WONDERHEADS presents Grim & Fischer as the last theatre presentation of the season at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, Thursday, April 23.

WONDERHEADS presents Grim & Fischer as the last theatre presentation of the season at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, Thursday, April 23.

Masked actors make up dark comedy

Wonderheads Grim & Fischer uses masks and not words to tell the story of a grandmother who meets the Grim Reaper.

Masks can come in all shapes and sizes when it comes to the theatre.

Take the antics of the  masked avengers who boarded Axis Theatre’s seminal hit The Number 14, which drove its way to the Vernon stage for at least six performances before retiring on its farewell tour three years ago.

The Vernon Performing Arts Centre society is about to bring another masked theatre production to the stage, this time by a multi-award winning physical theatre company from the Coast called  WONDERHEADS.

Described by audiences as “live action Pixar,” Grim & Fischer is WONDERHEADS’ current full-face mask comedy, which will be played out at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Thursday, April 23.

The show follows Mrs. Fischer, an aging grandmother who is paid a visit by none other than the Grim Reaper himself. Without any words or facial expressions, Fischer’s struggle for survival takes fantastical flight as she attempts to literally cheat death.

“While initially whimsical and light hearted, Grim & Fischer uses this whimsy to step away from the sharpness of reality and offer a different lens though which to examine a deeper, darker universal struggle: our fear of death,” reads a release from the Performing Arts Centre.

As Mrs. Fischer stares death in the face, many questions are answered including: what is it to know your end is nigh? Can you ignore death? Can you escape death? And perhaps most importantly, can you hit death in the face with a frying pan?

According to WONDERHEAD’S website, mask maker and co-artistic director Kate Braidwood spends between 50-to-80 hours creating just one of the show’s full-face masks.

It was at California’s Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre where her passion for mask making was truly ignited and developed, during which time she trained in the Italian form of commedia dell’arte, studied mask design with Bruce Marrs, and worked with Berlin-based mask company Familie Flöz.

In 2009, she teamed up with fellow Dell’Arte graduate Andrew Phoenix to create the WONDERHEADS and together they have been busy touring their work since that time.

With their distinct style of storytelling, rich soundscape, timeless slapstick and masterful physical performances, the WONDERHEADS plan to  take audiences on a profound journey that is both hilarious and heart wrenching.

Tickets for Grim & Fischer are $30 for adults, $27 for seniors and $25 for students. Call the Ticket Seller at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or log online to www.ticketseller.ca for tickets and more information. General audience recommended is 10 years old and over.


Vernon Morning Star