• Production image


AUGUST 2017 | Volume 158


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  Production Poster

by Gerald Williams
Tomo Suru Players
Vancouver Fringe Festival
Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Dr.
Sept. 7-16

No Big Deal
at the Fringe 2017


The Story
Three characters, a young woman, her boyfriend, and the man who allegedly sexually assaulted her on transit, tell their version of the events through a series of interwoven monologues.

While on her way to an audition, a young woman is groped by a guy on the bus. When her boyfriend comes home and the woman tells him what happened and he brushes it off as “no big deal”.

Initially, the woman agrees with her boyfriend, but as she strives to go on with her life she finds she can’t get the hand, the bus or the guy out of her head.

Throughout the course of the play the woman struggles to articulate her experience. The Boyfriend and Perpetrator never leave her side, both men vying for the chance to persuade the audience to see the events through their eyes.

No Big Deal explores themes of consent, assault, and education. Because, as the boyfriend says, “no one teaches us how to deal with this.”

People who saw the play?
"Thank you for writing an honest and real play" about unwanted sexual advances.
Young woman who was subject to unwanted sexual advances on public transit (available for interview upon request.)

Relevance of the story today?
1) May 31, 2017. Three men arrested in separate cases of sex offences on Metro Vancouver transit http://vancouversun.com/storyline/three-men-arrested-in-separate-cases-of-sex-offences-on-metrovancouver-transit  

2) May 31, 2017. 18-year-old reports sexual assault while canvassing for donations http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sexual-assault-vanness-rupert-1.4140420

3) May 23, 2017. 'Disturbing' sexual assault on Abbotsford bus http://dailyhive.com/vancouver/disturbing-sexual-assault-abbotsford-bus  

Havana Preview show – FREE!
Friday Sept. 1, 9:00 to 10:00 pm

Thu. Sept. 7, 6:00 - 7:00 pm (HALF PRICE!)
Sat. Sept. 9, 1:15 - 2:15 pm
Sun. Sept. 10, 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Mon. Sept. 11, 9:00 - 10:00 pm
Wed. Sept. 13, 9:00 - 10:00 pm
Fri. Sept. 15, 7:15 - 8:15 pm
Sat. Sept. 16, 8:00 - 9:00 pm

The Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive.

The Performers
Justin Anthony as The Boyfriend
Henry Beasley as The Perpetrator
Lesli Brownlee as The Woman

The Writer
Gerald Williams is a late-in-life writer who began writing in his fifties. His play in Fringe 2016 was the critical hit, The Dance Teacher, about sexual abuse of children. His works have been performed in festivals in the United States, Toronto, Vancouver, and Japan. No Big Deal follows his interest in gender roles.

Henry Beasley as The Perpetrator in No Big Deal
I’m sorry for what I did, but I’m not guilty. The Perpetrator

Henry Beasley, a Capilano University Musical theatre graduate, plays the perpetrator in No Big Deal. A leading man type with the good looks and sincere charm that mothers hope for in a son-in-law, Henry is showcasing his ability to portray the sinister side of human-kind.

Hailing from New Westminster, Henry has appeared in Theatre Under the Stars’ productions of Hairspray and Shrek, as well as the Vancouver Opera’s recent production of Otello. He is a versatile actor winning the 2013 Ovation Award for Newcomer, and Colin Thomas in The Georgia Straight noted that in the Fighting Chance production of Into the Woods, “Henry Beasley, who plays the dim-witted Jack, delivers one of the most touchingly credible acting performances of the evening.”

About being Part of No Big Deal
Henry believes it’s important that we don’t shrug off incidents like the one portrayed in No Big Deal, and “I’m grateful to be involved in a new work with such a strong, relevant message. New works and Canadian theatre are important to me, and it’s a pleasure to be a part of a project that ticks off both of those boxes.”

About Playing the Role of Perpetrator
Playing the Perpetrator is such an exciting challenge. I don't usually get cast in roles where I get to explore the dark places that he goes to, and it's cool to have the opportunity to flex those muscles.

