A play with bells on

I am like a kid at Christmas, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a really, cool surprise. 

The present? A play and the arrival of playwright Darrin Hagen from Edmonton.

I am a big fan of Hagen. It all started in the summer of 1993 when my husband, Derek, and I lived in Edmonton and were on The Fringe Theatre board.

We had the most amazing perk — an all-access pass to Edmonton Fringe Festival plays; pretty much the dream for a girl like me.

One warm, summer evening (The Fringe usually marks the end of summer festival season in the Alberta capital), Derek and I went to see a play by Trevor Schmidt  and Hagen and then sat in on a drag queen bingo after. 

It was then we made Guys in Disguise shows part of every summer Fringe — Tranny Get Your Gun and The Edmonton Queen, Not A Riverboat Story — were well written, fun and pulled at your heart strings, eliciting real emotion. And there were more-so many more.

So now, more than 20 years later, you can understand why I am so giddy to see Hagen, an esteemed Edmonton playwright, sound designer and performer, come to Kelowna this weekend. 

With Bells On is the hit play penned by Hagen and directed by Vernon's Logan Mullin that opens Thursday in New Vintage Theatre's studio space, The Hothouse, at Rotary Centre For The Arts.

The comedy is based around the scenario of a quiet businessman who gets trapped in an elevator with a drag queen on her way to a Christmas pageant, possibly her last.

The panic of the two being stuck in a confined space builds a camaraderie between the two when it is apparent no one is coming to rescue them.

The unlikely friendship and amazing experience the audience has with them is what has made the one-act play a hit throughout Canada, with sold out runs in Edmonton and Calgary.

It's the closing show of New Vintage Theatre's busy 2016.

Hagen's fast wit and salty sweetness of With Bells On is what marks him as playwright and has made his shows with his company Guys In Disguise nationally renowned for over 25 years. 

Named one of Alberta's most influential citizens in 2005 and Alberta Foundation For The Arts most notable top 25 citizens in 2016, Hagen is one of Canada's most progressive and innovative playwrights with a long list of Fringe Festival and regional theatre hits on his resume.

You can come and see Hagen's play, starring Zachary Fox and Shannon Lester, at The Rotary Centre For The Arts, Studio 100 on Dec. 8, 10, 15-17 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 if reserved at [email protected] or $25 (cash only) at the door. Since this play is in New Vintage Theatre's Studio 100, space is very limited.

Audiences are also invited to come and hear Hagen speak about his groundbreaking work at a talk called Happy Hour with Darrin on Dec.10 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

Audiences can grab a complimentary drink of wine and listen to Hagen talk about With Bells On and his experience as a drag queen artiste, playwright and designer with New Vintage Artistic Director Bonnie Gratz.

RSVP to [email protected] for free tickets to the talk or to book your for tickets to this great play, perfect for the holiday season. Space is limited.


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About the Author

Bonnie Gratz is an actor, director, and playwright. She is the Artistic Director of Kelowna's New Vintage Theatre, and a member of the Playwright's Guild of Canada and The Literary and Dramaturges of North America. 

For more on Bonnie, check out www.bonnie-gratz.com or check out www.newvintage.ca

Contact Bonnie at:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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