Category Archives: Events and scenes

Festival’s diversity focus unites writers

Victoria Writers Festival

At Oak Bay United Church

Nov. 6-8

Reviewed by Senica Maltese

If you were to pass me on the street, you would see a white, middle-class, straight woman. You would not be wrong to see me this way, but it isn’t the whole story.

This year, the third annual Victoria Writers Festival gathered writers from a variety of literary backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations and genders to tackle ideas around diversity and unity.

As Victoria Youth Poet Laureate Morgan Purvis stated in the first reading on Nov. 6, “the only thing that ends in death is the illusion of our separateness.” Though many of the events and readings focused on the unique pain caused by this separateness, and the labels that inevitably arise as a result, I think the closing line of Purvis’s stunning spoken-word poem remained relevant throughout the entirety of the festival.

The opening event on Nov. 8, a multi-generation panel on queer women’s writing entitled The Queer Sentence, was one of the first all-queer events to appear in a mainstream festival. The panel, which was hosted by early queer activist, editor and critic Chris Fox, included Betsy Warland, Leah Horlick, Arleen Pare, Jane Byers, and Alie Blythe. Each of these writers shared portions of their most recent works before engaging the audience in a supportive and open discussion on queer literature, history and the complexity of labelling oneself and labelling others.

Though the panel seemed to agree that having access to an umbrella term like “queer” is useful, Betsy Warland’s designation, “a person of between,” is the most inclusive and accurate definition that I have heard. Warland concluded the event, declaring, “There is no straight line.”

The lack of a straight line reappeared in this year’s Carol Shields Lecture, which also dealt with the complexities of separateness, but from an indigenous point of view. The lecture, entitled “Islands of Decolonial Love: Exploring Love on Occupied Land” was presented by Leanne Simpson (pictured above), a Nishnaabeg storyteller and activist.

Simpson’s presentation, told in four timeless Nishnaabeg stories, explored the impact of colonialism on the lands and bodies of First Nations peoples and fearlessly delved into the ways that colonialism has damaged their intimacy and caused generations of shame in indigenous communities.

According to Simpson, storytelling spurs the creation of what she calls “islands of decolonial love”; however, she clearly stated that story telling is only the first step in the long and labyrinthine path to indigenous resurgence.

Though complex in its implications, Simpson regarded her ability to give her lecture in a branch of the United Church, which was responsible for much of the pain in Simpson’s cultural history, as a tremendous success.

Darrell Dennis’s reading, which appeared in “The World Before Us” gala, also addressed the damage caused by colonial occupation on First Nation’s land, but from a place of searing wit. Reading from his newest book, Peace Pipe Dreams: The Truth and Lies About Indians, Dennis deconstructed some of the common misunderstandings and stereotypes pushed onto indigenous individuals.

As a person who is easily slotted into the mainstream, I am acutely aware of my privileged position in Canada, and in the world. The pain and historical weight behind these presentations allowed me access into worlds where I do not often feel openly welcomed. Without a doubt, the third annual Victoria Writer’s Festival has encouraged me to rethink and reread history, literature, the body and the self. I would call it a tremendous success.

Senica Maltese is a writing and English literature undergrad at UVic. 

Add Pen-in-Hand reading series to your calendar

Pen-in-Hand Poetry and Prose Reading Series

Featured Readers (Sept. 15): John Barton, with Chris Gudgeon, Lukas Bhandar, and Yusuf Saadi

Next reading: Oct. 20

Reviewed by Julian Gunn

The Pen-in-Hand Poetry/Prose Reading Series takes place on the third Monday of every month at the Serious Coffee in Cook Street Village. September’s lineup featured celebrated local poet John Barton, whose most recent collection, Polari, was released by Goose Lane Editions this spring. Reading with Barton (pictured) were Chris Gudgeon, multi-faceted author of the novel Song of Kosovo and nonfiction book The Naked Truth: The Untold Story of Sex in Canada, among many other works; Lukas Bhandar, whose essay “I Love My Hair, I Hate My Hair” is published in Issue 4 of Plenitude; and Yusuf Saadi, whose poem “Spacetime” appears in the recent “Speed” issue of Vallum.

At the playful instigation of Chris Gudgeon, the four scheduled readers performed in two short rounds – something like a literary debate, though without acrimony. As part of a series engaging historical Canadian homophobia, Gudgeon read “Fruit Machine,” about a grotesque real-life device once used in an attempt to weed out homosexuals from the Canadian civil service.

