|Laurence Olivier once said that “in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, great theatre is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture“. There is no better proof of this than in the umbilical connection between Vancouver’s thriving culture and bourgeoning theatre scene.
Here on Cue to Cue we’ll regularly feature in-depth previews and reviews of the shows that create the face of Vancouver theatre, as well as interviews with the local artists behind it all…
It’s a fantastic time of the year for theatre. With the change of seasons come a plethora of festivals to bring in the fall, and kick off the start of the new theatrical calendar year. The largest, and my personal favourite of these festivals is the Vancouver Fringe Festival which is currently in its 27 year and runs until September 18th. If you haven’t ever made your way down to Granville Island for a show, I’m not sure what to tell you other than “go!”. If you haven’t made it down this year, I’d say “go, it’s even better than last year!”.
I saw my first Fringe show when I was 16, and can say without question that it was a game-changer for me. The first of these game-changers was a Monster Theatre show called The Canada Show which drew hordes of festival goers at the 2002 Fringe to see a hilarious re-telling of Canada’s entire history in one hour. Years later, Monster Theatre Artistic-Director Ryan Gladstone is still creating magnetic works in the Fringe circuit and beyond that transcend time and genre to tell stories that audiences wide and far manage to connect to. Now back in Vancouver for his TWO shows in this year’s festival, I had a chance to chat with Ryan about it all. Enjoy!
Who are you?
Ryan Gladstone, founder and artistic director of Monster Theatre.
What is Monster Theatre?
Monster Theatre is an 11 year old independent theatre company that creates, develops and tours original plays. Most of our plays are comedies, but our mandate is more serious. Our plays are always based on history or mythology. Actually my one-man play this summer is sort of about what inspires all of our shows. We believe that the human experience is more or less unchanged for the last ten thousand years – we are born, we live, we come of age, we fall in love, we have children, we die – and that stories are like signposts on the road of life to help us cope. This is why the same story pattern recur over and over, and we believe that it the artists duty to re-tell these stories, adding in their own details to make these archetypes relevant to their own time and place in the world.