts to blur,” says Cochrane.
Exploring why we create conflict and then proceed to make that conflict even messier, Cochrane says the playwright isn’t looking to provide simple answers, but allows the audience to come to their own conclusions. “Why do we these things in our lives? Why do we repeat the mistakes that we watch on television and film in our own lives?” says Cochrane. “These people are stuck in this world trying to figure out the difference between their lives and their art.”
Having talked about joining forces for the last couple of years, the choice of Wide Awake Hearts came after a lengthy search, but once both theatre company’s members had an opportunity to read the script they agreed it would be the perfect vehicle for their collaboration. It was also a script that Twenty Something’s Artistic Producer Sabrina Everett had wanted to do since seeing the original production at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre in 2010.
“When we first started talking about doing a show together the guys at Hardline were interested in doing Look Back in Anger, but we wanted to do something a little more contemporary and suggested Wide Awake Hearts. After reading it, they immediately agreed this was the play,” says Cochrane.
For director Cochrane, the desire to work with Hardline Productions goes back a little further, to that company’s production of Cativo in 2011, just as he was coming out of the University of British Columbia with an MFA in Directing.
“We’re pretty complimentary with the work we do,” says Cochrane of the two companies. “We both have a high artistic standard and want to tell stories for all generations, including our own.”
Telling stories for their own generation is one big reason that Twenty Something Theatre was originally formed, and while Cochrane admits that they are now sneaking into their thirties, their original mission, to provide the next generation of emerging artists with opportunities to hone their craft, still remains. Combined with Hardline Theatre’s evolving mandate that began with “theatre that punches you in the face”, it is a safe bet Wide Awake Hearts will most definitely not be your usual Christmas fare.
But just to prove their own hearts are not “two sizes too small”, the companies will be collecting donations to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank during the run.
Wide Awake Hearts plays Little Mountain Gallery (195 East 26 Ave, Vancouver) Dec 3-20. Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets. Visit https://hardlineproductions.ca or https://twentysomethingtheatre.com for more information.