Archive for March, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

Posted in Lifesavers on March 28, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre



Celebrating Theatre

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre

It has finally arrived!  World Theatre Day is Upon us and Ruby Slippers is joining in with fellow

Diane Brown* directing Scene 1 of "Life Savers"

Diane Brown* directing Scene 1 of "Life Savers"

artists and audiences worldwide.  Today, we opened the doors of Life Savers to the public to witness how a play makes it from the page to the stage.

It was a small, tight group of participants for an interesting and important rehearsal.  Guests arrived at 11am and were greeting by Diane Brown, director of Life Savers and Artistic Director of Ruby Slippers.  Following this greeting, the artists got down to work.  Colleen Wheeler and Naomi Wright worked along with Diane to develop and advance Scene 1 of Life Savers, a scene at the prison between their characters, two sisters.  One of the sisters has been accused of murder and this is the first visit between the two since the arrest and trial.  It is a hilarious but intense scene and today’s rehearsal helped advance some key moments.

Following rehearsal the guests were invited to chat with Diane about the rehearsal process and the next steps between today and preview, one week from today!

Happy World Theatre Day one and all!

*appearing courtesy of the Canadian Actors Equity Association

Cooking With the Stars!

Posted in Lifesavers with tags , , on March 27, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre
Patti Allan* with Raymonde's Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Patti Allan* with Raymonde's Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Patti Allan (playing Raymonde, the matriarch of the Life Savers family) shares with us the secret to Raymonde’s sought-after home cooking!

Patti Allan’s “Mama Raymonde’s Jelly Roll Meatloaf”

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/3 c. chopped carrot
1/3 c. chopped celery
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. herb seasoned stuffing croutons, crushed
1 (2 oz.) can mushroom stems & pieces, drained

Combine first 5 ingredients and 1 teaspoon salt. Add beef; mix well. On waxed paper pat into a 12″x8″ rectangle. In pan combine carrot, celery and butter. Cook until tender. Stir in croutons, mushrooms and 1/4 cup water. Spoon down center of meat, fold sides of meat over to center, seal seam and ends. Place meat roll, seam side down in baking dish. Cover the entire meatloaf with tomato herbed tomato sauce (whatever herbs you like – oregano, thyme, chives, parsely, etc.) or you could use a barbeque sauce. Bake at 350 for 75 minutes.

Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing jellyroll style.  If you want to go crazy, serve it with extra gravy of some kind or just more of the herbed tomato or bbq sauce.
p.s. – of course you can add any extra herbs that you like to the actual meatloaf itself, including 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, 1/4tsp. sage, 1 tblsp. worschestire sauce.  You can also use fresh mushrooms instead of canned and could add other chopped veg to the filling as well – anything that will provide you with a nice splash of colour!

*appearing courtesy of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association

Your official invite!

Posted in Lifesavers, Uncategorized, world theatre day on March 26, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre

Come one come all and help us celebrate World Theatre Day on Friday, March 27- TOMORROW!!

Life Savers and Ruby Slippers invite you to an open rehearsal to see how a play is staged.  From 11am to 1pm the Life Savers rehearsal is open to the general public to come in a watch what goes on behind the scenes.  The rehearsal room is the small hall at the Playhouse Production Centre at 127 East 2nd Ave (on second between Main and Quebec).  Then at 1pm, feel free to hang around and chat with the director (and whoever else hangs around) about any questions you may have.

See you there!!

Food, Glorious Food!

Posted in Lifesavers, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 26, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre

Jillian Fargey in "The Cat Who Ate Her Husband"

There are very few two-word phrases that instantly bring to mind a flood of memories, both good and bad, warm and terrifying, as “family dinner.”

Because of this, the dinner table has always been a rich source of material for playwrights. Always tricky to stage (how do you let an audience see what’s going on in the centre of a tight square of people?) it nonetheless has made its way into many Ruby Slippers shows over the years. And Ruby Slippers takes it one step further – anyone who saw The Cat Who Ate Her Husband remembers their mouth watering as hamburger hash (it was actually veggie, but who knew?) liberally doused with Lowry’s seasoning salt was fried onstage.   Or the family in The View From Above tucking in to a Sunday dinner of roast human leg!

And with the stories of food onstage, there are always the mishaps. Food cooked too long before the performance gets cold. Canned peas are never exactly gourmet.  Actors eating the same food night after night and having to finish their 9pm dinner in five minutes flat. But the best story I have heard comes from Trout Stanley’s exploding pot roast….