Yusuf Saadi, an MA student at UVic, told the audience that he had just arrived in town a month ago and was impressed with Victoria’s famously walkable proportions. His poems, often tightly bound by a single metaphor, spun metaphysical and astronomical images into meditations on distance and duration. His lines, in poems like “Spacetime,” were laden with rich verbal elaborations. Interested readers can also find his poem “Breaking Fast” in PRISM’s Summer 2014 issue.

To my ear, John Barton’s experiments with traditional form have brought a new playful tone to the poems of Polari. “Shirtsleeve Weather,” written in heroic couplets, showcased this recent interest. Speaking about the five-stanza glosa “Closing the Gate of Sorrow,” Barton explained that the glosa began with a quatrain from another poet’s work, then used the following stanzas to elaborate on the quatrain, each stanza finishing with a borrowed line. Barton chose a section from Stephen Mitchell’s translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh.

Lukas Bhandar, reading fourth, gave us an excerpt from his Plenitude essay, a personal and critical reflection about body hair, ethnicity, and, as Plenitude points out, “the racism of gay beauty standards.” In a vivid and intimate anecdote, he recounted the laborious process of attempting to shave his legs – and the sensation of waking up the next day. A journalism student at UVic, Bhandar is an intern at the Malahat Review. Readers may also have caught his performance at Pride and the Word 2013.

After a short break, the writers returned for a second round. Unfortunately, the coffee shop had to close precisely at nine o’clock, so that instead of a second act, their return became a coda. Each author read only one more poem or section of prose. Gudgeon made the most of his time, reading out “Canadian Tourister”, a caustic incantation of warped Canadiana – hypnotic, profane, and provocative. Bhandar’s essay was least well served by the cutoff, and several audience members called out their disappointment when he had to stop short. Hopefully, they were all driven to finish the essay in Plenitude.

I encourage readers and poets to attend the Oct. 20 Pen-in-Hand reading. The organizers, particularly host Amy Ainbinder, create an informal and welcoming environment.

Rifflandia: Death Cab for Cutie worth the 17-year wait

Day 3 of Rifflandia 2014,

Royal Athletic Park,

Reviewed by Chris Ho

The hot sun beat down as swarms of  people waited in a massive line that  veered down Cook Street. Luckily, I  wasn’t wearing my banana-suit costume  like the brave men in front of me, but part  of me wished I had. I already felt carefree  energy in the air. Royal Athletic Park was  decked out with two stages, one on either end, and a plethora of vendors and activity tents.

As I walked through the entrance, a giant banner popped out from above: Rifflandia. To my left were black wooden Artlandia panels and a big main stage. To the right, aisles of local vendors led the way to the side stage tent, fast-food trucks, and then, of course, to beer and cider taps.

I was impressed by the musical choices: indie rock, dubstep, Celtic dance-pop, 70s influenced pop-punk and hip-hop. I hadn’t encountered anything like the fiddle-infused dance-pop that is Kytami: the high-energy fiddler hardly missed a beat, even as she danced around, stirring up the crowd, her arms and fingers moving furiously to the notes.

While the main stage sound quality and setup was successful, I had a love-hate relationship with the Rifftop Tent side stage. Everyone appreciated the much-needed shade of the big tent, but unfortunately the sound was muddy trapped under the tent roof. In the end, I put it out of my mind while listening to the Dum Dum Girls.

An all female line-up, the Dum Dum Girls had one guy fill in on lead guitar. He too had awesome long hair and matched the well-coordinated black outfits of the trendy rock trio. The initial impression I had from their video Bedroom Eyes was that they overplayed the gorgeous girls with guitars shtick. But their live performance was more about heartfelt lyrics backed up by Blondie-inspired harmonies and dream-pop guitar licks.

Even though it’s predictable to say so, the highlight of day three was the headlining act, Death Cab For Cutie. As I first discovered at the group’s Pacific Coliseum performance in 2009, there is something special about a band that has played the music it loves for almost two decades. Their on-stage chemistry and energy was infectious. The crowd roared with excitement after the opening song as Ben Gibbard (lead vocals) announced this was their first show in Victoria since the band formed in 1997.

“Wow, they’re old,” I heard a young woman say.

She sounded disappointed. But to me, that was incredibly exciting: the last time Death Cab performed in Victoria, they were just starting out. Seventeen years later they’re back, an international success, still flawlessly performing some of the very first songs they wrote.

