Why the fuss about Michael Healey’s PROUD?

Michael Healey’s Proud was born amongst controversy. In fact, one could say this is one play where there has been as much drama on-stage as there has off. Healey is a Toronto writer had been playwright in residence at Tarragon Theatre for 11 years, in which time he had written plays such as the internationally acclaimed The Drawer Boy (the  fourth most-produced play in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century). However, in 2012 Tarragon announced it would not be producing the last installation in his trilogy of Canadian works,  Proud, after a board member expressed concerns that it could be deemed libelous to the Prime Minister (the theatre never made an official statement on this). Healey resigned from Tarragon and a debate ensued about self-censorship, government funding for arts organizations, and whether the play was indeed libelous. The play subsequently had public readings by outraged theatre artists across the country, including here in Vancouver.

Proud has since been produced three times – once by Healey himself, who starred as the PM in the Toronto production, once in Ottawa and most recently in Victoria at the Belfry Theatre. The Firehall’s Vancouver production will be the fourth. So far it has attracted rather more plaudits than lawsuits. Kelly Nestruck from the Globe & Mail called it ‘provocative and hilarious’ and the Toronto Star critic declared it ‘will make you proud of Canadian theatre’.

Healey had the play looked over by lawyers who determined it was not libelous – it qualified as fair comment and was clearly satire. The play has made clear by all the fuss it has caused how relevant this brilliant piece of satire is to Canada today and how art can be used to generate powerful discussion about political issues. In the best traditions of Shaw, this highly entertaining comedy, which has been called  ‘a Pygmalion for the political age’ (National Post), explores loyalty, gender and ambition in Canadian politics. Definitely well worth seeing what all the fuss is about!

PROUD runs April 5 – 26 at the Firehall. Catch half price previews for just $15 April 5 – 8! You can get tickets online or by phone (604-689-0926). Read more.


Proud_image website

Mark Leiren-Young’s article on the Proud controversy

American Theatre Magazine interview with Michael Healey

Kelly Nestruck’s Globe & Mail review

Robert Cushman’s National Post review


Porno Death Cult is a hit!

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg’s new solo show had its world premiere earlier this week. If you haven’t seen Porno Death Cult, you have just TWO more chances – Fri March 7, 8pm & Sat March 8, 8pm.

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. Image - Clancy Dennehy.
Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. Image – Clancy Dennehy.

“Tara is absolutely a comedian” – Beyond YVR

“Channeling the seductive androgyny of Jared Leto on Oscar night …. It is Friendenberg’s uncanny ability to combine the ecstatic and the banal into such moments of collective transformation that makes me a believer.” Performance, Place & Politics

“Porno Death Cult is an opportunity to see one of Vancouver’s top dancers perform in a piece of dance theatre that is funny, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking all at once.”  – VanPresents

“we highly recommend getting down to the Firehall Arts Centre to engage with Tara’s intelligent, humourous insight into many religions rolled into one” – Vancouverscape.com

“Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg applies her darkly comic dance-theatre hybrid to a new solo that looks at spirituality, middle age, yoga culture, and more.” Georgia Straight preview

“The exciting Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg dances at the altar of faith and aging in the world premiere of her Porno Death Cult, where Christ meets mid-life crisis.” The Globe & Mail

Click here to read more or buy tickets.