[Phoenix-eNews] UVic Phoenix Theatre: Backstage PASS eNews | February 2008

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Phoenix Theatre: BackstagePASS
	February 2008 . Act 1 Scene 3 
  	  	  	 
              	

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      eNews: Phoenix BackstagePASS

Welcome to a new year and to the second half of the Phoenix Theatre's 
2007/08 season. This semester our students shine, taking leading roles 
in the directing and design of our spring shows. MFA directing candidate 
Ewan McLaren presents the premiere of */Lionel: The Miracle Man/*, 
designed completely by theatre students.

Enjoy this issue of BackstagePASS!


      Behind the Scenes: Sideshow Freaks, Celebrity
      and the Art of the Spectacle

/The Musician by Ivan Puni, 1921 Berlinische Galerie 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/2007-2008/lionel/index.html>/

/W//ith excerpts from The Ringling Brothers' 
<http://www.ringling.com/explore/history/ptbarnum_1.aspx>biography of PT 
Barnum and with thanks to the incredible resources at Side Show World 
<http://www.sideshowworld.com/>./

The art of the spectacle -- for promotional purposes as well as for 
entertainment -- has evolved along an interesting path over the last 
century.

Pan Bouyoucas' play */Lionel: The Miracle Man/* is set during the waning 
heyday of traveling sideshows in the 1920s. Quickly assuming the place 
of sideshow freaks in the public's idea of celebrity was the movie star, 
whose rise to fame mirrored the growth of American cinema. The hero of 
our play, Lionel, traverses a similar path from hometown singer, to 
sideshow freak, to Hollywood man of mystery, to achieve his own fame as 
"The Miracle Man" who grows before your very eyes!
P.T. Barnum in later years 
<http://www.ringling.com/explore/history/ptbarnum_1.aspx>

One of the early purveyors of the spectacle was Phineas Taylor (P.T.) 
Barnum (1810-1891). Now synonymous with the "Greatest Show on Earth", 
Barnum was a master showman and the ultimate promoter. Even modern day 
public relations practitioners attribute him as one of their industry's 
forebears!

He was one of the early proprietors of the "dime museum," exhibiting/ 
"500,000 natural and artificial curiosities from every corner of the 
globe." /These included everything from foreign animals, malformed 
physical abnormalities of nature (like a five legged horse) or even 
mummified human remains from Egypt. Barnum's interest spread from 
artifacts to actual people when he obtained the services of a woman who 
claimed to be 161 years old and the former nurse of George Washington. 
"/Unquestionably the most astonishing and interesting curiosity in the 
world!"/ read one of Barnum's handbills as he earned over $1500 a week 
off those who came to see her. He later hired and promoted Charles 
Stratton, who he transformed into the world-famous General Tom Thumb. 
Tom Thumb became so successful that he had an audience with Queen 
Victoria on three occasions!Barnum's Dime Museum in New York City 
<http://www.ringling.com/explore/history/ptbarnum_1.aspx>

It wasn't until Barnum was 60 years old that he brought the museum and 
acts of oddity together in */P.T. Barnum's Grand Traveling Museum, 
Menagerie, Caravan, and Circus/*. At the time, it was the largest circus 
venture in American history and has since evolved into what is still a 
huge international enterprise under the banner Ringling Brothers and 
Barnum & Bailey's "Greatest Show on Earth."

An essential part of traveling exhibitions in the Victorian period in 
Europe and America -- like Barnum's grand circus -- was the accompanying 
sideshow or freakshow. Appealing to the audience's obsession with the 
bizarre, the foreign and the unknown, sideshows often presented 
excessively short, tall or large people under the guise of midgets, 
giants or the "Fat Lady." Aboriginal peoples from less-traveled southern 
regions of the world were exhibited as "monkey people" or even "The What 
is It?"  Hirsute or bearded attractions encouraged creatively themed 
names, such as Jo Jo the Dog Faced Boy, Leonine the Lion FacedJojo The 
Dog Face Boy <http://www.sideshowworld.com/> Lady, Annie Jones the 
Bearded Lady, or Hairy Mary from Borneo (who in reality was a monkey!). 
The most popular attractions were oddities with extraordinary talents 
who could do supposedly normal things despite their disabilities, like 
the famous "Siamese Twins" Chang and Eng. To ensure the interest and 
attendance of the crowds, the formidable sideshow barker cried out the 
amazing and authentically spectacular nature of these attractions in a 
wholly entertaining presentation outside of the show.

Some of the more popular freaks made their way into vaudeville theatres 
or even the new media of silent films. Movies brought these testaments 
of the absurd to the silver screens and nickelodeons that were popping 
up in towns across America. This is also the case of */Lionel: The 
Miracle Man/* whose extraordinary growth is captured on film to inspire 
millions.

The movie industry mastered the art of the spectacle, creating the world 
of the "Hollywood celebrity". They used tabloids like Variety and The 
Hollywood Reporter which commented on the day-to-day lives of movie 
stars like Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. 
People across North America and the world over followed along with their 
ongoing trials, tribulations and romantic relationships. Valentino, 
known as the "Latin Lover" experienced a meteoric rise to fame as a 
movie star during the silent film era. When he died young at the age of 
31,Rudolph Valentino <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolph_Valentino> an 
estimated 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City to pay their 
respects at his funeral. He was then taken by train across country to 
Beverly Hills where just as many people crowded along the cortege route 
to his final resting place in Hollywood. The event was splashed across 
front pages of mainstream as well as tabloid newspapers, including one 
photo of Valentino in his casket!

