Hysteria – Broad-WHAT? Reviews Blog

Please note that this production includes discussion and depiction of sexual violence. If you are affected by the issues in tonight’s performance, VictimLinkBC is a toll-free, confidential, multilingual telephone service available across British Columbia 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-563-0808

Ryan: We were lucky to see a piece of HYSTERIA in last years Fringe For All. Seeing the team of Hysteria work so closely together to incorporate contemporary concerns and issues with a nostalgic and relatable piece of media was instantly gratifying and enticing. Their choice of vignette for Fringe For All 2018 was the perfect preview for Fringes-goers. This expert craftsmanship was echoed throughout the 2019 production of Hysteria by the Direct Theatre Collective. The incredible display of human emotion was extremely appreciated as an audience member.

Natalie: It was a privilege to get to spend 80 minutes exploring the discourse of consent and survivor narratives. The strong ensemble of cast members in this production was complemented by impressive and meticulous direction brought by former ensemble members Lauren Martin (she/her) and Ariel Martz-Oberlander (she/her). It was clear that the co-direction welcomed and facilitated a seamless transition into the 2019 production, which welcomed three new voices to Hysteria’s raw narrative and clever call-outs.

The wit and intelligence of the creative team was consistent and clear through the main plot, while featuring personal stories contributed by the cast. As you’re brought into an eerie multi-media reflection of what could come from our foray into technology and conversations about consent, there are very few moments that ostracise the audience from the action on stage. Again, hats off to all involved in the delicate assembly of hard-hitting content, comedy, music, and media with the intimate Havana stage. Hysteria explores our current socio-political climate in a futuristic (but not far-off) technological landscape, where consent is exchanged and monitored through an app. The assimilation of familiar platforms, such as online dating and virtual assistants, was extremely well thought out and utilized throughout the performances. Where voiceovers can sometimes seem out of place and unnecessary, the interactions in Hysteria were welcome and flattering.

R: The emotional arc that Jill Raymond (she/her) went through was gut wrenching and vulnerable, and her strong storytelling at the forefront was a success. Furthermore, Florence Reiher’s (she/her) comedic rhetoric was duly timed and thought provoking. Her musical talents (she contributed some music and lyrics herself) gave the audience time to reflect and process the humour and open the gates to further conversation.

Hysteria gives you the incredible opportunity to sit down and ask yourself where you stand as an ally. As a queer man myself, I’ve had many conversations with my female identifying friends and felt anger at not being able to fix the present norm. To quote the show, “anger is not a productive emotion”. They’re right, it’s not. Upon reflection, as a cis man, it’s my job to stand up and ask my fellow men to buy a ticket and continue the conversation.

N: I truly appreciated each and every moment of this piece. It was a modern Vagina Monologues x Black Mirror. The time, energy, and vulnerability poured into Hysteria by every artist is evident in every story, vignette, and musical interlude. I found myself rolling my eyes in agreeance, shooting my eyebrows up in empathy, and laughing at the relatability playing out before me. As a cis gendered woman, the exploration of consent within relationships was particularly relatable. On more than one occasion, I was nodding in agreeance and identifying times in my life where either identical if not similar situations had unfolded. I applaud the efforts and vulnerability of the cast, crew, and creators to assemble these narratives, and ignite the discourse surrounding them. This conversation needs to continue, and I am grateful to this production for doing so in such a perfectly crafted way. Anyone who missed the 2018 version needs to see the 2019, and those who haven’t seen the show at all, get there, be there, and join the conversation.

R: Every person, of every gender identifying category needs to head down to the Havana theatre and see Hysteria. This thought provoking piece of art had something for everyone. It was powerful, insightful and raw. The story telling done by the five powerful humans in the small intimate black box theatre was ultimately the selling feature of the piece.

You can catch hysteria at the Havana Theatre which runs for one more week at 8pm. Follow Direct Theatre Collective on social media to purchase your ticket, or follow the links below:

Hysteria Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2188526761440001/
Direct link to tickets: https://www.showpass.com/s/events/all/hysteria/?dates=Any+Date&fbclid=IwAR1j4QGfAz92dYZmCjlZTtWEmBIMVeDXbGUFmiuNUZKywPiylh7jLB2-PTI


Alice In Glitterland – Broad-WHAT? Reviews Blog

In a city full of mainstream Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, I found myself at the Wise Hall in Vancouver with my friends, strapping on a mask and awaiting our entry to the unknown.

Down the rabbit hole we did go. 

We found ourselves entering the world of Alice in Wonderland in the interactive theatre extravaganza Alice in Glitterland put on by the fan favourite Geekenders performing troupe. Right from the top, you were slapped in the face with excitement, jazz, sex and debauchery as the Red Queen played by Isabella Halladay (she/her) entered and proclaimed “Welcome To Glitterland!”. By the end of the first number you can already tell that this was going to be a night of theatre that you’ll never forget. From the scenic design (Ariel Slack), which included a full sized ball pit, to the incredible choice of music (which I assume that director Fairlith Harvey (she/her) had a strong hand in compiling together), you got to throw away your worries and let the night take you away. 

Most people that have seen the world famous Sleep No More in New York City would assume that Glitterland was modeled after that, and though there are some similarities, this was truly like nothing I have ever seen before. The innovative role of “Drink Me” played by Karina Dar Juan (she/her) was the first scene I stumbled into and her impressive acro and pole skills sold me right away. 

Before I get into more of the incredible performances I witnessed, I have to give kudos to the true star of the show – the lighting designer Keagan Elrick. The lighting was sexy, moody and really gave a clear narrative to the different scenes going on.

With more than 10 hours of content and 90+ scenes, there was something for everyone, even for those who were not originally familiar with the tale written by Lewis Carroll in 1865. I was lucky enough to catch Shara Turner (they/them) as the White Queen whose emotional journey was raw, down to earth, and wrought with pain. Halladay as the Red Queen was another show stealer, as her relationship with every cast member shined through with her impressive acting chops and ‘Mother Earth’ like moments. 

To be honest, the whole thing was incredibly casted – kudos to Harvey on that front. There was much diversity in the choices, but it goes without saying that these were the right people for their roles, bar none. Reilly Ellis (he/they) as the Cheshire Cat and Jordan Svenkeson (they/them) both had strong acting journeys. Two newer faces that I’ve hadn’t had much chance to see before, I was impressed by their severe animalistic attack on their roles, which was juxtaposed by their deeply human emotions towards Alice. 

And of course, I can’t write this review without speaking about Lyndsey Britten (she/her). I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lyndsey for quite a while, and never have I seen her in more of a breathtaking role. She studied as a dancer before breaking through the theatre world, and I’ve seen her do many incredible performances on stage but this one takes the cake. Her naive approach, along with her natural sex appeal, beautiful lines, and strong story telling really lead the show to a victory. Britten is a leading lady, and anyone that was lucky enough to snag a ticket was seeing a star being born.

Harvey, and the Geekenders cast of Alice in Glitterland really did hit it out of the park with this one. With an impressive count of 15 choreographers, and a production team longer than this review it’s impossible to name everyone. As a fellow artist and creator, I say bravo!

I’ll end with this: every actor that was able to be whisked away into Glitterland is now going home to look up when Geekenders next auditions will be, and I’ll be first in line.

Ryan Nuñez

Photo by Zemekiss Photography