Back to 'Projects'


BellaLuna Productions presents:

PLUM and other colours
By Susan Bertoia

Susan Bertoia plunges the audience into an eclectic collection of solos that play and blur in the world of theatre, dance and performance art taking the viewer on an evocative journey through the many colours of human condition.
Sassy, brassy, poetic.
From monologues, to dance, to puppets, to spoken word, to poetry, to movement, let yourself live through this dream-like ride.

"Storytelling at its most potent: it relies on words and on silence; on liberating laughter and the lonely tear."
- Dr.Peter Loeffler, UBC


August 5-13, 2004 - SummerWorks Festival
Factory Theatre (Studio Space), 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario

September 23, 2004 - SFU
Theatre at SFU (Simon Fraser University), Burnaby, BC
Website School for The Contemporary Arts

October 21-23, 2004
Theatre at UBC - Frederic Wood Theatre, Vancouver, BC
As part of the Extra Event Series

November 4 - 6, 2004 - Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
Shadbolt Centre Studio Theatre, 6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, BC

To book PLUM to your venue, please contact

^back to top^

WRITTEN/ PERFORMED by: Susan Bertoia
DIRECTED BY: Mercedes Baines

PLUM AND OTHER COLOURS is a collection of solos that exposes the spectrum of the human condition through multifarious characters and moves. These solos play and blur in the world of theatre, dance and performance art taking the viewer on an evocative journey inside colours.

PLUM takes from: the colours Red, Blue and Yellow, spontaneous laughter and reserved tears, Modern Art, the cross, those neighbours, the plums Zia picked, the present, randomness and the thin line between maintaining order and reveling in chaos.

Moreover, it "explores and shows us, microcosmically condensed, the many colours of the Human Condition." A simple theatricality is what makes PLUM unique. It is a maze of 'real' stories told in a surreal world.

Can life's tasks be wound onto a Yellow string?
How much crushed white paper does it take to reach the moon?
What does it mean to wear Red?
What of apartment dogs?
What's it like to dare?

Stories she weaves are told with passion. With her voice and body Susan injects characters with their fetishes and obsessions from a caffeine addict to an elderly Italian woman, to a neurotic dog owner to a drifting puppet, and several others!

"She leaves an audience wanting more!"
-DW Georgia Straight

The audience is engaged throughout the entire performance as text integrates, both in English and Italian, with powerful precise movement. The material is raw; yet highly sophisticated.

This critically acclaimed solo is created and performed by the multi talented Susan Bertoia. She is a professional Vancouver theatre artist and teacher. Susan's fetish for the idiosyncratic ways of people and soulful passion for life and her cultural heritage combined with her studies in the Commedia Dell'Arte are evident in her work; however subtle!

Her training - BFA:Theatre (UBC), Commedia Studies (Italy-Milan and Padova) and California (Dell¹Arte School) and an intensive with One Yellow Rabbit, has resulted in Susan fusing her own method and style of performance.

The success of PLUM, in its many incarnations, has led Susan to continue to write and produce new pieces. In 2002, Susan introduced several new colours into her solo show, including her puppet Drifter. Now in 2004, PLUM gets even richer and deeper

... Think of PLUM as a collage of images and stories that never runs out of shades of colours...

^back to top^

Prova magistrale di Susan Bertoia sola in scena
di Maddalena Tufarulo

"Plum and other colours": questo il titolo dello spettacolo teatrale che andra' in scena durante il Summerworks Theatre Festival, organizzato dal 5 al 15 agosto a Toronto. La performance, diretta da Mercedes Baines e interamente interpretata da Susan Bertoia, verra' anche ripetuta a settembre, ottobre e novembre, a Burnaby e a Vancouver.

Frutto di un lavoro paziente e di un percorso che si protrae da anni, "Plum and others colours" e' strutturato in un insieme di 12 sketch, il cui filo conduttore e' il colore che nelle sue varianti si fa mediatore dello spettro umano.

E cosi' in uno spazio scenico scarno ma altamente evocativo, Susan, animata da una grazia narrativa idilliaca e da una buona capacita' di tenuta dell'assolo, mette in scena e in tensione più personaggi, tutti divertenti e umani, rappresentando con sottile e dissacrante ironia gli aspetti più contraddittori e stravaganti della realtà quotidiana.

