Fringe Video: Aleugenta

When I was first trawling YouTube for anything that came up under “Edmonton Fringe” I came across the trailer for Aleugenta.

I knew I’d be posting about it because after watching the trailer I had no idea what the play would be about, but it was a fairly slick video. (more…)

Fringe Video: Channel One

The future may not be all it’s cracked up to be. But TV is good. Now we’ve got the premise to Channel One, a Fringe play coming to us from New York City.

Uh, I mean coming to us from the future. (more…)

Fringe Video: Kittens on Fire

Wondering if you should head over to Wunderbar to see Kittens on Fire this Fringe?

I’ve got two things that will help you make up your mind.

It’s about a kitten orphanage.

And this video: (more…)

Fringe Video: Mothership Down

Instead of “Take me to your leader,” Marty Chan has crafted a play that’s more “We are your leaders.”

Yes, it’s aliens and politics: together at the Fringe! (more…)

Fringe Video: Theme Park

Going back to my first Fringing, about a decade ago in Winnipeg, I’ve always checked posters for shows which have toured the country and received great reviews in other cities. Among Edmonton’s 180 Fringe plays this summer, you’ll find plenty of great Edmonton talent, but don’t forget to see who’s come to Edmonton from other places. If we’re to be the biggest and best Fringe in North America we should have the best plays from all around.

All of that leads me to our next Fringe video which, of course, is for a play not from Edmonton. (more…)

Fringe Video: Aachen

It is that wonderful, wacky time of year in Edmonton: Fringe. This year, it is more formally known as Fringeopolis.

As part of this year’s shenanigans we are going to post videos for plays. They may be videos of the play, about the play, from the actors or writers, from the characters in the play. We’re not sure what we’ll find because there are nearly 200 plays that will delight, entertain, enlighten, and even sometimes disappoint audiences over the next two weeks. But we know it’s going to be a good time for just about everybody.

(If this is your first time, you may need a few tips.)

First up from us, a video will from the mind of Mostly Water Theatre’s Trent Wilkie. (more…)

One-Act No Waiting

The Walterdale’s production of One-Act plays continues this week.

At 8pm, each night this week (including Saturday), you can head over to the Old Strathcona theatre and catch “From Cradle to Stage: An Evening of New One-Act Plays” – new plays by local playwrights.

“Even the Walls Have Eyes” is about with Andrea, who confronts her past at the funeral of her abuser. Written by Sherryl Melnyk.

“Hope Is Dead” involves an unlikely meeting of one of the invisible homeless and a troubled teen. By Mike Czuba.

“Poetry Unbound” is a staged reading. Written by Robert Zimmer.

Tickets are $12 – $16 and are available from TIX on the Square and at the door (door tickets are available an hour before the show, and are cash only.)


Rapid Fire Sally

FYI, I recently celebrated a landmark birthday. Yes, that’s right – a few weeks back, I officially crossed the threshold into adulthood! I’m now 79 years old!

Basically an exact representation of what my birthday looked like

Obviously, I celebrated in a bunch of ways, including, but not limited to: enjoying some fuzzy Werther’s Originals from the pocket of my winter coat, yelling at neighbourhood kids to get off my lawn, and going to McDonald’s with Derjis, strictly for coffee, where we discussed our shared skepticism about the internet and young people today and the future.  All in all, it was a good day.

But what was even more remarkable about this birthday was the year leading up to it. I made it my mission in those 12 months to take on pretty much everything that I’d ever wanted to do but been too afraid to try – and leading up that parade was taking an improv class.

Now, since we’re all such good friends, I’m going to give you kids the straight bull. No, I’m not going to jive you turkeys. While I talk all big when there are a million miles of internet tubes between us, in reality, I am a complete coward, suffering paralyzing anxiety over most normal everyday, social interactions.  Normal human beings in normal human being places – banks, restaurants, buses –  scare the living hell out of me – so you can imagine my reaction to human beings in an audience, staring glassy-eyed at me, because I am not funny.

So no messing around; I went to the pros. (more…)

Hard Core Logo: Live’s last Weekend at the Roxy

Time’s running out to catch the Theatre network’s bold adaptation of Canadian cult classic Hard Core Logo at the Roxy.