After the encore, Ben Gibbard gave a heartfelt thanks to the multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the band, Chris Walla, who had just played his last show with the band. It was a moment to remember. The drums built up and crashed on the closing note of Marching Bands Of Manhattan and the band put aside their instruments for a group hug. A flurry of camera phones reached up to capture the occasion.

We finally made our way to the exit lights with huge smiles, plastic beer cups crunching underfoot.

Chris Ho is a Victoria musician and writer.

Brick Books poetry launch explores underground themes

April 29, 2014

Open Space, 510 Fort St, Victoria, B.C.

Review by Julian Gunn 

There was smoke in the streets of downtown Victoria the night of the Brick Books launch. A derelict garage a few blocks over had caught fire in the afternoon. Poets and their fans drifted towards Open Space through a hazy sunset, carrying in the smell of charred wood on their clothes. It seemed curiously appropriate, since the work we heard that Tuesday night concerned the uneasy meetings of human desires and natural forces.

Sparking off their cross-Canada tour in Victoria, the four poets of Brick Books’ Spring Collection – Victoria’s Arleen Paré and Karen Enns, Whitehorse’s Joanna Lilley, and Jane Munro, formerly of Vancouver Island and now a Vancouver resident – read to a packed house that included a strong showing of Victoria’s poetic community. Brick Books General Manager Kitty Lewis was the enthusiastic host.

“You’ve got your whole spring lineup touring together,” I’d pointed out to Lewis over coffee the day before. “Was that hard to organize?”

She smiled conspiratorially. “No, but we made it work. I told them: you need the nucleus of an audience. So as long as there were two of the four that knew some people in the city, I booked a reading.” Lewis explained that Victoria is the first stop of a tour that culminates in Fredericton, New Brunswick. This is the largest reading tour Brick Books has ever put together. And by Brick Books, in this case I mean Kitty Lewis, since after more than 20 years she still administers the whole show out of her spare bedroom. Founders Don McKay and Stan Dragland provide Brick’s artistic direction. The editors choose and edit manuscripts. The production team ensures that each book is a carefully constructed artifact. Kitty Lewis keeps it all running, and beautiful books of poetry continue to be printed and offered to readers across Canada. Sitting there in the audience, I felt lucky.

Lewis lined up the authors in reverse order of experience. Joanna Lilley began her reading from The Fleece Era by telling the audience that this was a night of firsts for her: her first book, first reading in Victoria, first time touring with the little band of poets. Lilley was born in England but lives in the Yukon. Inspired by the art around us, she spoke about living in the Yukon as a settler, a British immigrant, a vegetarian who ponders the ethics of eating only shipped-in food, and a woman who is childless by choice. Many of her poems traversed the difficult emotional territory of intimate relationships through the twinning of geographical and emotional isolation. She read “Scientist,” about a painful disconnect between partners enacted while skiing: “How is it I’m lost / yet you’re not, although / we’re on the same blank trail.”

Karen Enns began her reading from Ordinary Hours softly, but she built a quiet vocal drama. I noticed an intriguing accumulation of negations and cancellations in the poems she read, a kind of loss by definition. In “Muse,” the titular being “comes with nothing in her hands,” and is both “almost imagined” and “almost real.” Again and again Enns points to things needed, longed for, or disavowed by naming their absence. Enns’ first book, That Other Beauty, draws from her childhood in a southern Ontario Mennonite community, and these memories are also part of the poems she read from Ordinary Hours. In “For F.,” from her moving series “William Street Elegies,” a phrase as simple as “no more / and no less” reverberates with all of the other constraints the poet had precisely delineated.

Arleen Paré’s new collection isn’t in our eager hands yet, but she is a subtly compelling reader with an academic’s attention to detail and an old friend’s quiet humour. Lake of Two Mountains, which Brick calls “a hymn to a beloved lake, a praise poem in forty-five parts, a contemplation of landscape and memory.” “Call and Response,” read meditatively, evoked the dynamic relationships of place: “The Canadian Shield calls to the fault // the fault, tectonic, / replies with the Ottawa River.” Paré’s ecopoetics of the lake include the Oka crisis, the lakeside monastery (now closed), and the child who passionately internalized the place. In “How Own a Lake,” she gently interrogates that joyful claiming, asking whether the child can own “the reservation… completely unknown.”

