SNOWFLAKE – An intergenerational Christmas story

Mitch and Murray Productions presents the premiere of SNOWFLAKE, a play written by Olivier Award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett. From Dec. 10 to 23, 2021, audiences can attend the live performance in person at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island.

The play, which features performer Aaron Craven, follows Andy and his daughter Maya through their heartfelt reunion during Christmastime. Though disagreements have torn these two apart before, the holidays pave the way for their path to reconciliation and understanding despite their different outlooks. SNOWFLAKE’s theme is centered around generational divides, which everyone can relate to regardless of race, religion or culture.

Playing Andy

A father and his daughter work out their differences over the holidays | Photo by Shimon Photo

Craven plays Andy, Maya’s father. Although he points out he may be a bit biased about his favorite character, he says that Andy’s love for Maya is one of the most relatable aspects about him. Most parents show unconditional love towards their children in their own ways and Andy is no different. He says Andy is a unique character due to his dilemma regarding following certain societal norms that are associated with specific generations. This dilemma is one of the main parts of Andy’s journey. Craven says that while these types of dilemmas are often tucked away, SNOWFLAKE showcases it.

“He refuses to be pigeonholed politically. It’s a strange time, very binary in the sense that viewpoints on either side of the political spectrum all tend to line up cleanly, very tribalistic,” says Craven. “Andy’s kind of the voice of the center, stuck between the values of Gen X and the shifting social currents of today. I have a lot of compassion for where he’s at.”

The conflict that arises between Maya and Andy is because of political differences. Craven points out that it is easy to dismiss others by saying comments like ‘okay Boomer’ or by calling younger people ‘snowflakes,’ but this should no longer be the norm.

“What happens within a family when political differences fracture its members?” Craven asks.

He hopes that this polarization in the play will spark many interesting conversations.

For Craven, the magic of this play would not have been possible without the cast and crew. His castmates, Natasha Burnett and Anni Ramsay, and his director Jennifer Copping have given much energy to this production.

“We have a blast every day in the rehearsal hall,” he says. “I’m also so lucky to have crew members who return over and over to work with us. Our set designer David Roberts has worked on just about every one of our shows over our history. It’s a special sense of community within the company.”

The magic of Christmas

This drama is set during Christmas, a time that can be emotionally charged. Therefore, Craven hopes people will watch and debate the play at the Christmas dinner table.

“It’s a high stakes time of year, a time for communion and family, and so it’s a time of loneliness for many people who are on their own, without familial connection,” he says.

This sentiment fits perfectly within this family as Maya and Andy’s conflict led to Maya leaving for three years. The abrupt separation left Andy in emotional turmoil and distanced from his own flesh and blood. This longing to have a sense of community drives Andy to invite Maya over on Christmas Eve and the journey to understanding starts there.

Giving back

Mitch and Murray Productions is alive due to the support of the audience and donation and during their 10 years of operations, there has been barely any monetary acknowledgement from public bodies.

“It’s kind of like the website Rotten Tomatoes, when the critics hate something but the audiences love it. But in our case, the critics and audiences mostly enjoy our work, but the public funders seem to give us the thumbs down. Such is Canadian arts funding. We’ve learned to just have a laugh about it and keep doing our thing, no matter what,” says Craven who is also the artistic director of Mitch and Murray Productions.

This hasn’t stopped the production house from creating scholarships to help emerging actors. The Young Actors Scholarship provides free training and mentorship.

“I give it to young actors specifically, out of the recognition of how tough and overwhelming the industry can be when you first start out,” says Craven.

His advice to his younger self ? “[L]ive another 20 years and get back to me.”

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