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STORY

Charged with running the understudy rehearsal for Franz Kafka's undiscovered masterpiece in its Broadway premiere, Roxanne finds her professional and personal life colliding when Harry, a journeyman actor and her ex-fiancé, is cast as the understudy to Jake, a mid-tier action star yearning for legitimacy. As Harry and Jake find their common ground, Roxanne tries to navigate the rehearsal with a stoned lightboard operator, an omnipresent intercom system, the producers threatening to shutter the show and her own careening feelings about both actors and her past. Will the show go on??



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PLAYWRIGHT

Theresa Rebeck is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. A widely produced playwright throughout the United States and abroad, her plays include Bernhardt/Hamlet, What We're Up Against, Dead Accounts, Seminar, Mauritius, Loose Knit, Spike Heels, Abstract Expression, and Sunday on the Rocks. In television, she has written for numerous shows including NYPD Blue, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, and Third Watch. She was the creator of the NBC drama Smash. Theresa’s awards include the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, the Peabody Award, and the National Theatre Conference Award.

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DIRECTOR' MEL TUCK’S NOTES

Existentialism is a body of ethical thought current in the 20th century centering on the uniqueness and isolation of individual experience in a universe indifferent, or even hostile to man. It denotes the inexplicable nature of human existence and emphasizes man’s freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of his acts. Alienation is defined as a state of estrangement between the self and the objective world, or between different parts of the personality. There are actors that have substantial careers because they are attractive, and then there are actors who have chameleon-like skill at hiding themselves within the role they are playing. Both have their place and purpose. The battle between art and business is forever being played out before our very eyes. There are many arguments for art as opposed to business. We artists believe in the value of entertainment and intelligent growth for ourselves and our public. We are exploring polarities and the implications of internal versus external thoughts. How we are affected by our conditioning and how that manifests in our social lives and activities. In the theatre as in movies & TV one prime issue has taken precedence. Money. Money is a defining and deciding factor in avenues of artistic endeavor. What is the best possible way to make a play, movie or TV show successful. The sad reality is usually money takes precedence. And often funny means money. This is a very funny play.

CAST

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MICHAEL GERMANT as Harry

Michael has a degree in languages from Concordia University and has studied at Acting Studio Montreal, UBC, VFS, Michael Howard Studios, and Austin-Tuck Studios. He has won several Best Actor Awards for the independent short Caught In the Spokes. This is his seventh play for Island Productions.


DREW HENDERSON as Jake

Drew was born and raised on Vancouver Island and graduated from the Victoria Academy of Dramatic Arts.  Since moving to Vancouver he has booked roles on film and television projects and is very excited to switch gears and work on this show.  He is a regular at Mel Tuck’s Master Class and feels honored to be directed by Mel for the first time.


SARAH BOES as Roxanne

Sarah graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Since then has performed in over 50 plays in Canada and the United States. She has appeared in Queer is Folk, The Eleventh Hour and a number of independent films. She is very excited to be working with a terrific ensemble cast in The Understudy.


PHOTOS

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CREW

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Director Mel Tuck

Director Mel Tuck is a highly regarded pioneer of Canadian theatre, a director of international reputation and an innovator in acting training technique and philosophy. In a career spanning over fifty-five years, Mel founded nine theatre companies and has directed over three hundred plays across Canada. He headed the drama department at Ryerson University for thirteen years, the acting program at Banff and originated and ran the Gastown Actors Studio conservatory for twelve years. Mel holds a BFA from the University of Alberta and has been recognized in the form of three ACTRA nominations. Mel teaches Advanced Scene Study at Austin-Tuck Studios on Powell Street in Gastown

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Choreographer Sharon Bell

Sharon Bell’s dance career has spanned over thirty years and three continents. She acquired her certification as a Royal Academy of Dance teacher and has created over 100 dance performances for Children’s Music Festivals. She has spent decades working as a choreographer. Sharon is also an actor, having studied with Jo Bernard in Las Vegas while fulfilling a two-year contract as a dancer in “Bravo Vegas”, a hit show on the strip


Producer Mariya Miloshevych

Mariya Miloshevych is an Ukrainian up-and-coming filmmaker. This is her first time producing a play but she has produced and directed 5 short films in the past few years. Her short film “The Hallway” has  won Best Short Film in Nice. “ Tangerine Crossandra” is was selected as a finalist at Roma Cinema Doc Festival. Her writing debut “Caligo” was a Semi-Finalist at Los Angeles Cine Fest Festival.  She runs a local Vancouver production company called Ridley Cinematography.

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Photographer Jayme Cowley

Jayme Cowley  is a filmmaker and photographer with 10 years of experience in visual storytelling. He currently heads Jayme Cowley Media Co, a full-service video production agency based in Vancouver, BC. Jayme has worked with hundreds of clients throughout BC, such as VSO, TWU, Jelly Marketing, and Zoomin.TV. Photography remains an important part of his creative palette and he has worked as a photographer with Island Productions dating back to 2014.