The art spectacle had not only found a new medium in the movies, but 
also in print, and over the next 80 years, it would extend to television 
and today's new media of the internet.

 

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      Upcoming Events: Plays, Lectures & more

*Lionel - The Miracle Man: 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/2007-2008/lionel/index.html>* 
/February 14 - 23, 2008
/*by Pan Bouyoucas
*Directed by *Ewan McLaren*
Set Design by* Jennifer Quinn*
Costume Design by *Natasha Sharpe*
Lighting Design by *Nathan Brown*
Music Direction by *Candace Collin*
Sound Design by* Tim Johnston*
Stage Manager *Katt Campbell*

*Can a song in your heart actually make you grow?
*At 4'4 ", Lionel was the world's tiniest tenor. At the age of 18, he 
leaves his mother and his small Quebec parish to join a travelling 
sideshow and eventually finds fame as "The Miracle Man" in 1920's 
Hollywood. On his mission to spread his message, he grows and grows as 
he takes on the love and hope of millions. /Advisory: Some coarse 
language and mature themes./

/Presented by/

/* <http://www.dairyland.ca/>*/

* Festival of Innovative & New Drama
* 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/2007-2008/studio/index.html>*Studio 
Series:* <http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/index.html>/February 
28, 29 & March 1, 2008/
Join us for staged readings of eight new plays written by students in 
the Department of Writing and directed and acted by Theatre students. 
Relax during intermissions in our funky coffee house. Come for one play 
or stay for the entire evening.

*The School For Scandal*:* 
<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/2007-2008/scandal/index.html>/ 
March 13 -- 22, 2008/
*by Richard B. Sheridan
Directed by Fran Gebhard
* Originally set in scandal-ridden London of the 1770s, this classic 
18th-century "comedy of manners" -- replete with devilish wit, 
razor-sharp dialogue and outrageous situations -- is presented in 
current day Hollywood as the perfect commentary on our 
celebrity-obsessed culture where we follow the day-to-day lives of Paris 
Hilton and Britney Spears in tabloids and entertainment shows.

/* "The Unusual Case of Mr. Morton" with Mexican Guest Director Martín 
Zapata has been postponed by the Director because of family reasons./

*March 6:* Box Office Opens <http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/box-office/>

*March 14 at 7:00pm:* *Free Pre-Show Lecture*
With Dr. Gordon Fulton, Associate Professor in the Department of English 
and specialist in 18th century literature.

 

<http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/season/2007-2008/duchess/index.html>
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      Phoenix Phacts: News on Alumni, Faculty, Staff and Students

After nine years of working in costumes for film and television, 
*Kristen Bond* has returned to Victoria to focus on fashion design. Busy 
with her design business, Bond has also lent her expertise to the 
Phoenix's production of /Lionel: The Miracle Man/, helping to construct 
the costumes.

Recent grad *Eva Markvoort*, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, 
successfully underwent a double-lung transplant in October. Eva was last 
seen on the Phoenix stage at Asia in /Tyrants/ in 2006.

*Janna R. Lopez Raven* has made several sound designs for Native Voices 
at the Autry National Centre in California: /Stone Heart: Everyone Loves 
a Journey West* */by Diane Glancy, /The Red Road/ by Arigon Starr and 
/The Berlin Blues/ by Drew Hayden Taylor. All three have had subsequent 
tours in New York and Washington, D.C. and /The Red Road/ also toured 
Australia.

Alumni *Sara Topham* and *Graeme Somerville* returned to Victoria for 
The Belfry Theatre's <http://www.belfry.bc.ca/> /The Turn of the Screw/. 
*Topham* is an acting company member at the Stratford Festival and 
*Somerville* is a member of the acting ensemble at the Shaw Festival. 
Former UVic students *Patrick Du Wors* (set and lighting) and *Erin 
Macklem* (costumes) design the spine-tingling production.

Check out past Phoenix Phacts <http://finearts.uvic.ca/theatre/alumni/> 
on our website.

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      Email Perks:

Check back for perks next month!

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      Sponsor Kudos:

The Phoenix Theatre would like to thank our community sponsors for their 
support of our programs.

*2007/08 Season Community Partner:Cadboro Bay Village 
<http://www.cadborobayvillage.com>
*Cadboro Bay Village Merchants <http://www.cadborobayvillage.com>
Blaney's Travel, Cadboro Bay Book Company 
<http://www.cadborobaybooks.com> Cadboro Bay Village Service, 
Edward Jones 
<http://www.edwardjones.com/cgi/getHTML.cgi?page=/CAN/home/index.html>, 
For Good Measure <http://www.forgoodmeasure.ca>, People's Pharmacy, 
Pepper's Foods, <http://www.peppers-foods.com>Smugglers Cove 
<http://www.smugglerscovepub.com>

*2007/08 Season Ticket Sponsor:* Monk Office Supplies <http://www.monk.ca>


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