My mom managed to get tickets to Helen Lawrence (Arts Club) so we went to that. It’s a live um…film. I would even hesitate to call it a live theatre-film hybrid because with the use of projections to project the black and white film and its virtual sets…the cinema completely overwhelms the live action (in a blue cube…basically a green screen except its blue). Titles and transitions were a good use of the visual medium but having a live film superimposed of a live theatre performance (with a completely confusing plot) was distracting I found…who are you supposed to look at – the actor on stage or the same actor on the screen on the other side of the stage? Not to mention, I spent way too long trying to figure out if it was live or pre-filmed…I eventually figured out it was either live or they did a really good job of synchronizing  with their projections!

While it was a technological marvel of sorts, I kept wondering – why didn’t they just make this a film? It’s written by a screenwriter, uses a bunch of screen actors and it’s 95 minutes (no intermission) so why not just make it a narrative feature film? I have a feeling it would be cheaper that way anyway….

It was a nice try but the use of film/projection was overwhelming (it might as well be a film) and distracting, I found.  So much so, that I never really figured out what exactly was going on (although that may be a plot issue too…or just me).

On the other hand, the Stanley Theatre used to be a movie theatre (it’s now a live theatre operated by the Vancouver Arts Club). I can see that now. I couldn’t really see that when they had additional live theatre but I can see it as a movie theatre now (I never went to the Stanley when it was a movie theatre). While recreating and bringing back now gone, historical Vancouver locations to life (Hogan’s Alley and the old Hotel Vancouver), in a weird way, it also brought back the Stanley as a cinema once again. Somehow, for the history minor in me – that’s somewhat more satisfying than the production itself.

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