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Cutting the Chairlift line at the festival

Chairlift Revue a new theatrical addition to snow fest



By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival

What: The Chairlift Revue

When: Monday, April 16

Where: Rainbow Theatre

Tickets: $10

Who hasn’t had a chair lift experience in this town?

It’s the ultimate social equalizer where all facets of society, Prada toting and joint toking alike, are benched on equal footing, where commonalities such as powder and sport seat the most unlikely of friends side by side with plenty to converse over.

Unless whisked away in an iPod world, chairlift riders connect, even if only for a 15-minute ride.

Last-night recaps, the ramblings of a first date, vacations gone bad — all of these familiar tales theatrically come to life during the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

The theatrical production of The Chairlift Revue stages short scenes penned by local scribes set on the thing ski resort dwellers revolve their lives around, the chairlift, on Monday, April 16 at the Rainbow Theatre.

“Most of them have a humorous edge,” said G.D. Maxwell who headed the festival’s newest edition, adding: “And some are just outright silly. We’ve got a middle-aged couple playing out all the drama of a vacation gone wrong in a stuck gondola that takes an unexpected twist. There is another where the scene is taking place in parallel universes with things happening simultaneously on two separate lifts. We’ve got the weirdo boy meets girl, the dangers of riding ski lifts, and lots more to be surprised by.”

This ode to a powder shuttle was led by Maxwell, who resurrected the 1996 stage concept that originated with former Whistler resident Stan Langtry.

As if the festival needed more drama. But with executive producer Michele Bush, of Fashion Police fame, and co-producer Chris Quinlan, who is more famous for drag can cans on stage than owning the Behind the Grind coffee shop, The Chairlift Review promises to be colourful and over the top.

Local and guest writers are all aboard the scriptwriting adventure.

Corridor residents Cindy Filipenko, Lisa Richardson and Maxwell have joined forces with Americans Jules Older and Paul Malm to create memorable, if not always lovable, characters who look at the chairlift as far more than just an uphill transportation mechanism.

“From a writer’s perspective, while the idea of tackling an hour and a half dialogue may be daunting for many of us who don’t consider ourselves to be full fledged writers, the idea of conquering a five to 10 minute dialogue isn’t intimidating,” Maxwell said.

The festival is not just about showcasing talent, but encouraging it as well, as is evident in many of the cultural happenings staged throughout the week, including Brave Art, the Filmmaker Showdown, the Pro Photographer Showdown, Words and Stories and Fashion Exposed.

So don’t be left waiting in line; Chairlift Revue tickets are $10 and available at whistler2007.com.

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