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Electric Theatre's Initiation Trilogy immerses audience in a poetic adventure

Photo of Colleen Wheeler, Emma Lindsay and Wendy Morrow Donaldson by Michael Julian Berz

With their last production winning six Jessie Richardson awards and selling out before it even opened, consider Electric Company Theatre’s Initiation Trilogy another innovative theatre must-see.

Presented with the 25th Vancouver Writers Fest and Boca del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series, this three-part experiential and physical journey runs from October 15 to 28 in secret locations around Granville Island.

Directed by Anita Rochon and written by Marita Dachsel, Initiation Trilogy is based on provocative poetry collections by Jennica Harper (What It Feels Like for a Girl), Elizabeth Bachinsky (God of Missed Connections) and Marita Dachsel (Glossolalia). Themes of femininity, sexuality and cultural identity ground the work in contemporary concerns.

What It Feels Like for a Girl explores two girls’ sexual awakening through their adolescent years and the complexities of their intimate friendship. God of Missed Connections takes a wry look at cultural identity, beauty in death and the dance between cynicism and spiritual curiosity. Glossolalia slips inside the hearts of six forgotten women—six of Joseph Smith’s 34 wives—exposing their secret thoughts and desires.

“These three pieces examine the characters at pivotal moments of change. The poems capture the feeling of jumping off of a cliff, of those free fall moments of life. These poems tinker with and explode that moment", said Rochon, explaining the appeal of the text.

Rochon, acting graduate of Studio 58 and a graduate of the National Theatre School Directing program, is a recipient of the 2011 Ray Michal Prize for outstanding body of work by an emerging director. She has also received the 2010 Siminovitch Protégé Prize with co-artistic director Emelia Symington Fedy. Rochon and Fedy run Chop Theatre, a company dedicated to live, vital and intimate connections with the audience.

“I think that an immersive, integrated and expanded experience between audience and performer is relevant to making theatre now”, shared Rochon. “I still love to sit back in my seat and watch a well made play though.”

The process started a year ago with Rochon, Electric Company artistic director Kevin Kerr, a co-creator alongside playwright Marita Dachsel and Electric Company’s resident designer Naomi Sider.

"We spent  a number of weeks brainstorming ideas and asking the questions: how can the audience experience this material and how can we make it come alive, so it’s appropriate? In the three experiences, we want the audience to walk into the piece instead of sitting and observing," said Rochon.

The three different pieces feature some of Vancouver’s most engaging performers: Wendy Morrow Donaldson, Emma Lindsay, Jennifer Paterson, Haig Sutherland, and Colleen Wheeler. Animated with France Perras, Quelemia Sparrow, and Adrienne Wong. 

Each of Initiation Trilogy’s short theatrical installations features multi-sensory surprises from the likes of Pam Johnson and Naomi Sider (scenography), Cande Andrade (projection), Jonathan Ryder (lighting), Owen Belton (sound) and Natalie LeFebvre Gnam (choreography).

Avoid disappointment by booking ahead—Electric Company's last run in Vancouver sold out before the first performance.

Initiation Trilogy runs October 15 to 28
Tuesday to Saturday at 7 p.m. (Friday to Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.)

Tickets $26 with a $2 discount for Writers Fest members. 
Discount preview Monday, October 15 for $16 in advance or pay-what-you-can at the door. 

Check-in at the Anderson Street Space (1405 Anderson Street, Granville Island). Very limited capacity.

Book at, by phone at 604-629-VTIX or in person at the Granville Island Stage box office next to the Public Market.

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