The Birds Are In The House

Have you ever seen the Alfred Hitchcock classic horror, The Birds?

It starts out innocently enough with a beautiful woman — Tippi Hedren — making small talk with a handsome man — in a pet shop. They are flirtatious and like most of the slow burns of Hitchcock horrors the characters slowly start to realize that they are trapped, much like the old adage "a bird in the house."

If you know old lore you know that is very bad luck.

Such is the case with New Vintage Theatre's fall offerings, Blackbird and Mockingbird Close running Oct.17-21 at The Black Box Theatre.

While the plays are completely different in tone and subject matter, the feeling of being enclosed and trapped is a common sensation for the characters. The result are two compelling offerings that are must see plays this season.

Blackbird is the story of a young woman, Una, (played by Hillary Omoe) who corners a man named Ray (played by Doug Brown) in the middle of his busy office and demands she talk to him about an abuse she suffered 15 years earlier. 

He is the abuser. Ray has done his time, suffered the humiliation, loss of employment and has changed his name. He has a new life and things are fine until Una storms in and demands he meet with her.

It is terrifying, energetic and heartbreaking and nothing like I have ever worked on before.

At our dress rehearsal, my knees literally knocked together in fear watching their intensity and I know the play.

Mockingbird Close is a bird of a different feather, a fairytale for adults. Iris (Hailey Sabourin) and Hank (Graham Daley) are a couple in "a perfect 1950s suburban bungalow, on a quiet, safe, suburban street."

One night at a cocktail party their son goes missing.

At first they blame each other for losing track of him-"You smelled like liquor," Hank accuses, while Iris quips, "You smelled like perfume."

But soon it becomes apparent that their son is gone they are forced to go out into their crescent Mockingbird Close" and ask their very unusual neighbours if they have seen him.

What they discover is that the residents of Mockingbird Close all have secrets, some of them deadly, making this a Twin Peaks-Mad Men style who dun it that is fun and scary.

Both plays are Kelowna premieres and Mockingbird Close is a B.C. premiere. To add to the excitement acclaimed "bad boy" of Canadian theatre, Trevor Schmidt, will be coming to see his play Mockingbird Close as and will be at post-show parties every night to talk about his weird, wonderful work. 

Wine sponsor for the event is Back Door Winery.

Audiences will not want to miss these frightening works-they are simply like nothing ever seen in Kelowna that will keep you thinking and talking long after you have left the theatre.

Blackbird — 7 p.m,, Oct. 17-20

Mockingbird Close — 9 p.m,, Oct. 17-20; Oct.21 at 7 p,m,

Tickets, $25, are available from www.selectyourtickets.com, Prospera Place box office or are $35 at the door.

Buy a two show pass for $40.


The Russians are coming

Mystery Theatre, Russians and a Contentious Paper Are Coming Next Week

Pssst…want to see something secret and cool?

Have you heard of Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch? 

Hannah is a genius with words, dubbed the “indie sensation” by Toronto Life Magazine and “dark angel of Toronto theatre” by Toronto Star. She has also been nominated for the Governor General’s award for theatre excellence. 

Her two short plays, The Russian Play and Essay,  kick off New Vintage Theatre’s fall theatre season from Sept.13-15 in a mysterious downtown Kelowna location.

New Vintage Theatre is in our sixth season called Starry Nights.  Both plays are directed by Elana Bizovie in collaboration with producer Angela Lavender. Their cast is first rate: Laura Marie Seres, Adam Weaver and Andrew Knudsen, with costumes by Perch’s Robyn Flinn.

Those familiar with this dream team will know their intensity is equally matched by their commitment. In addition to learning all things historically Russian (accent, dance, food), the actors have also been exploring the modern politics of persuasion and gender dynamics in the academic world today.  

With the world at odds over Russian involvement in our political systems and the #metoo movement, both plays are timely and gripping.

Just like the character Pixie in Essay, New Vintage director Elana Bizovie is very passionate about her “passion” project.

“Having the opportunity to work with a team from the area really opens your eyes to the level of dedication and skill that we have here in the Okanagan. I (also) think supporting work by Canadian playwrights is important, especially women playwrights.

"Actually, the entire production team is made up of women, and we're telling women's stories - I think it's an important time for us as communities to be supporting that!”

The mystery element of the Mystery Theatre project is a result of necessity. 

Faced with a shortage of venues for September, New Vintage sought out proposals back in March from company members who had an idea for a self-produced show that would allow them to challenge themselves artistically in a non-traditional venue.

The details of the venue are kept secret and fully revealed once tickets are purchased.

The first two of New Vintage’s mystery plays took place at Big White earlier this year, and upcoming shows by Bonnie Gratz and CJ Wilkins will also be found at different surprising venues around Kelowna.

But first you must check out The Russian Play and Essay. You will not want to miss these two compelling plays by a stand out team of artists. That is no mystery.

P.S. Bring a friend or two.

Tickets for New Vintage Theatre’s plays The Russian Play and Essay by Hannah Moscovitch are available at www.selectyourtickets.com or Prospera Place ticket office. Text 778-214-1456 to find out more details about this event.

Starry, starry nights

I proudly launched New Vintage Theatre’s sixth season on Family Day weekend.

The event was a thrilling affair.

After announcing playwright Kendra Hesketh as the winner of The Black Cat 10 Minute Play competition, we danced and cleaned The Black Box Theatre until the wee hours of the morning.

So it is very appropriate that our coming season is called Starry Nights.

Theatre of the night will be themed throughout the 2018/9 season as we delve into all genres from politics to dating/love to confronting angels and demons-both real and imagined-all at night. 

