Theatre Preview: No good commie hippies

The mention of two guys and a girl in an apartment conjures up images of the short-lived and delightfully cliched ’90s sitcom, Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place. Time-warp back to the ’70s, make two of them ex-hippies and the other a draft-dodger and you’ll have a faint idea of what Hippies and Bolsheviks is all about.

The play kicks off the 20th edition of Alberta Theatre Projects’ Enbridge playRites Festival and features three young people faced with a lot of tough choices in 1972. Former flower-child, Star (Daniela Vlaskalic) picks up Jeff (David Beasley), an American draft-dodger, at a Led Zeppelin concert and invites him back to her Vancouver apartment for a little fun. Their rendezvous is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Star’s ex, Allan (Shaker Paleja), armed with a plan and determined to win her back. Then things get interesting.

“You’re meeting three people who are at a real crossroads in their lives,” director Rachel Ditor explains. “They don’t know what to do. Their government has failed them. Their hippie ideals have failed them. Their parents have failed them. Their relationships have dissolved. And they have to figure out, how do you move forward?”

Despite its retro setting, Ditor points out parallels between Hippies and Bolsheviks and the present day. Social and political unrest spurred on by controversial wars makes the story very poignant.

“The context is almost identical, which is chilling,” Ditor remarks. “You just think this is a whole generation later, and what are we doing wrong? Why are we here again?”

The play is the fifth collaboration between Ditor and playwright Amiel Gladstone. Because of this history, Ditor was the obvious choice to direct the professional debut of the playwright’s latest work.

“I got involved because they start with the playwright and the play,” she explains. “They talk to the playwright about who do you want to have come and work on this. It’s very focused on serving and facilitating the work of the playwright. [Amiel’s] a great spirit of fun. There’s a lot of material that’s written for younger people that’s really angry and not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s so unusual to find a man that’s writing about relationships and the kind of struggles with identity with such warm humour.”

If love triangles, shirtless men and a story about growing up aren’t enough to pique your interest, Ditor has an ace up her sleeve.

“I think it’s a pretty truthful play, and it’s a pretty sexy play,” she reveals with a mischevious grin. “A lot of ways in which they try to problem-solve have a lot to do with having sex and smoking pot.”

Needless to say, Hippies and Bolsheviks promises to be a fun-filled, thought-provoking, cliche-free night at the theatre.

Visit for showtimes and details.

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