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CAP UCLA in Association with LACMA Presents West Coast Premiere of Canadian Stage's Multimedia Theater Work Helen Lawrence by Visual Artist Stan Douglas and Screenwriter Chris Haddock


Helen Lawrence
 CAP UCLA in Association with LACMA Presents
West Coast Premiere of Canadian Stage’s
Multimedia Theater Work
Helen Lawrence
by Visual Artist Stan Douglas and
Screenwriter Chris Haddock
October 13 & 14 at Royce Hall


 “Set in post-World War II Vancouver, Helen Lawrence dives with gusto into a
world of crooked cops, scheming hustlers and blond bombshells.”
—The New York Times
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) in association with Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) presents the West Coast premiere ofHelen Lawrence, a Canadian Stage production conceived and directed by Stan Douglas and written by Chris Haddock, on Friday, Oct. 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14 at Royce Hall. Single tickets for $39–$79 are now available online at, via Ticketmaster, by phone 310-825-2101 and at the UCLA Central Ticket Office.
In a virtuosic feat of double vision from celebrated visual artist Douglas and screenwriter Haddock (Boardwalk Empire, DaVinci’s Inquest), this film noir is produced in real time as actors on stage are composited live into virtual sets of Vancouver circa 1948. Featuring a dynamic cast of 12 from Vancouver, Toronto and Los Angeles, performers are filmed against a blue screen-enclosed stage. Their live action images are simultaneously integrated into a meticulous, computer-generated 3D landscape of seedy hotels and skid-row streets projected as a completed cinematic thriller unfolding on stage.
The world economy is in recession, the banking system in shambles, people are terrorized by a shadowy foreign threat, and there is a housing crisis in virtually every city of the Northern Hemisphere. This is the world of Helen Lawrence, where Frank Capra-like “John Does” — having experienced trauma abroad and privation at home — now resort to desperate measures to get by.
“Tough guys and femme fatales all wear finely-tuned personas to protect themselves from further trauma and this condition is reflected in the visual polyphony of our play,” said Douglas. “No matter how spectacular the images projected onto the scrim that separates audience from actors, one remains keenly aware of the fragile human bodies on stage.”
Raising live performance to new technological heights in a perfect marriage of theater and cinema, the actors in the “movie” seem more real than the actors “on stage.” History, modernity, virtuality and reality collide in Helen Lawrence, hailed as “a visual masterpiece” (Vancouver Presents) “where hard-boiled meets high-tech” (Wall Street Journal).
On October 17 at LACMA, artist Stan Douglas and LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan will discuss Douglas’s practice and the artistic process of making Helen Lawrence.
Helen Lawrence marked its world premiere on March 19, 2014, in Vancouver. The production has traveled to the Munich Kammerspiele in Germany, Edinburgh International Festival and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Funds provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation multi-year grant for Collaborative Intersections in the Visual & Performing Arts. A co-production by Canadian Stage, Arts Club Theatre Company, The Banff Centre, Stan Douglas Inc., Festival TransAmeriques and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Co-presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with technical support provided by the Art + Technology Lab at LACMA.
CAP UCLA’s 2017–18 Theater series continues with Théâtre de la Ville – Paris: L’État de siege (The State of Siege) (Oct. 26–27, Royce Hall), William Kentridge: Refuse the Hour (Nov. 17–18, Royce Hall), Poor Dog Group: Group Therapy (Jan. 11–13, Little Theater, UCLA) and Ann Hamilton & SITI Company: the theater is a blank page (April 28 to May 12, Royce Hall).
CAP UCLA in association with LACMA presents
Canadian Stage
Conceived and Directed by Stan Douglas
Written by Chris Haddock
Friday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Royce Hall, UCLA
Program: The world economy is in recession, the banking system in shambles, people are terrorized by a shadowy foreign threat, and there is a housing crisis in virtually every city. The year is 1948 and this is the world of Helen Lawrence — a film noir landscape of tough guys and femme fatales who resort to desperate measures to get by. In a virtuosic feat of double vision from celebrated visual artist Stan Douglas and screenwriter Chris Haddock (Boardwalk Empire), actors perform in front of blue screens as camera-controlled software inserts them into a meticulous environment of seedy hotels and skid-row streets projected as a completed movie on stage.
Single tickets: $39–$79
UCLA Central Ticket Office: 310-825-2101Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Royce Hall box office: open 90 minutes prior to the event start time.
Related Activities:
Post-show Discussion
Saturday, Oct. 14 (matinee only)
Join Stan Douglas and the company for a discussion about Helen Lawrenceimmediately following the matinee performance.
Art + Tech: Stan Douglas and Michael Govan in Conversation
Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at LACMA
Join artist Stan Douglas and LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan as they discuss Douglas’s innovative hybrid of cinema and theater, Helen Lawrence. They will talk about the making of Helen Lawrence, and the role of history, narrative, and temporal and spatial displacements in the artist’s practice. Admission is free but tickets are required.