Drawing together the evening’s underground themes, Jane Munro connected the intimate personal loss of a partner’s dementia to the cultural memory loss that allows environmental ruin. Blue Sonoma is a poet’s witness, by turns sorrowful, wondering, angry: “Don’t tempt me, old man. / Today I have four arms / and weapons in each hand,” she read. These lines come from the particularly fine sequence “Old Man Vacanas,” which arranges stark and humorous images around the centres of love, ecology, and human fate: “Language, travel, art? Props / in a little, local theatre of light.” Yet Munro is also concerned with the irreducibility of things. Her epigraph from the Upanishads reads, in part: “When fullness is taken from fullness, / Fullness still remains.”

After the readings, Victoria writer Sara Cassidy joined the poets for a friendly Q&A. A good interviewer not only brings questions but offers insights, creating a dynamic environment where  new ideas can arise. “Did it feel dangerous to write about caring for someone with dementia?” she asked Munro. “It felt necessary.” Munro answered. “Your book is full of silence,” Cassidy pointed out to Enns, “and also full of blooms.”

Throughout the smoky, slightly off-kilter night, bursts of seagull cries would suddenly punctuate the poems. They seemed to be insisting on speaking alongside the human voices. “This event came about because Karen Enns and Arlene Paré are from Victoria,” Kitty Lewis told me.  “Jane Munro lived in Sooke for years. That all made it possible.” Lewis said that the poets themselves brought the event together, even arranging the excellent refreshments. The audience enjoyed the usual wine and veggies, but also sushi and miniature cupcakes (I had two).

If you missed the reading, don’t despair. You can’t have a cupcake, but you can still hear the poets read on the Brick Books podcast, available through iTunes and YouTube.


Jane Munro’s collection Blue Sonoma is reviewed here [].

The Publisher

Brick Books:

Youtube Channel:

The Poets

Joanna Lilley:

Jane Munro:

Arleen Paré:

Karen Enns:

The Interviewer

Sara Cassidy:

 Julian Gunn is a Victoria essayist and poet.  


Isobel Trigger not to be missed

Reviewed by Blake Jacob

Isobel Trigger’s April 3rd, 2014 show at the Strathcona Clubhouse was a high-caliber performance. The group’s polished act is characterized by ethereal vocals, heavy rhythm, energy and gorgeous melody. Isobel Trigger undoubtedly belongs in a large performance hall and deserves much recognition.

The set began with “Champion,” showing off the band’s expertise and synchronization. Isobel Trigger is comprised of Felicia Harding (vocals, guitar and synth), Brett Faulkner (guitar), Kyle Lowther (bass) and Ariel Tseng (drums).  Harding’s vocals are impossible to ignore.  With a lilting, impressive range reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, Harding’s style is silvery and enchanting.  Harding is a captivating performer and knows how to engage the audience while maintaining her professional demeanor. Tseng’s skill is particularly apparent in the energy of “Nightmares” and in “Sugar Cube,” keeping a strong beat and a hypnotizing rhythm. The audience nodded and danced with abandon.

The band performed a cover medley of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”  Though the covers were flawlessly executed, they paled in comparison to the band’s original work.

The star piece of the night was the band’s single, “Dust and Bones,” an addictive track that juxtaposed powerful crescendo with sweet vocals. The song has recently received frequent airplay on The Zone 91.3, during Isobel Trigger’s title as the station’s Band of the Month. The track has definite potential to top national alt rock/pop charts.

“The song is about those formative experiences you had when listening to certain songs for the first time,” Harding says.  “[It’s about] the magic you felt, and how listening to them now can transport you back to that time, place and feeling.”

The band has several exciting upcoming events, including: Rock The Royal on May 24th, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal and McPherson theatres.  The event will feature several well-established local acts and pay tribute to 90s greats. Look for Isobel Trigger at Tall Tree Festival on the last weekend in June, and at July 26th at Lucky Bar for the release of their EP Nocturnal.

Isobel Trigger is unique: they have been likened to No Doubt and Florence and the Machine, probably due to their experimental style. Their skill and sound is too large to be contained on a small stage.  It will be a pleasure to see the band play the Royal Theatre and other locations deserving of their talent.

Rock The Royal tickets/info

Tall Tree Music Festival

Zone Band of the Month: Isobel Trigger

Blake Jacob is a Vancouver Island writer and composer.

Canadians, playwrights minority at AWP

By Joy Fisher

Undaunted by winter weather, a small contingent of intrepid writers from Victoria boarded the Clipper for its morning run to Seattle recently to attend the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference.