New this year is also a very fun secret theatre series where audiences will be sent to secret locations to see innovative pop up theatre.

So drum roll, please. This is our line up:

The Debaters-Live! — March 23, at Kelowna Community Theatre

Steve Patterson brings his blend of quiz show and funny to Kelowna. Featuring Evany Rosen (Baronness Von Sketch Show, Hotel Transylvania) and Juno nominee for Comedy Album of the Year, Ivan Decker.

Kelowna Fan Experience — March 23-25 in The Downtown Arts District

Three days of pop culture festival fun in four downtown arts district locations. So much to see you need to check out our website. Tickets at www.selectyourtickets.com

Secret Theatre — Two Innovative Plays in Unexpected Locations

  • The Russian Play & Essay by Hannah Moscovitch. Directed by Elana Bizovie — Sept.13-15
    Moscovitch is a Canadian playwright who has been dubbed "an indie sensation" by Toronto Life Magazine and "the wunderkind of Canadian theatre" by CBC Radio. Stay tuned for further secret announcements.
  • Swipe Right. Written and Directed by C.J. Wilkins — Nov.1-3
    Better than Netflix and chill, Swipe Right is a playful, interactive exploration of the fun, fantasy and fiction of online dating. From hookups to soulmates, our app-based world has something for everyone, but will they match? Bring your smartphone to Swipe Right and help our singles to find friendship, lust or love. *Status Update: It's Complicated*

The Birds — Two One Act Mystery Plays In Rep, Oct. 17-21 at The Black Box Theatre

  • Mockingbird Close by Trevor Schmidt
    Part post-modern fairy tale, part mystery. A couple follows the breadcrumbs of their son’s disappearance to every house in Mockingbird Close and find more than just clues.
  • Blackbird — the Broadway hit play by David Harrower
    Fifteen years later a woman confronts her abuser in this award-winning, tragic story of reconnection and loss. Recently featured Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels in an explosive Broadway production.

In One Night  — a new play by Bonnie Gratz, Nov. 22-30, at The Hothouse Theatre, RCA

Two ex-lovers thrown together by chance revisit what life would have been like if they had stayed together. Featuring casts with emerging, mature and senior actors, this touching play ith an unforgettable twist is a world premiere.

A Charlie Brown Christmas — by Charles Schultz, Dec 6-16 at Rotary Centre For The Arts

The classic with iconic music and those adorable characters, directed by Danny Tagle. A Christmas tradition, live on stage.

The Black Cat Cabaret & 10 Minute Play Festival, Feb.8-9, 2019 at The Black Box Theatre

Four original 10-minute plays, comedy scenes and songs; all cabaret. Featuring over 30 artists from our season, this is a real company favourite.

Little Shop of Horrors — May 16-26, 2019 at Rotary Centre For The Arts

A total eclipse of the sun unleashes a horticultural horror story that is part 50s musical and all kitsch. Directed by Danny Tagle.

Whew! That is it! So come and light up the night with us and grab your tickets for an upcoming show.

Details on the shows for the season, our soap opera, night party and Starry Nights season passes are available on www.newvintage.ca or the New Vintage Facebook site.

Tickets are available at www.selectyourtickets.com or www.rotarycentreforthearts.com

New Vintage is a proud member of PACT — The Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.


Happy new theatre year

Stacee Jaxx is one hot New Year’s Baby. 

Typically, January is a quiet month for theatre companies as we rest and recover after busy Christmas production seasons, but at New Vintage Theatre, we have been working on the very cool remount of the musical Rock of Ages.

We first did Rock of Ages back in April and it was a crazy rock star run where we sold out shows and set RCA records for ticket sales. The crowds, the singing, the dancing-it was all very fun and we all decided we wanted to do it again.

So we are:

  • Jan.5-7
  • Jan.10-13

I promise Rock of Ages, featuring songs by Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Foreigner, is going to heat up Kelowna from this holiday cold snap.

You do not want to miss this opportunity to see Julie Masi (The Parachute Club), Jimmy “Legs” LeGuilloux, Mike Jervis, Aaron Anderson and my incredible co-director, Danny Tagle, on keys tear up the stage with my cast/crew of over 25 pros rock Mary Irwin.

I can’t think of a better way to start 2018.

Rock of Ages by Christopher D’Arienzo runs Jan.5-7 and Jan. 10-13 at 7 p.m., The Rotary Centre For The Arts. Tickets are available from www.rotarycentreforthearts.com or The Rotary Centre For The Arts Box Office. 

Other New Vintage Theatre events coming up are equally as exciting:

The Black Cat Cabaret and 10 Minute Play Festival Feb.10-11. Dress in black, red or your sauciest black cat for this annual 10 Minute Play event, which launches our upcoming season.

Plays by Natasha Daley, Kendra Hesketh, George Johnson and Teagan Scott Kirk will be performed and one will be announced as the winner of this annual festival.

There will be a silent auction, raffle for gorgeous sparkling jewelry and more. Tickets are $25 and are at www.selectyourtickets.com.

KFX 2018 & The Debaters-Live! — March 23-25

Tickets are now on sale for our expanded festival celebrating five years of pop culture. Kicking off with CBC’s hit show, The Debaters-Live! and featuring film screenings, animation, artists, panels, workshops and more throughout the downtown core we are thrilled to invite you to join us for the Kelowna Fan Experience.

Tickets come as three-day passes or single day tickets and are available at www.selectyourtickets.com.

So much to look forward to in 2018. Mark your new calendars now.

Happy New Year.

More Bonnie on Stage articles

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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