Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph first took to the Pacific Theatre stage in 2014, as a year-end project for then-apprentices Johnstone and Klassen. Immediately after seeing it, Artistic Director Ron Reed saw an opportunity to draw his apprentices’ creation into the theatre’s mainstage season.
“Gruesome Playground Injuries originated as a part of our apprenticeship program, a self-produced project by Kenton Klassen and Pippa Johnstone. When I saw the production, it was immediately obvious it needed to be on our mainstage with such a fully-realized production of such an intriguing script,” he says, praising the production for its, “Fierce and vulnerable performances, impeccable direction, vivid design.”
Every year, Pacific Theatre hires 2-4 emerging artists to work closely with its operations. The program is intended to provide skills in the administrative, production, and artistic aspects to theatre, creating “renaissance artists” capable of working in a variety of fields, while retaining their given specialty. As a bridge between education and the professional arena, the apprenticeship program offers opportunities to grow as an artist, gain new skills, and make valuable connections in the professional community.
Joining alumni Kenton and PIppa are director Chelsea Haberlin (MFA Directing), set designer Carolyn Rapanos (Theatre Production) and stage manager Shelby Bushell (Theatre Production).
The Story: A friendship founded on mutually reassured self-destruction. Over the course of 30 years, a series of unsettling injuries brings Kayleen and Doug together. A fascinating and surprisingly tender story tracing the ricocheting dynamics between a corrosive masochist (Kayleen, played by Pippa Johnstone) and an accident-prone daredevil (Doug, played by Kenton Klassen), Gruesome Playground Injuries is a non-linear exploration of a friendship that will either save or kill them both.
Directed by Chelsea Haberlin. Featuring Pippa Johnstone and Kenton Klassen. Set Design by Carolyn Rapanos. Lighting Design by Phil Miguel. Sound Design by Chris Adams. Costume Design by Christopher David Gauthier. Stage Management by Shelby Bushell.
Playing April 1-16 8pm Wednesdays-Saturdays with 2pm matinees all Saturdays at Pacific Theatre, 1440 W 12th Ave. Pay-what-you-can preview March 31 at 8pm. For tickets ($22.99-29.99, taxes and fees not incl.) call 604.731.5518 or visit pacifictheatre.org.