Vancouver director Beau Han Bridge knows what he wants. He also has a plan to get there.
The twenty-something actor, filmmaker, and director has entered the growing independent theatre scene in Vancouver with his Midtwenties Theatre Society.
“Because I want to do work I feel needs to be shown in the Lower Mainland theatre scene,” says Bridge as to the motivation behind starting his new theatre company.
Not just any work, Bridge’s ultimate goal is to produce works he has written.
“I’ve been doing a bunch of original works and tried to get them produced, but it is hard to get original works up,” he says. “There was a lack of opportunities, so I decided to create my own theatre society.”
Before he can run though, Bridge has decided to take the advice he gleaned from reading books on setting up a new theatre company.
“All the books I read, and the research I did, on how to set up a theatre company all recommended I don’t start with an original as it is a lot riskier and harder to get your program off to a good start,” he explains.
Taking this new found knowledge to heart, Bridge is presenting Kenneth Lonergan’s This is Our Youth as his first show.
Not only does it provide some name recognition – Lonergan is the writer of the hugely successful film Manchester by the Sea – it also fits nicely with the demographics of those in his company.
“We relate to the characters on a personal level and it speaks to us,” he says. “We’re all recent grads, in our early twenties, and the things this play is addressing are all things we can relate to.”
A dark comedy, This is Our Youth is the story of three privileged twenty-somethings on the path to adulthood: the drug-dealing Dennis, his best friend and whipping boy, Warren, and the confused and self-conscious fashion student Jessica.
Originally set in New York City during the Reagan era, Bridge has updated his production by moving it to today’s Trump reality.
A drug-fueled story, it also speaks to what is happening in Vancouver.
“With the fentanyl crisis and the whole drug culture it is very relevant to today,” he says. “We’re changing a few references from Reagan to Trump, and the visuals and music will also be set to now.”
A filmmaker, This is Our Youth marks Bridge’s directorial stage debut. With a strong vision, he is keeping a close rein on the show to ensure his concept is realized. Besides directing, he is also designing the set and lighting.
“I have this very specific tone and this very specific way of looking at the play, and I need more control to deliver what it is we’re trying to deliver.” he says. “I don’t think anyone else could do this version of the play if I didn’t direct it.”
Bridge’s vision comes from shifting the perspective in how we view the characters. While other productions see it as narrative centered on a single character with the other characters simply plot devices, Bridge sees the three like a mosaic painting.
“It is about three really unsatisfied kids, who all have the ability to be happy, but for some reason they still have these issues,” he says. “Warren is a symbolic interactionist, driven solely for one person. Dennis is the micro, and Jessica is literally the macro, talking about society as a whole, and the political.”