This spring, I had the honour of directing Pivot Theatre’s first production, My Blue Heaven. Written by Jane Chambers in 1981, it’s the story of Josie and Molly, a long-term lesbian couple who pick up stakes from New York City in 1975 and move to a decrepit old farm upstate. Josie is the eternal optimist, eager to create her own Green Acres, while Molly is miserable after losing her teaching job because she wrote a book called ‘Living the Good Gay Life’.
My Blue Heaven was the little show that could. We started out with a simple eight-show run at the Newton Cultural Centre in Surrey, and that was going to be it. But then to our surprise, the Fraser Valley Zone Festival came back to life after two years off, and they invited us to come play. We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to let our peers know about Pivot, so My Blue Heaven went to Festival. We even walked away with a couple of awards: Best Costumes for Margaret Shearman, and Best Sound Design for our actor Kevin Ibbotson, who personally provided all the animal and car sound effects while on stage. The adjudicator, Kathryn Shaw, also gave Pivot a certificate of recognition for our first outing.
But it doesn’t end there. After discussing it amongst cast and crew, Pivot decided to put My Blue Heaven forward for the draw that would send one additional show to the TheatreBC Mainstage festival in Vernon. To our shock, we won the wildcard slot, and we were off to the Okanagan for one last show. It was a unique experience, and for a few days we could completely be artists (temporarily putting aside our day jobs) and immerse ourselves in the experience. The show went off without a hitch – my couple of slightly-delayed calls aside – and we came home with another couple of awards: the Backstage Cooperation Award (for our incredibly efficient use of time during move in and tech), and the Best Ensemble Award.
My thanks go out to Kevin Ibbotson, Leaminn Ma, Beck-Marie, and Maddy Stenstrom for their incredible hard work and dedication to bringing this relatively unknown show to life not once, but three times. And especially to our producer and visionary, Margaret Shearman. I hope we did you proud!
I really need to get better at this blogging thing!
It’s blatantly apparent that I’m really bad at posting here on a regular basis. But a bout of COVID has sidelined me this week, and I’ve also had a pretty good excuse – I’ve been BUSY. Since restrictions started lifting last year, theatre returned with a vengeance. All of the shows that were previously cancelled and postponed came back to life, and having done nothing artistic for the better part of a year and a half, it was time to take hold of the reigns again. So let me catch you up on the goings on.
First, Happy Birthday by Marc Camoletti (adapted by Beverly Cross). My fifth show at Metro Theatre. Luckily we only needed to recast one role, and we were able to start up relatively quickly. This one was an established British comedy filled with people behaving badly, but the same could not be said of the cast. A lovelier bunch of people you’ll never meet.
My Blue Heaven
The next show was Jane Chambers’ My Blue Heaven, the first show mounted by Surrey’s newest community theatre. While written 40 years ago, it still speaks to many of the issues that the LGBTQIA2S+ community today. Not only did it run in March, but it was invited to the Fraser Valley Zone Festival in May, and then won the wildcard slot at the TheatreBC Mainstage festival in July.
Moon Over Buffalo
Finally, Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig. Carol Burnett led this show’s Broadway debut in 1995, and it’s farce at its best, complete with slamming doors, drunken antics, affairs, and time crunches. It was my first show with Deep Cove Stage Society, and my return to North Vancouver after my last show there in 2018. This cast and crew were troopers, filling in for one another as we dealt with various COVID diagnoses. And they brought the funny every single night.
Now, you would think I’d take a break after all that, right? Not a chance. Twist opens October 20th at Hendry Hall in North Vancouver. Tickets soon go on sale at https://northvanplayers.ca/tickets/.