By Cayley Evans
In the last decade the cultural scene in Calgary has blossomed. The days of being “hicks” living in a “cowtown” with only the Stampede as the biggest “cultural” event of the year are long behind for Calgarians. We are now a cosmopolitan people in a city where large scale productions make stops and the home to several excellent theater companies. The newest company to hit the scene is Fire Belly Theater, headed up by Artistic Director Abby Charchun.
To celebrate the company’s inauguration into the theatre community, they held a launch party at the Big Secret Theatre, which turned out to be an exciting, high energy and edgy affair. The Plaid Tongued Devils, a local band involved in the Calgary music scene for twelve years, played their brand of high energy rock with a folk influence and were joined by a trio of belly dancers. Fire Belly’s people and guests partied hard, not afraid to kick up their heels and be outdoned by the entertainment. If the theatre company’s shows are anywhere near the quality of their launch party, everyone and their grandmothers are in for good times.
Fire Belly’s first season starts November 9 with the play Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love by Brad Fisher, which hasn’t been seen in Calgary since it debuted at ATP’s Play Rites fifteen years ago. “It’s a scary play,” says Charchun, but that kind of provocative material is exactly what Fire Belly Theater is all about. “I want it [the performances] to leave a fire in your belly. I want it to make people think. To me, art is about experiment and risk.”