I say “bold” because, to dorks like me, this movie is untouchable. It’s a masterpiece. I’m the quintessential HCL fanboy, with boxes of memorabilia, a knowledge of every trivial fact about the film, a vocabulary heavily peppered with lines and references to the original, even fifteen years later (“That’s not buddies” is a phrase my brother Paul and I – who you may recognize as one half of The Truthvestigators – often use). I have a Hard Core Logo tattoo, for Pete’s sake.

In fact, I went to see the show last night only 50% sure I’d be able to write about it, because stating my opinion on the live version of HCL would be akin to asking our Unknown Studio friends Adam and Scott to evaluate a Jubilations Dinner Theatre performance of Star Trek: The Next Generation: it wouldn’t be pretty.

So no one is more pleasantly surprised than me at being able to say that you should drop whatever you’re doing right now and get tickets to see Hard Core Logo: Live, before its final show on Sunday. (more…)

The Early Bloomer

Man, I’m such a sucker for kids’ stories. Whether it’s the result of a Peter Pan complex or just some unresolved issue from my childhood, I literally go weak in the knees for a good “Why am I different?” tale of woe.

Which is what interested me when my friend Veronica, who sometimes writes for the Edmonton Examiner, told me she was working on a story about “The Early Bloomer,” a children’s play (produced by Concrete Theatre) currently touring elementary schools and about to do a run of shows at the Milner Library. The play is about a flower named Maisie Daisy who suddenly hits a growth spurt before all her friends, and struggles with the new changes in her life. SOLD!

Anyway, turns out (small world, y’all) the play was written by local improvisationalist, actress and all around cool lady Jana O’Connor, who also happens to be a friend of mine.  The play is accompanied by a teacher’s guide, which features the following quote from Jana:

“I was much taller than most of my classmates all through elementary and junior high school. I developed curves way ahead of the curve and had to wear clothes from the ladies department. In fact, I was often mistaken for a teacher. In a time of life when all you want to do is be like everyone else, I most definitely was not. Fitting in, in all senses of the phrase, eluded me.”

WHA?! This is surprising, given that when you meet Jana in person, she’s this amazingly gorgeous statuesque blonde that looks like she strolled in from a 1940s movie.  But I digress. I guess we really all have to live through an awkward phase (mine started with a mullet in 1986 and continues to this day).

I chatted Jana up on Facebook, all about what it’s like to jump from the world of improv to the world of children’s theatre.

SALLY: What inspired you to write a children’s play? (more…)

Marty Chan Gave Me Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


(FYI: I’m not going to give you guys a synopsis of the play, only because when I originally saw it, I was lucky enough to have missed out on all the publicity and saw it completely cold – which made it that much more powerful.  If you do want more info, check here.)

Picture it, kids; Edmonton, 1999. It was the beginning of the era of reality entertainment.  Survivor was still a just a rumoured show-to-come, provoking the ire of critics; The Blair Witch Project was doing boffo box office; and I was a naïve teenager, in love with Quentin Tarantino, Chow Yun Fat, and pretty much anything drenched in blood and gore.  Therefore, I reasoned, I certainly had to see Marty Chan’s much talked about new Fringe show, “The Bone House.”

No word of a lie, I left that theatre a changed woman. No more Quentin Tarantino, no more Chow Yun Fat, no more ANYTHING but romantic comedies, Adam Sandler movies and movies featuring cartoon monkeys.

Never again have I been able to tolerate horror films, shoot ‘em ups, or anything with any level of violence.   For the last ten years, I have given every person who asks “Why don’t you like violent movies?” my condensed review of the terrifying reality-theatre-horror of Edmonton playwright Marty Chan’s “The Bone House,” along with a description of how the sheer terror it evoked haunts me to this day.

So obviously, you totally have to see it. For reals.  It’s amazing.

When I talk to Marty Chan on the phone, he says he’s in a questionable hotel room in Rocky Mountain House.  He’s currently out of town doing some school presentations about the  children’s books he authours.  He’s a very funny, sincere guy, and it’s hard to believe that this is the same guy responsible for a piece of theatre that basically gave me post-traumatic stress disorder.

I ask Marty about the story’s origins. (more…)