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A Nerd’s Guide to the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival

16 Aug

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

I generally do not limit myself to the oddities which catch my interest at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival. The following are my nerdy style picks of the season, and only represent a part of the wide spectrum of delights offered. There are a few other shows which I plan to see, and hopefully, I can catch them all. No Pokemon GO references are expected this year but I have my reasons to be at each show early. The game continues with thanks to the die-hards, and I found my first Dragonite and Lapras before a show. Even told a group of performers where I found the latter, and they went chasing after one too. Yes, I’m wondering if this streak will continue.

For those who are not coming to this city for this celebration, most of these companies are touring and may well hit a celebration located near you. The season started a few months ago and stretch into the Autumn.

Disclaimer: Some of these shows use coarse language and are 18+

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Takeaways from 2018 San Diego Comic Convention

25 Jul

sdcclogo.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Many announcements and bombs happened over the July 18th to 22nd weekend at SDCC2018. Some of the news that happened divided a community and my thought is simply on whether Guardians of the Galaxy even continue after what happened? Only time and executive decisions can tell.

Many movie trailers were released to show what’s coming and while most of them look fantastic. Out of all of them, the second instalment of Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla: King of the Monsters stands out the most, and I’m not necessarily picking favourites. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is my second and Glass rounds out my top three. Excluded is what’s coming on television.

The following is a greatest hits package of what to look for at comic shops or video stores in the coming months.
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The Life, Times and Advances in Puppetry with Mike Quinn

14 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Mike Quinn is a man of many cinematic trades—a talent mentored by Jim Henson and Frank Oz—and he sees a bright future for puppetry, a style of performance theatre. His passion for it predates meeting these two icons and he is fully aware of its rich history. At an early age, he staged his own live puppet shows for family and friends, and he was always encouraged to pursue his dreams.

This form of entertainment can be traced back to the days of early man. Some simply manipulated the stuffed dolls with their hands and others took the form further, like to have a light source cast upon them so their shadows are projected upon a larger surface. This technique not only helped make them become larger than life but also create a mystique to enthral many a viewer. Quinn is well aware of the many styles of puppetry that can be used to tell a story. In the 90’s, his shift to work behind the camera showed his passion also included directing. He worked on many a TV pilot in the UK and said Mira Mara was one program where he brought in skilled shadow puppeteers to perform while a human actress was regaling fantastic tales to a cast of puppets. It went to full series production, was filmed throughout Wales and Scotland, and was broadcast in Gaelic speaking countries.

“I think this style is a very poetic and abstract artistic way of doing visuals. I also enjoy watching a different form known as bunraku (Japanese puppet theatre). You have three people working a full figure on a tabletop. They are usually seen behind the puppet, sometimes dressed in black, partially visible … they study forever to be very precise. It’s incredible!” observed Quinn.

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[Victoria, BC] All I want are Zombies for Christmas!

8 Dec

MET_2014_TEMPLATE_POSTERLocation:
Intrepid Studio Theatre
1609 Blanshard St
Victoria, BC

Dates:
Dec 6th – Sat Dec 9th,
Dec 14th – Sat Dec 16th, 2017
Starts 8pm | $15 at the door

Tickets also available through Eventbrite

In Victoria, British Columbia the Paper Street Theatre Company‘s holiday performances often sell out. This year, they are making sure the zombie epidemic is sure to spread in their improvised show which highlights this garden city in all its haunted glory. Instead of the traditional ghosts to mark the season, they are drawing upon many decades of zombie material to form into a live show, complete with confetti blood!

Technically, the ideas come from the audiences, and they work it into their presentation. Folks in the know will be in stitches about how the Inner Harbour is linked by tunnels. In their first show, the survivors are holed up in a museum, and they are having a frightful night in it — and trying to escape the eventual invasion. This narrative will change at each show and to watch the team recreate the nuances of terror certainly proves to witness the action live all the more engrossing. To see it on celluloid can offer safety, but to have it up close — especially with the set created for this performance, the sound scape heightening the mood, the creative lighting design which feels straight out of X-Files (if not straight out of John Carpenter film). All of them combined adds to the terror. High marks go to the team of Theodore Sherman, Emma Dickerson and Don Godlovitch.

zmas group shot

Photo credit: Derek Ford Studios

Because improvised theatre tends to add humour to the situation, audiences are able to laugh along to the absurd elements randomly put in. The team — Christina Patterson, Nicole Olszewski, Brooke Cameron, Dominik Buconjic, Byron Kjeldsen, Chris Gabel, Monica Joan Ogden, Andrew Brimmell, Dave Morris, Scott Thompson and Missie Peters — certainly know their craft and are able to provide a meaningful narrative on the fly. Character driven tales are much more poignant than offering moments for viewers to laugh along. Just who will be on stage or who are the main characters or supporting will vary each day.

While the first show was not heavy on the Christmas theme, at least the day the zombies took over happened to be at Yuletide. Perhaps next time, I’ll have to shout out Santa’s Workshop to provide a more direct setting and wait for the chaos to begin. Although this company does not bring back past shows (I’m still waiting for the team to agree to bring back H.P. Lovecraft), at least I know I’ll be guaranteed to not see the same story twice. A tip must be mentioned though: the more absurd the idea is being pitched, the better the chance it will get considered to be part of the act.

This company has engaged locals since 2011 and have appeared at some events off the island. To keep up with their latest happenings, please visit their Facebook page.