Breaking away from the mainstream isn’t new for Caravan Farm Theatre. Located on an 80-acre working farm just outside of Armstrong, B.C., Caravan Farm Theatre is known for building its own unique niche in the performing arts.
Forget about stuffy theatres and heavy velvet curtains. Here, the audience sit on the bleachers in the open and the land itself is the stage. Each act takes place on a horse-drawn wagon. A band of musicians playing live deliver the play’s musical score.
In a setting that deviates from traditional theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre is also breaking from the mould in its latest production, Everyone.
Unlike most plays, each act in the play was written by a different theatre company.
“It’s a slightly unorthodox project,” said Estelle Shook, Caravan Farm Theatre’s artistic director. “Rather than just having one playwright write the play, we commissioned six companies each to take on a chapter. We took five separate collaboration works with these companies and out of this, we created an actual narrative story, like a real play. Each chapter is created by a different company so you get a different aesthetic, you get a different style of writing but it’s all telling the same story.”
This is Shook’s last project as Caravan’s artistic director. Regular Caravan performer Courtenay Dobbie will take over.
To create this musical comedy, the artists stayed for a few weeks in the farm to write and rehearse their parts in this collaborative experiment.
“We’ve been working on it for two years,” said Shook.
Everyone revolves around the story of an ordinary family’s journey as they grapple with moral issues and find their own route to heaven.
The father, played by Paul Braunstein, is a workaholic who’s practically glued to his cellphone and often falls short of his duties as a father and husband. The mother (Deborah Williams) tackles the most poignant part of the play as a daughter unable to care for her aging father (David Peterson) who has Alzheimer’s. Their teenage daughter (Evelyn Chew) and prepubescent son (Kyle Cameron) also have troubles of their own. Sally is both delighted and overwhelmed with the novelty and consequences of sex, while her brother William deals with peer pressure and chooses between his caterpillar best friend Ralphie and technological gadgets that promise to liberate him from being a social outcast.
Vice (Martin Julien) and Virtue (Courtenay Dobbie) are the play’s charming and witty angel and demon that guide, coax, tempt and admonish the other characters. Brace yourself for hilarious performances with Virtue dressed up as Lady Gaga and Vice as the host of the grim game show Killing Konundrum.
So will the family find their way to heaven? You’ll have to watch the show to find out. Pack a picnic, head out for a drive to the country and catch this one-of-a-kind performance. Get there early to find the best spot. Shows are performed nightly at 7:30 p.m. except Mondays. Group discounts and pay-what-you-can-Tuesdays are available.
Tickets are available at www.caravanfarmtheatre.com or phone Ticket Seller at 1-866-311-1011.