Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
Capitol Theatre's existence—as the newest, most off-the-beaten-path regular theatre season in town—began with a simple pitch.
Back in 2008, Nick Green was working as a server at Fort Edmonton Park's Hotel Selkirk, and Amanda Bergen was working in the park's administration.
"The [restaurant] manager at the time, Grant Miller, and also the general manager of the hotel at the time—neither of them are there anymore, but they were really supportive of me and my acting and theatre work outside of serving at the restaurant," Green recalls over the phone from his current Toronto home, where he's writing in residence at the acclaimed Buddies in Bad Times theatre.
"We pitched the idea to the hotel," he says. "That they would partner with us, put on a nice dinner, and we would use one of the houses in the park as the venue."
That show was Blue Heaven, now seeing a remount some five years on in a notably souped-up space: the refurbished, historic Capitol Theatre, a recreated version of the theatre that stood on Jasper Avenue and 100 Street from 1923 to 1972, was completed in 2011. (As with all Capitol shows, the option of packaging dinner at the Selkirk with the evening's performance remains.)
"It was the very first project we did to start the Fort Edmonton Park, in the theatre series, back when it was just an old timey indie project," Green continues. "I wanted to write something that was an onstage/offstage romp, that looked at vaudeville, which sort of fits the period of Fort Edmonton Park."
Something more fun than heavy, he thought, but with some depth to it: "It's not just flash and dance. There's a bit of heart behind it as well."
Those ideas gelled into a tale of Chester Field's Vaudeville Spectacular, where machiavellian motives intertwine with some flourishes of romance: two performers, Daisy and Mollie, jostle for the spotlight while Chester, fiancée to Daisy, plans to whisk her off the stage as soon as she's with child.
In revisiting his script five years down the road, Green notes that both himself and Bergen have grown as artists since its inaugural run and are hoping the revised Heaven reflects that growth.
"When we were first doing it, it was very much by the skin of our teeth, really for the love and not really knowing how it would go," he says. "The play was put together quite quickly, and now that we've done quite a few shows down there, and we've both grown as theatre artists, we've gone back with a critical eye to make sure the characters have a bit more ... depth in reality, and that the show is as tight and funny as we can possibly make it."
Until Sun, Mar 17 (8 pm)
Directed by Amanda Bergen
Capitol Theatre, Fort Edmonton Park, $20 – $28 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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