Joined by a smattering of Canadian writers who rolled in from Vancouver and flew in from points east, the Victoria group claimed their space among some 12,000 other writers, most from the United States, who attended the three-day conference.

The number of panel discussions devoted to playwriting were also in the minority at the conference–just three out of more than 500 offered. The dismal status of playwriting was reflected in the title of one of the three: “Playwriting: the Bastard Child of Literature?”

The two minorities came together memorably, however, in a panel entitled “Playwriting in the Pacific Northwest: A Specialized Craft in a Unique Region.”

Moderated by Bryan Wade, associate professor of dramatic writing at the University of British Columbia, panel members considered whether playwrights from the Pacific Northwest on both sides of the border had more in common with each other than they did with their compatriots to the east.

Joining Wade were two Canadian playwrights, Kevin Kerr and C.E. Gatchalian; Oregon-based playwright Andrea Stolowitz; and native Alaskan playwright, Cathy Rexford. Each examined the disadvantages and advantages of playwrights situated at a distance from the theatre centres of their respective countries.

One disadvantage was what Kerr characterized as a “battle against theatrical loneliness.” He recounted a conversation in which a Toronto colleague happened to mention that he had always thought of Vancouver as a “cultural backwater.” At that moment Kerr realized “we are on our own.”

Perhaps because of this isolation, west-coast playwrights have, in recent decades, pioneered theatre companies in which members collaborate on the writing of plays. Kerr, an associate professor in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria, co-founded the Electric Company Theatre in Vancouver and has worked to bring collaborative companies together for conferences to share their respective processes.

Gatchalian called this collaborative model the “Vancouver esthetic” and distinguished it from what he termed the “Toronto esthetic” which he described as the “text-based” model of the individual playwright working alone on a script. Gatchalian also noted the comparatively “financially precarious” position of the Vancouver theatre scene, which he attributed, in part, to the fact that theatre-going is not as ingrained in the population because it must compete with easy access to a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Stolowitz acknowledged the relative financial insecurity of working in places that are not theatre capitols, but argued that the trade-off is “a certain freedom to dream.” She is a member of Playwrights West, a new professional theatre company in Portland focused on presenting top-level productions of its members’ work. Playwrights West produces work for local audiences and Stolowitz says her writing is often inspired by “place.” “But there are no rules—I can do what I want,” she said.

Rexford, the most geographically isolated of all the playwrights on the panel, had perhaps the most defined mission. Following completion of an MFA in playwriting at UBC, she returned to work in the Alaska Arctic, where she labours to adapt traditional stories and revitalize the native language of the Inupiat people through performance theatre and native dances. “It’s the narratives of the people that connect Alaska natives involved in theatre,” she said.

Joy Fisher graduated with a BFA in writing from the University of Victoria. She is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada.





From Penguins to Paintings: CNF Night in Canada

By Liz Snell

It’s not often that invasive ivy, clumsy penguins, and cheap reproductions of famous paintings get to hang out together. At “CNF Night in Canada”, a precursor to WordsThaw, The Malahat Review’s annual literary symposium, the three non-fiction readers (Malea Acker, Jay Ruzesky, and Madeline Sonik) respectively covered each topic.

In the basement Russell’s Vintage, light glinted off the gold spines of old books around the little stage below the staircase. Malea Acker read from her book “Gardens Aflame”, which is about Vancouver Island’s endangered Garry oak ecosystem. Her hands gestured gracefully and frequently as she read about removing invasive species from Trial Island, an ecological reserve just off Victoria that is home to many rare species of flora. Full of specific plant names, Acker’s writing evoked the particularity of the windswept island environment.

Jay Ruzesky read from his book “In Antarctica: An Amundsun Pilgrimage”, which recounts his journey to Antarctica to follow in the footsteps of explorer Roald Amundsun, Ruzesky’s distant relative. He read an excerpt about asking for a bank loan to finance his expedition; the audience laughed as he recounted the employee’s incredulous response: “There’s no candid camera here?”

In an excerpt from the Antarctic expedition, Ruzesky captured the humour of penguins “clean as scrubbed potatoes” and their endearing awkwardness: “I think we love them like we do because of their imperfections.”

The penguin passage also touched on how serious discussions around the environment can often become, and how penguins are a kind of relief from that. “There’s something about humour that’s its own kind of reverence,” he read, which seems an apt description of his reading as well.

