As a new federal election nears, we are delighted to bring last season’s runaway hit, PROUD, back for another term due to popular demand. This witty and intelligent satire had audiences rolling in the aisles and critics chuckling over their notebooks at Andrew Wheeler’s hilariously deadpan Prime Minister and Emmelia Gordon’s sassy MP. It was even featured on the cover of the Georgia Straight! To give you a sense of what’s in store, here’s what people have been saying about this hit comedy.
“Comic gold… brimming with gags … it’s a real pleasure to be able to laugh at Canadian politics in the theatre.” – Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight
Andrew Wheeler “nails the PM’s deadpan demeanour and shows his comedic chops in Healey’s particularly funny speech about the things he secretly doesn’t care about.” – Vancouver Presents
“clever & funny… buried in all the Rick Mercer-style lampooning, there’s some truth… A WINNER” – Jo Ledingham / Vancouver Courier
‘A big part of the fun is watching Andrew Wheeler channel the character referred to only as “the Prime Minister,”’ – Jerry Wasserman, The Province
“fierce and funny” – VancityBuzz
“Stephen Harper = Comedy magic? Who knew!?” – Fun Fun Vancouver
“Emmelia Gordon is wickedly funny” – Beyond YVR
“Mr. Wheeler owns the role of Prime Minister. ” Vancouverscape
PROUD runs April 7 – 25 at the Firehall Arts Centre, with a half price preview April 7, 8pm. Click here for more information.
Michael Healey’s Proudwas 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.
Proudhas 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.