Comic Graham Clark is $25,000 richer. The Vancouver stand-up won the third annual Great Canadian Laugh Off on Sunday night.
Although he had some fierce competition among semifinalists Stephen Patterson, Jon Steinberg, Aaron Berg and runner-up Rob Pue, among others, Clark won over the judges and crowd with his likeable persona and sharp take on 20-something slacker life.
His set concluded brilliantly with an extended bit about his drinking binges, where he recounted the activities of “drunk Graham” and “sober Graham” and explained something called a “pickle split sandwich.”
We’re saddened by the recent loss of Equity Showcase Theatre, which contributed to the theatre community’s skills and the public’s entertainment for more than four decades.
Actors gained from working with such talented instructors as Rosemary Dunsmore and David Smukler, but most of us were more aware of the performance side of Showcase.
Though the group ended its season of artist-initiated productions a number of years ago, some of those shows have stayed in our memory: a production of Marlowe’s Edward II with Brent Carver and a pre-Will And Grace Eric McCormack; director Robin Phillips’s starry production of Semmelweis, Mother Courage, starring Michele George, who also helmed a fine Marat/Sade; director Peter Hinton’s striking version of The Witch Of Edmonton.
Showcase also collaborated with George Brown Theatre, giving graduating students a chance to work with senior performers in front of a large audience in its pre-Young Centre days.
Highlights? Road, The Bewitched and Sunday In The Park With George.
Most recently, Equity Showcase assisted developmental, exploratory workshops by talented people in the indie community. We saw Goblin Market (later a full production), Ted Hughes’s Oedipus, Sam Shepard’s Action and a staged version of the first book of Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum.
Last weekend we would have caught director Autumn Smith’s version of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, but the plug was pulled. Too bad.
You won’t find a more articulate or passionate commentator on the Canadian performing arts scene than Tony Nardi, who wrote and performed Two Letters, a pair of dramatic epistles about, among other things, cultural stereotypes, artistic drive and the importance of art in our society.
He concludes his Letters trilogy with …And Counting!, a look at the present state of theatre, culture and funding. Part of the motivation for writing it? The desperate attempt to find financial backing for last spring’s theatrical presentation of Two Letters, which went on to be nominated for a Dora Award for outstanding new play.
…And Counting! explores the Canadian habit of seeing culture as a societal extra rather than a central element in our lives and satirizes those who see the funding of culture to be someone else’s responsibility.
It plays at different venues over the next month and, like the two previous works, each performance concludes with an audience discussion about the topics Nardi tackles.