Vintage play a new way

Unicorns are unique, magical, sparkly. They also symbolize the Pride movement for a whole generation who have established themselves as both unique individuals and a mighty group force for advocacy. 

While there will not be Pride events as originally planned in Kelowna next week due to COVID-19, we will still be proceeding with our Pride-themed play, The Pink Unicorn on June 3-5. Like unicorns, the performance will be in a unique location and in an entirely new format for us. This is both thrilling and terrifying, and definitely an adrenalin rush.

What is our new format? After the pandemic hit all of society with a gigantic wallop, we – like other performing arts companies across the world – had to reassess our season offerings. This spring and summer seemed almost entirely lost, but The Pink Unicorn still appeared to be possible. Perhaps we could perform the one-actor play in my backyard? With an iPhone? We sought the necessary agreement from the brilliant playwright Elise Forier Edie who first asked if we wanted our money back and then readily agreed to having the play performance filmed. 

Our next step was a happy coincidence and meeting of minds. While meeting with the Okanagan Society for Independent Filmmakers (OSIF) president James Alton, I mentioned that we had this project coming up and we mutually wondered if it might be possible that we work together to film the piece. After seeing a steady stream of unstable live-streamed performances from people's bedrooms we agreed a filmed, edited performance would truly do this amazing play justice.

Over the last six weeks that is what we have done. First, we rehearsed over Zoom with actress Kendra Hesketh and my stage manager Julian Smith, here from the National Theatre School. Then we met in our studio and outside, socially distanced. In the last week we met on set in a farm in Joe Rich that was simply heavenly. Then Noah Dorsey, James Alton and Aidan Lane filmed the performance. Spoiler alert: a hummingbird makes a guest appearance in our one person show.

Little can upstage Kendra Hesketh, however, and we hope audiences will join us and watch her online at 7 p.m. on June 3, 4 and 5. After the show we will be having a talk back with this incredible talent, our creative team and special guests like award-winning trans actor Hollis Oorbeek, a rising star in their own right.

It is not the way we expected to be showing this play to audiences, but there have been some happy results of going online – some of our patrons are from as far afield as Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, Vancouver and Toronto.

In the words of John Lennon, sometimes "life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans." These from Lennon's Beautiful Boy relates to this play's content and to our arts community as we try to find our way in these challenging times. When you can find the unicorns, hummingbirds or better yet new friends and collaborators you celebrate them. 

This is what we hope to do with The Pink Unicorn and we hope you will join us.

Get your tickets, $10, at [email protected] or on our website at newvintage.ca. Once you buy your tickets you will receive a link to the show and the Zoom talk back the morning of the show day you pick.  

See you online!

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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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