Impegnata in un' eccellente prova d'attore, la Bertoia dà ad ogni avvenimento, a ogni piega del racconto, a ogni personaggio, un' intensa carica emotiva, giocata sulle mille variazioni di intonazione e colore, sui diversi modi di parlare, tra battute in inglese e in italiano, oltre che su una fisicità essenziale che di certo non lascera' indifferente il pubblico. Infatti, capace di dare vita a un ruolo anche solo con un dettaglio, di trasformare il monologo in dialoghi animatissimi, di essere insieme narratrice, personaggio e attrice, Susan scherza con gli spettatori e li chiama in causa, in particolare quando pone loro la domanda che e' poi il senso dello spettacolo: "Volete una prugna?". Ed eccola allora esplorare i molti colori dello stato umano, in una teatralita' semplice ma che rende unica la prugna, quale collage di immagini e di storie reali, come quella della signora della finestra o del nevrotico proprietario di un cane.

Uno spettacolo pregevole, lieve e al tempo stesso profondo e astratto, che si esprime con un linguaggio tutto suo: teatrale, nella misura in cui è teatrale la seduzione che la paroa e il corpo dell'attrice esercitano sugli spettatori, e poetico nella misura in cui ogni singolo racconto diventa megafono di pensieri, ossessioni, fughe, desideri e sentimenti universali. Dunque, nella sua semplicità di struttura, la performance coniuga insieme la forza immaginifica del racconto orale con l'ariosità fantastica del teatro, e tutto questo per merito dell'agile disinvoltura con cui Susan passa da toni leggeri a momenti più cupi, senza mai scivolare nel patetico o nell'enfatico, ma, anzi, facendoci riflettere su come la vita umana sia in fondo proprio un racconto, comprensibile solo quando lo si racconta.

^back to top^

October 2001
-Voda Bar*, Vancouver
June 2001
-Outrageous Women Cabaret*, Shadbolt Centre Studio Theatre - Burnaby
April 2001
-Cultural Night*, Fame Furlane Hall- Vancouver
December 2000
-Telus Studio Theatre*, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, UBC
November 2000
-Pender Island Mini-Fringe Festival*, Pender Island, BC
October 2000
-2000 Women Performance Series*, Festival of solo women performers and artists, Blinding Light!!! Theatre - Vancouver
-Cabaret Performances*, Pointless Hysteria - Vancouver
September 2000
-Vancouver International Fringe Festival, Studio Venue - Vancouver

*denotes invitational performance

^back to top^

"Her work is clean and clown-like  the sensibility sweetly ridiculous, the gestures and expressions precise, the cues tight. And there's a vivacity to Bertoia's acting that's the single most appealing aspect of the evening. She's a small but powerfully-built woman and energy radiates from her like sunshine."
Colin Thomas - Georgia Straight, Vancouver

"Susan Bertoia has a larger-than-life magnetic stage presence"
(GS) - Now Toronto

Noon-Hour Elliptical Theatre: Purple plum perfection
The lights dimmed and the audience was plunged into . . . Italian? Susan Bertoia graced the Simon Fraser University theatre for Plum and Other Colours, last week's noon-hour performance, and transformed the room into a vibrant, frenetic, but above all colourful world for an hour. Leaping from the character of a child to an old Italian woman, from an art gallery to a plum tree, the show might be termed borderline schizophrenic, but it was never uninteresting... Plum is Bertoia's first solo piece, but hopefully it will not be her last. Her presence onstage is riveting - intriguing as much as it is entertaining. Her ability to conjure up the Italian presence on such a sparse stage, to bring life to an umbrella or to stones attached to a piece of wood, is remarkable. Her performance demands the attention of everyone in the room, and I'm sure that I was not the only one sorry to realise that the performance had reached its end.
- Sarah Caufield, The Peak

"The crowd went wild with applause. Bertoia's visual presentation  would have been enough, but her vocalizations, accents and colloquialisms touched us in unforeseen ways that inspired and delighted."
Kae Charman - The Driftwood

"she leaves an audience wanting more"
Deborah Williams - Georgia Straight, Vancouver

"especially enjoyed the humorous and touching cultural elements."
Maiko Bae - boca del lupo theatre, Vancouver

"mesmerizing performance and physical grace demand attention."
Three on Tree Productions, Pender Island

"Her comic timing, physical prowess and sensitive intelligence captured our attention and imagination throughout."
Camyar Chai - Neworld Theatre, Vancouver

"This is storytelling at its most potent: it relies on words and on silence; rapid movement and on complete stillness; on liberating laughter and the lonely tear. It is emotionally rewarding, and it keeps the viewer in a spell by its sheer technical command."
Dr.Peter Loeffler - Professor Theatre Studies, UBC

"Pretty nifty..."
Roy Surrette - Belfry Theatre, Victoria

"Strong and powerful performance."
Chris Dray - Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse

"This show is great!"
Bradley Moss - Theatre Network, Edmonton

^back to top^


PHOTO (Colour)
PHOTO (Black+White)

Susan and BellaLuna gratefully acknowledge the support of the following sponsors:

plum clothing

Famous Commedia Proverb: "If they aint crazy, we don't want them!"