SFU School for the Contemporary Arts’ production of The Bald Soprano takes place in modern-day Vancouver

Cast member Howard Dai discusses the November mainstage production

The cast: (L to R): Erica Regehr (musician), Logan Rhys Hallwas, Garvin Chan. Maria Yanagisawa, Hilary Leung, Eve Middleton-Meyer, and Howard Dai. (Photo courtesy of Tianmeng Li)

By: Edna Batengas

SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) has an upcoming mainstage theatre production of The Bald Soprano. It was originally written in the ’50s by playwright Eugène Ionesco as a French, Absurdist farce. The SCA has adapted it into a satire taking place in Vancouver in 2017. The show is directed by Emelia Symington Fedy, a renowned director in Vancouver, and has a cast and crew made up of SFU students. The Peak sat down with Howard Dai, a cast member of the show, to discuss it.

     Howard explained that for this production the program thought it would be cool to adapt the setting of the play to modern-day Vancouver. The characters are, as he says, “Vancouver lower-middle class,” portraying themselves as middle class. The play pokes fun at these characters who don’t want to share that they are struggling. Howard described the original story of the play as being very English, and very specific to the British middle class. It was meant as a satire about that class, but looking at it today in Vancouver, there are a lot of parallels between the characters in the play and Vancouverites, as he sees it.

     When asked what his favourite thing about the play was, Howard said it was the rehearsals. He had a lot of fun in every rehearsal because there was always laughter and it was very hard to keep a straight face. He also found learning about the play to be very engrossing. For Howard, each rehearsal was an opportunity to find new meaning in the text. All the production’s cast members are SFU students in the Contemporary Arts program ranging from 21–22 years old. Though the text does not have any specific references to students, the idea of the play is quite universal. At first glance it may look like “pure nonsense”, but it has a deep-rooted socio-political meaning noted Howard. Also, in the original production, the characters were parents, but now it has been adapted for a younger cast. The characters are all struggling to live with one another in the play, but regardless of your social class or age, it’s easy to relate to them.

     The Bald Soprano will be shown in Studio D at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 West Hastings Street). There will be a preview of the play on November 1, before the regular performances begin (November 2–4 and November 7–11). Admission is $7 for students, $10 for SFU staff, faculty, and seniors, and $15 for general admission.

Tickets are available at Eventbrite.

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