CAP UCLA Art in Action
Arrive early to deep dive into the themes emanating from Helen Lawrence at our free pre-show activations in Royce Hall’s West Lobby and Terrace.
Writing the Noir Landscape
The City of Angels is home to a particular kind of noir. Working with our partners in UCLA Library Special Collections we’ll present an exhibit featuring the papers of Raymond Chandler and other L.A. noir writers, photographers and comic book artists. Visit the exhibition in our pop-up space in the West Lobby before each show.
Noir Poetry Bureau and Photo Booth
Stop by our Noir Poetry Bureau on the Royce Hall Terrace for a personalized, typewritten poem from one of our “hard-boiled” poets and wrap yourself in a trench coat and fedora under the lamp post for your noir close-up.
Ramin Abrams: live mood music on the Terrace by bassist Ramin Abrams, both nights.
Canadian Stage (Toronto)
Conceived and directed by Stan Douglas
Written by Chris Haddock
Story by Stan Douglas and Chris Haddock
Scenery design by Kevin McAllister
Costume design by Nancy Bryant
Lighting design by Robert Sondergaard
Composition and sound design by John Gzowski
Director of photography Brian Johnson
Video programming by Peter Courtemanche
Mary Jackson ….. Crystal Balint
Inspector Leonard Perkins ….. Greg Ellwand
Chief James Muldoon ….. Ryan Hollyman
Henry Williams ….. Sterling Jarvis
Percy Walker ….. Nicholas Lea
Buddy Black ….. Allan Louis
Eva Banks ….. Ava Jane Markus
Harry Mitchell ….. Hrothgar Mathews
Julie Winters ….. Haley McGee
Rose George ….. Emily Piggford
Helen Lawrence ….. Lisa Ryder
Edward Banks ….. Adam Kenneth Wilson
STAN DOUGLAS (conception, director) is a visual artist who lives and works in Vancouver and Los Angeles. His films, videos and photographs have been seen in exhibitions internationally, including Documentas IX, X and XI (1992, 1997, 2002) and three Venice Biennales (1990, 2001, 2005). A survey of his recent work, Stan Douglas: Mise en scène, will travel in Europe from 2013 until the end of 2015. Between 2004 and 2006 he was a professor at Universität der Künste Berlin and since 2009, has been a member of the core faculty in the Grad Art Department of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
CHRIS HADDOCK (story, playwright) is a multiple award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer, internationally acclaimed for his Vancouver-based television drama creations Da Vinci’s Inquest and Da Vinci’s City Hall, and the cult favorite Intelligence. Most recently he served as the writer-producer on Martin Scorsese’s HBO production Boardwalk Empire, for which he was nominated for a Writers’ Guild of America Award. Helen Lawrence is the result of his collaboration with his long-time friend Stan Douglas, andis his first exploration of theatrical drama. He is currently writing and developing films and television dramas in Canada and abroad.
Founded in 1987, Canadian Stage is one of Canada’s leading not-for-profit contemporary performing arts companies, sharing new, innovative stage work from Canada and around the world. Led by Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn and Managing Director Su Hutchinson, Canadian Stage produces and presents a new hybrid of multidisciplinary performance that pushes the boundaries of form and style, integrating theatre, dance, music, multimedia and more. Based in Toronto, Canadian Stage is dedicated to reinforcing the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international cultural dialogue, by acting as a home, incubator and exporter of leading Canadian and global performance. For more information, visit
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) is dedicated to the advancement of the contemporary performing arts in all disciplines — dance, music, spoken word and theater as well as emerging digital and collaborative platforms — by leading artists from around the globe. Part of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, CAP UCLA curates and facilitates exposure to artists who are creating extraordinary works of art and fosters a vibrant learning community both on and off the UCLA campus. The organization invests in the creative process by providing artists with financial backing and time to experiment and expand their practices through strategic partnerships and collaborations. As an influential voice within the local, national and global arts communities, CAP UCLA connects this generation to the next in order to preserve a living archive of our culture. CAP UCLA is also a safe harbor for cultural expression and artistic exploration, giving audiences the opportunity to experience real life through characters and stories on stage, and giving artists an avenue to challenge assumptions and advance new ways of seeing and understanding the world in which we live.
Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing Los Angeles’s uniquely diverse population. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes more than 130,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art, Latin American art, ranging from ancient American masterpieces to works by leading modern and contemporary artists; and Islamic art, of which LACMA hosts one of the most significant collections in the world. A museum of international stature as well as a vital part of Southern California, LACMA shares its vast collections through exhibitions, public programs, and research facilities that attract over a million visitors annually, in addition to serving millions through digital initiatives, such as online collections, scholarly catalogues, and interactive engagement at Situated in Hancock Park on over 20 acres in the heart of Los Angeles, LACMA is located between the ocean and downtown.
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