Justin Anthony as The Boyfriend in No Big Deal
We don’t get taught that, taught how to deal with your girlfriend if she tells you.

The Boyfriend
Justin Anthony, a native of Sylvan Lake Alberta, has firmly established himself in Vancouver graduating from both Vancouver Film School as well as the Art’s Club Actor’s Intensive. He portrays the misguidedly optimistic Boyfriend in No Big Deal. He is actively involved in Vancouver both as an actor as well as a creator of the fabulously popular Soldiers of Earth web series which was feted in the 2017 Vancouver Web Fest.

Justin’s work as an actor was noted by Mark Robins at Vancouver Presents in the Fighting Chance production of Now or Later, noting that Justin does “fine work….in managing to find the passion in the political.” Justin has also worked as assistant Director in the critical success String of Pearls, presented in May 2017. His intelligent approach to acting makes his work in No Big Deal compelling.

About No Big Deal
Justin believes that it’s great to be a part of a show that can be a release for anyone who has gone through a situation that parallels one of the characters. In No Big Deal things are not easy, and, like in life, basic morality is questioned. There are times where we do not choose our circumstance but what we can chose is our actions, and that can make all the difference.

About Playing the Role of Boyfriend
Sometimes actions are judged as wrong before taking into account their intentions. The boyfriend may act selfishly in his approach to life; this is merely a result of his naivety that also affects how he deals with the matter of sexual assault. To me he is a relatable symbol of how many may react should a loved one come home to declare they had been assaulted: perhaps confused, maybe in denial but most definitely mis-educated.

Lesli Brownlee as The Woman in No Big Deal
My story was no big deal to anyone except me.

The Woman

Lesli Brownlee, who plays The Woman, grew up in the small mountain town of Valemount. She moved to Vancouver in 2000 to pursue a career in acting and is delighted to be participating in her fifth Fringe Festival.

Previous Fringe credits include the title role in The Falls of St Vincent Millay (San Francisco Fringe). The show was a hit with audience members who raved: “Lesli Brownlee is amazing, I want to be her.” and “When I saw the bare black stage I thought I was in for some existential bore, boy was I wrong”. Other Fringe credits include The Spice of Life 3 and 4, and D.N.A (Vancouver Fringe Festival).

Lesli’s non Fringe credits include Psyche (“exquisite”-Jerry Wasserman) in Metamorphoses and Jen (“Valley-Girl hilarious-Colin Thomas) in Sunday on the Rocks. After seeing a production of Itsazoo’s Death of a Clown, Christian Steckler of Review Vancouver commented on Lesli’s ability to complement other actors. Her ability to embody diverse characters and maintain an openness with other actors makes her a great collaborator.

Lesli is also a writer and studied creative writing at Capilano University. She recently finished Playwright Theatre Centre’s Block A and is working on her second play, Jungle Jungle Whatever.

Lesli is a founding member of ABB Artist Collective and is preparing for a production of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, opening Valentine’s Day 2018. She is also a member of Smoking Gun Collective and will appear as Anya in The Cherry Orchard, directed by William B. Davis in Spring of 2018 at the Jericho Arts Centre.

When Lesli is not acting, writing, or producing you can find her serving brunch at The Wallflower and her only claim to fame is that she was in a student film with the Pizza Guy from Deadpool.

About No Big Deal
So often theatre fails to maintain a balance between social critique and entertainment. No Big Deal gives voice to urgent and necessary social issues while at the same time manages to be wildly entertaining. The thing that Lesli appreciates most about No Big Deal is how the playwright “slyly shows us how often the victim is the last person we are willing to empathize with”.

About Playing the Role of Woman
“The Woman begins from a desire to please and to entertain but by the end she has found her voice and is on her way to becoming an advocate for herself and others. This is a hugely relatable journey for any performer. And I’m fascinated by why people do the things that they do.”

A large part of discovering this character was recognizing that people can’t hide the truth, from others or themselves, try as they might. “There’s something very satisfying about playing a character who is both desperate and terrified to reveal their truth.”




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