I kind of dislike standing ovations. Even more so, I dislike when people just keep on clapping and the actors come out for multiple bows. Generally my attitude is, we clap to say thank you for the experience, the actors bow to accept our thanks and give it back, and then we all move on with our lives. The standing ovation should be reserved, I feel, for those truly exceptional theatrical experiences where you are transported – where you realize that you weren’t breathing, that you had your hand clenched to your heart the whole time, or laughed your face off.
So I was surprised to realize, then, that I have given several enthusiastic standing ovations in the past few months. Possibly more than I have ever given before.
Am I going soft? Have I been worn down into believing that theatre that is just good is amazing? Or is the theatre in Vancouver just reaching a new level of awesomeness?
Some of the shows that swept me off my feet over the past few months include: The Meal at Pacific Theatre, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at The Cultch, Doubt at Pacific Theatre, Hunchback at The Vancouver Playhouse, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at Pacific Theatre, and Chelsea Hotel at The Firehall.
Looking at that list, I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’m going soft. Sure, there might be a hint of bias there as I do work at Pacific Theatre and thus know and love the artists involved in our productions, but each play on that list was a truly solid piece of theatre. Some transported me through the simple magic of a solid script and amazing performances (Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot), while others grabbed me through their larger-than-life innovation and musicality (Hunchback, Chelsea Hotel), but they were all phenomenal pieces of theatre.
So this post is a shout out to the Vancouver theatre scene. We’re on a roll, guys, let’s keep getting better and better!