Madeline Sonik shared an essay about her childhood, when her father became obsessed with buying reproductions of masterworks from a local gas station. He gave his children a bogus education on the paintings’ significance, encouraging them to speak with “great pretension and confidence” about art, regardless of their knowledge. Sonik demonstrated a deft hand for capturing her family’s antics and kept the audience laughing.

An open Q & A period followed the readings. In response to a question about how the authors see themselves situated in the Canadian lit scene, Ruzesky commented on the difficulty of keeping up with the constantly emerging talented authors. The three authors’ general consensus was that the literary community has been very supportive of their work, despite, according to Acker, “some fractiousness and disagreement, which is a healthy part of a growing community.” That support seemed apparent in the packed room. Though Canadian literary events probably won’t be filling stadiums with towel-swinging fans any time soon, “CNF Night in Canada” proved our writers (and readers) still have their sticks on the ice.

Cabaret: Alive and Well in Victoria


Book by Joe Masteroff; music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb

Directed by Roger Carr

Langham Court Theatre


January 15-February 1

 Reviewed by Joy Fisher

 Some plays grow stale over time while others retain their vitality, sparkling with relevance decades after their first production. Cabaret falls into the latter category.

Opening on Broadway in 1966, Cabaret was one of two plays inspired by Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, based on the author’s life in Berlin between 1930 and 1933. The other play, I Am a Camera, written by John Van Druten, preceded Cabaret by 15 years, and, while I Am a Camera was not without critical acclaim, its success was severely curtailed by the acerbic commentary of New York Herald Tribune critic Walter Kerr. Kerr summed up his opinion with these words: “Me no Leica.” The play closed after 214 performances.

The original production of Cabaret, on the other hand, ran 1,165 performances. Furthermore, Cabaret has been revived every decade since, and its 1998 Broadway revival ran 2,377 performances, becoming the third longest-running revival in Broadway musical theatre history.

Why the difference? Kerr once wrote a book called How Not to Write a Play in which he asserted that plays will always be more successful if they are highly entertaining. He argued that entertainment can be at once enjoyable and artistically sophisticated.

The current Langham Court production, based on the 1998 Broadway revival, is both. While acknowledging the gay theme with a kiss between the main character, Cliff Bradshaw, played by Griffin Lea, and one of the Kit Kat nightclub’s “boys,” director Carr has chosen to emphasize the political theme inherent in the years of Hitler’s rise to power. It was an astute choice, for, while stories of gay history are quite rightly in vogue in these days of gay liberation, the theme of political oppression whispers daily in the ears of all of us.

In this charged atmosphere, the main story of the ill-fated romance between Cliff and Sally Bowles, played by Chelsea Kutyn, pales in comparison with that between Fraulein Schneider, touchingly acted by Susie Mullen, and Jewish fruit vendor Herr Schulz, played, heart in hand, by Alf Small. Cliff and Sally, after all, are expatriates, free to leave whenever they want, while Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schulz have no such free choice: they must act out their doomed affair in the land of their birth.

The starkness of their situation is highlighted by the song and dance number “If You Could See Her,” in which the Emcee of the Kit-Kat Club, admirably played by Kyle Kushner, dances with a partner in a gorilla suit pleading for the right to love the person of his choice.  “If you could see her as I do,” he sings, “she wouldn’t look Jewish at all.”

Kushner is in large part the reason this shocking narrative is entertaining. Projecting a guileless exterior, he nevertheless effectively conveys an inner knowledge of the evil of the world. When, at the end of the play, he rips away his cabaret costume to reveal himself in the striped uniform of a concentration camp prisoner, only the audience is startled.

It’s not surprising that the entire run of this production of Cabaret is sold old. If you are unable to slip into one of the remaining performances by hanging around the lobby begging, as I did with puppy dog eyes, for an unclaimed ticket, don’t despair. Another Broadway revival is scheduled for 2014.

Joy Fisher graduated from UVic in 2013 with a BFA in writing. She is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada. 










David A. Jaffe’s Music at Open Space

Lafayette String Quartet, Andrew Schloss, Scott Macinnes, Trimpin, and guests present: the Music of David A. Jaffe

8 p.m., November 8, 2013 

Open Space

admission $15 general/$10 students, seniors, members 

Related event: 

November 9, 8 p.m. Uvic Faculty Concert Series: Guitarworks. Alexander Dunn with David A. Jaffe and guests. Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, University of Victoria