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Publicist Damon Jang

Damon Jang is a freelance performer, publicist and theatre instructor. He holds a Bachelors of Performing Arts Diploma in Musical Theatre from Capilano University. Damon is a member of the Association of BC Drama Educators and the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.

Stage Manager Jessica Hong Joo Kim

Jessica Kim is a third year English Literature and Creative Writing student at the University of British Columbia. Her recent productions include Stage Management for Rushed Production's "Albireo: A New Musical" and writing a one-act play, "Class is Cancelled", for the UBC Players Club's Annual Festival Dionysia. "The Understudy" is her Island Productions debut.

REVIEWS OF ISLAND PRODUCTIONS’ PREVIOUS SHOWS

Mel Tuck’s production [of Gruesome Playground Injuries] finds new emotional depth in a script that sometimes sacrifices character for quirkiness. These two damaged, profoundly connected characters provide each other’s balm and — you hope — salvation in a sweet, funny, tender, neurotic and very sad love story. The acting is very fine.

— Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Sun
Director Mel Austin-Tuck deserves a lot of credit for this praiseworthy production [of The Glass Menagerie]. The handling of the sensitive candlelit scene between the gentleman caller and the fragile Laura was strangely moving, allowing Michael Germant and Gina Leon the opportunity to expand their character’s nuances.
— John Jane, Vancouver Presents
Gina Leon balances Donna’s frailty of a woman in love with the quick-wit and harsh truths she presents to her motley family [in The Dreamer Examines his Pillow]. Germant’s languid movements and quiet monotone reflect an internal emptiness the character is trying to fill. It’s a very strong performance. […] It’s a powerful, melancholy script presented by a strong cast. Plays like this that ake you appreciate the vibrancy and creativity of our independent theatre community.
— Zoe Grams, Vancouver Presents
This nicely understated production [of The Glass Menagerie] directed by Mel Austin-Tuck lets you hear all its grace notes. [...] Gina Leon makes those moments really count when Laura literally can’t stand to attend typing class or answer the door for her gentleman caller. Her scene with that character, played with quiet confidence by Michael Germant, is genuinely charming.
— Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Plays
[Seminar’s] final dialogue between Leonard and Martin, allowed both actors to shine. Michael Germant provided a layered version of Martin. He shifted from an angry victim who demands his money back to an artist in search of a mentor.
— Michael Groberman, The Jewish Independent

FACTOIDS

The play explore themes of existentialism, alienation, and the ongoing battle of art vs. business.

It is a lot about yearning and disappointment [...] everybody in this play is yearning for something.
— Theresa Rebeck
These characters search for meaning, how they see themselves and how they wish to be seen.”
— Director Mel Tuck
I think there are a lot of people in America who have so much money they have no reality. I think that money has become very peculiar in our culture
— Theresa Rebeck
Rebeck whips up a quintessentially Kafkaesque brew in the play within the play, [...] of “The Trial” and “The Castle.” She then lets that enigmatic reality — thick with paranoia, judgment, guilt, fear, identity confusion, shame, anxiety and isolation — spill over into the main action.
— Variety
...deliver[s] a clever indictment of contemporary theatre while making the characters’ personal circumstances ever more Kafkaesque: They are no more in control of the forces of celebrity, art, money, and Broadway than they are of their own fates.
— The New Yorker
[Theresa Rebeck] has a great way of finding the human depth in characters.
— Mark Paul Gosselaar
Over an eventful day of rehearsals, Rebeck adroitly switches the upper hand within the trio as insecurities are revealed.
— Variety  


CALENDAR INFORMATION


WHAT

The Understudy — A funny, clever and poignant take on show business. What do you do when your past catches up to you and demands retribution? Sarah Boes, Michael Germant, and Drew Henderson star in this witty and humanistic comedy about people trying to do what they love in the face of obstacles.


WHO

Written by Pulitzer Prize Finalist Theresa Rebeck

Directed by Mel Tuck

Starring Sarah Boes, Michael Germant and Drew Henderson

Produced by Island Productions


WHEN

August 1st -10th, 2019

Opening Night: August 1st, 2019 at 8 p.m.


Performances

August 1st 8:00 p.m. – Opening Night

August 2nd 8:00 p.m.

August 3rd 8:00 p.m.

August 8th 8:00 p.m. – Half-Price

August 9th 8:00 p.m.

August 10th 8:00 p.m. – Closing Night


WHERE

PAL Studio Theatre

581 Cardero St, Vancouver, BC, V6G 3L3



TICKETS

General Admission $20

Seniors & Students $10

August 8th Half-Price $10

Understudy.brownpapertickets.com


CONTACT / MEDIA CONTACT

Mariya Miloshevych, Producer 647-996-7379 or miloshevychm@gmail.com

Damon Jang, Publicist 778-998-2384 or damon.jang85@gmail.com