There is no greater pleasure than sharing a secret with someone. The ability to show another person they may not know about or have previously appreciated before is one of life’s simpler pleasures that cannot be bought. My own favourite is scaring the shit out of people with ghost stories, both real and fiction, whilst on long, boring drives to outdoor music festivals or on tour. Another is bringing people into a world or place that they may have walked by without knowing. In times past I often felt like I was introducing a foundling magician to Diagon Alley when opening the back door to Dollhouse, but those days are long since past. But not all the secret spaces are gone.
One of these places is a little shoebox theatre that I like, hidden in the bowels of what was once Vancouver’s Japantown. Cuddled up to Lanalou’s and next to Kay’s Seafood, it houses the spooky thespianism of it’s players and in my own case, a black hole for my morals (usually about 3AM after two whiskies too many). I’ve not even seen as many shows as I should there, yet each one holds a happy (if slightly hazy) memory for me. And all because once upon a time Violet Femme shared the secret with me…
This time around I had a few partners for the ride: Lola Frost, cohabitant of Haus Of Boudior, poet CR Avery, and poet slam grandmaster Duncan Shields (also Spectral Alumni). As CR had never yet experienced this small bastard theatre before, Lola had brought him as part of their day’s outings. We stirred up in the back row, as the bad kids will, and got served up the two latest offerings in Spectral’s Late Night Double Feature format…
Sam Hainn: The Occult Detective
Written by Andrew Harron and directed by Matthew C Seagle.
Presented as a 1940′s radio play by the Grimmsfield players concerning the strange goings-on in a city where one gumshoe has the arcane knowledge to get to the bottom of the bloody shenanigans. Given that: a) am an occultist myself b) like radio plays, I was looking forward to this play. While the plot was a classic (boy meets girl, girl tries to bring about the end of the world through releasing an ancient demoness) I enjoyed the players voice acting. With note, particularly to the gent doing the voice of the demons who sounded *uncannily* like raccoons to me. I could be wrong, and ascribing personal motives to the player, but darn it if it didn’t further endear me to the show. I also enjoyed Karin Atkinson’s portrayal of Sam’s secretary in the Brooklyn 1930′s accent. Bless Janine Melnitz for forever giving paranormal agencies’ secretaries a genre-specific voice. While I was disappointed I missed Mihola Terzik in the show, it was still worth seeing/listening/drinking whiskey to. My inner Margot Adler was smiling.
Bastards Of Creation
Written by Michael Cope and Directed by David Quast
It’s not a LNDF if there’s isn’t one lighter play and one heavier, slightly more depressing play. It’s not always the case but I usually prefer the lighter, funnier shows to the things that make me stop and think about the horror of humanity, fragility of emotion, blah, blah, blah. Especially if it has do with anything remotely to do with Christian mythology. Of course, no sooner do I point this out on this very blog only to FULLY contradict myself. As I do. That being said, even with the more dramatic vein Bastards took, there were three things that endeared it to my withered, dried root of a pulmonary pump that is my heart: first of all Andrew Harron and David Cameron’s demonic comedic foil to that of the rest of the cast brought some comedy (albeit dark and well-played) to a rather heavy, dramatic show. Simon Hussey’s portrayal of Lucifer as a surly and rebellious celestial teenager was noteworthy and likely the best role I’ve seen him in to date. He created a sympathetic devil. And my favourite part, hand down, was Ashley Katherina Hunking as Sin who performed a well-executed chair dance (thus leading to a bit of an onstage orgy which I’m always in favour of). She gave me pains of love coming from a burlesque standpoint, and while there was no striptease per se, it wasn’t needed to illicit a response. (Yes, I heard every boner in the place go. I have very good hearing for someone who hit as many parties and metal shows as I do.)
So there you have it. While Spectral doesn’t yet have the option of purchasing season tickets… yet… this run of LNDF continues until September 1st, so this week is the last to catch this run. Hopefully you get a chance to see these shows in one of Vancity’s best kept secret, and remember that secrets are most fun when shared…
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Hugs and hisses,
Little Miss Risk