Every night Colleen Wheeler’s character came in with shotgun crazily waving all over the room. The shotgun goes off, plaster explodes, and as the dust settles we realize the pot roast has been shot! Well this tricky maneuver was invented by the Technical Director and was made up of a “good” pot roast attached to one side of a counter panel, and the “exploded” one on the other side. Timed perfectly with a sound cue and powder-explosion special effect, the counter panel would flip and by the time the dust settled, the good roast had been replaced by the exploded one. Except on one night a malfunction led this perfectly-timed symphony to be replaced by three solos – sound effect……pot roast flip……..plaster flying.  The audience watched each element in succession, totally spoiling the magical effect.  But that’s the beauty of live theatre – the actors made a joke, the audience laughed along with them, and the show went on!

Ruby Slippers newest offering, Life Savers, is no different in the food department. Meatloaf, pineapple upside down cake, ham sandwich – it is a veritable feast! And who knows what excitement might come of it? You will have to check it out for yourself. It is live theatre, after all….

Coming soon…actor Patti Allan (who plays Raymonde, the matriarch of “Life Savers”)’s personal meatlof recipe!

Diane Brown on why you should come see Life Savers

Posted in Lifesavers with tags , on March 19, 2009 by Rebecca Coleman

20 years and beyond!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 16, 2009 by rubyslipperstheatre

About a year after moving to Vancouver an educated but discouraged young theatre practitioner, I ended up at a performance of Ruby Slippers’ The Cat Who Ate Her Husband. I remember clearly thinking, “Shit. Theatre is fun. Who knew?! And sexy. And clever. And these artists are good.” I haven’t missed a Ruby Slippers Theatre production since then and, as a result, that same phrase has popped into my head over and over again. So while I haven’t been around to witness all twenty of Ruby Slippers Theatre’s years of surpassing expectations, I am lapping up the experience of witnessing where those twenty years have brought them.

So how did Ruby Slippers get here? How does an independent theatre company that started on the Fringe circuit in 1989 survive twenty years, with ever-expanding success, producing a huge list of successful productions that embody courage, heart, and brains? I thought it best to ask the woman who’s been there since the beginning, Artistic Director Diane Brown:

1. What was the situation that led to the birth of Ruby Slippers 20 years ago?

20 years ago, in 1989, the independent or alternative theatre scene was a wasteland here in Vancouver. We set out to create/produce the kind of theatre that spoke to us. In the spirit of ‘do-it-yourself’ (learn 3 chords and start your own band, as the punks used to say) we started our own company. Ruby Slippers Theatre actually started as a collective of young female artists from various disciplines. It evolved into a theatre company and we eventually incorporated in 1992.

2. What do you see as Ruby Slippers place in Vancouver theatre today?

Ruby Slippers Theatre has helped pave the way for the vibrant indy scene we see today in Vancouver. We continue to contribute to our community socially relevant theatre that is both entertaining and thought provoking, and to mentor and inspire younger artists.

3. What highlights stand out in your memory in the last 20 years of Ruby Slippers?

Helping to pioneer site-specific theatre in Vancouver with our Brecht in the Park series that ran from 1994 – 2001; bringing so much rich and resonant work from the Quebec theatrical canon to the west coast (the upcoming Life Savers by Quebeçois bad boy Serge Boucher, The Rehearsal, The Queens, The Winners, Down Dangerous Passes Road, The Leisure Society); having the courage to commission new Canadian works from relatively unknown artists, and the courage to produce so many premiere productions (The Cat Who Ate Her Husband, The Winners, Down Dangerous Passes Road.)

4. Looking back, what events made the largest impact on what Ruby Slippers has become?

Getting Canada Council operating funding changed the way the company operated, and thus how it’s artistic director operated. This modest but steady investment allowed us to create an infrastructure, leverage other public and private investments for the company, hire staff, make plans for the future. It allowed me to focus more on the job of artistic director and director of shows rather than splitting my time and energy with working at a bowling alley or bartending to subsidize the company, which I did for years and years and years.

5. Where is Ruby Slippers heading in the future?

We are expanding our programming (three shows next year in addition to our Femmes Fatales weekend). We are also looking to expand upon our current community outreach and mentorship initiatives through our Artist in Residency program, open rehearsals, workshops, talkbacks with artists, and free performances. We hope to create more opportunities for the community to interact with the work Ruby Slippers does.


I wonder where Ruby Slippers might be twenty years from now – the possibilities are inspiring. And wherever it lands, I will most definitely be in the audience to witness it.