Ideas and Images from our Arts Club production

The Waiting Room

We have been trying to think how many shows we have done at the Granville Island stage. Not including shows that Morris acted in, which is several, eight productions going as far back as the 80s (with Comedy of Errors). Its not always an easy space to design for as the house is quite open and the stage can feel distant, but its location and its history keep us wanting to come back, and with the right show it can actually feel intimate and right, like this one, which has enough production elements to reach out into the space, like, for instance John Mann and his music.

Our collaboration with John Mann dates as far back as any of us care to remember. Together we have done kids shows, adult shows, music videos, and had our share of laughs and struggles, but Johns current struggle tops them all. The Waiting Room is about Johns journey with cancer, but now he faces an even greater one with Alzheimers.

Below, left to right, Chris Cochrane, Jonathon Young, and Jillian Fargey, and corresponding costumes sketches, courtesy of Ken and his ipad. Ken now renders sketches from online photographs, giving his subjects a looking that is both unmistakably theirs and unmistakably his. Below, right, the company gather to celebrate John Manns birthday with a Pavlova cake, courtesy of Peter Cathie White, executive director of the Arts Club, and an awesome chef, as it turns out.

Left, actors Peter Anderson, Bonnie Panych and Matreya Scarrwener, and Kens costumes sketches for each. although Bonnie and Peter, along with Chris, play multiple characters in the show, and spend about half their time just changing from one character to another, a very busy track for all of them. Matreya plays a nearly ten year old who has died of Leukemia but not quite left the planet. A truly ethereal being played by a truly heavenly young actress. Below, different arrangements of chairs for different scenes in the show, most of which fly in and remain suspended throughout the scenes

Its all about the chairs. Riffing on this main theme, Ken went a little crazy. Originally we asked for more than 200 chairs but quickly realized we couldnt use that many. Lower right, the actors in rehearsal navigate the waiting room

Left, lots more chairs, but under Gerald King lights they begin to take on a life of their own. Right, Jonathon and Morris pose with waxen child. And lower right, the entire company of The Waiting Room, builders, actors, singers, operators, stage managers, choreographers, players, dreamers, tramps and thieves, pose for photo just before opening night. Below, John and Morris pause from rehearsal to talk about things they remember and dont. Friendships never die, they dont even fade, they only become deeper and more meaningful with time. The best of our life will be remembered through friendship and togetherness.