THE HOW AND THE WHY (2018)
Chosen as one of TWO CENTS & TWO PENCE’S Best of 2018 Picks.
“This finely crafted, two-handed tour de force explores two hypotheses – one on why women menstruate, and the other on the evolutionary reasons behind menopause… But more importantly, The How and the Whyunravels the complex nuances of human struggles, relationships and behaviours. And that’s its real strength… Smith’s detailed presentation of Zelda’s “Grandmother” hypothesis might have palled if Tanya Mathivanan’s skillful direction hadn’t kept the audience engaged with the movement of her actors around the minimalist set, effectively designed by Sarah Melo and Ro Miller…Both Arbuckle and Smith peel away the layers of their characters with compassion and sensitivity..As intellectual arguments morph into emotional ones, peppered at times with jocular irony and at others with gut-wrenching pathos, personal revelations trump each other, one after another."– Christine Pilgrim, Vancouver Presents
“Audiences who have seen this company’s current production of “The How and The Why” by Sarah Treem will know that the mandate which this organization is committed to was fulfilled…An evening well spent, indeed, with two superb performances by Bronwen Smith and Annie Arbuckle...Director/Producer Tanya Mathivanan...has made this production one that will be remembered and talked about — which is exactly what good theatre is all about." – Monika Forberger, Entertainment Vancouver
“Sarah Treem’s The How and The Why is a fascinating piece of modern theatre… The first act whizzes by with animated conversations about primates, sperm, pathogens, grandmothers and plenty more. The swift pace of the dialogue and the commitment to the scientific language created an immersive, engaging atmosphere… Leave your pre-conceptions at the door and you will almost certainly learn something about a topic that is woefully under-discussed (and still misunderstood). What’s more, you will be engaged and entertained throughout.” – Lillian Jasper, Two Cents & Two Pence
“The How and the Why is an impressive experience, and you should make time for it. Sarah Treem has woven a very personal story with political and scientific theories that matter and resonate. I still can’t believe that I enjoyed two evolutionary biologists talking shop that much and that often. It’s a true feat to give the audience access to science without obviously dumbing it down… The performances by Bronwen Smith and Annie Arbuckle were strong and well-rounded… The set was simple and bold, and the lighting and sound choices also spoke of good taste and imagination. I didn’t leave the theatre wishing any detail was different. It was an absolute pleasure to see The How and the Why, and Aenigma Theatre has done Vancouver a great service to bring us this local premiere. Return the favour and go see this rich play performed beautifully.” – Kelly Moncton, Two Cents & Two Pence
“The How and the Why was an emotionally powerful experience, with both the writing and the performances deep and riveting…Aenigma Theatre brought together a group of
talented women to produce this play and it shows. Every moment was absorbing and significant to the Story…I was so engaged...I was just so with them that the time just flew by." – Melody and Justine Owen, Theatre Addicts Vancouver
Chosen as one of Vancouver Presents! Top Ten Picks in “THE BEST OF VANCOUVER THEATRE IN 2017".
“…Viva transcends, giving hope during what are sometimes extraordinary circumstances…With a genuine transformation taking place, Dodd moves from a drug-addled young man looking for a good time, to the sobering and devastating reality of his past…Reich’s performance.. is terrific…the two largely play on separate sides of the stage. But under Tanya Mathivanan’s direction it works beautifully as a metaphor for the isolation each feels, making their ultimate connection more real”-Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents
“Vancouver Playwright Scott Button makes the world premiere with this play which I found quite interesting. This 80-minute drama was well-acted” – Ed Farolan, Review Vancouver
“There’s a lot of powerful writing in Scott Button’s new play VIVA…ably directed by Tanya Mathivanan. Melanie Reich’s work as Alice is solid—understated and honest. And Patrick Dodd rocks as Graeme…Working on a budget of about a buck fifty, lighting designer Chengyan Boon* triumphs—using LED light ropes.., Boon’s design is a mini masterpiece.” –Colin Thomas
“We particularly enjoyed the performance of Melanie Reich as the vulnerable, desperate female protagonist. She played what could have been a melodramatic portrayal with demure earnestness…Patrick Dodd’s performance provided solid support to Reich’s sensitive character, especially as a young man tripping balls on a plane!... Scott Button’s writing here is impressively creativeHe made us believe a premise that in any other circumstance would have been difficult to swallow. Button achieves this power of persuasion through acute attention to detail in his storytelling.…Director Tanya Mathivanan adds a layer of her own unique perspective to the play. She helps translate Button’s vision to the audience smoothly. Mathivanan’s touch is palpable. She interprets Button’s words in smart ways…”- The Vancouver Arts Review
“Aenigma Theatre and Bright Young Theatre prove once again: you don’t need a fancy set and expensive costumes to make theatre. All you really need is a good story, well-told. Local playwright Scott Button and actors Melanie Reich and Patrick Dodd deliver – chills and all – in this world première.” – Jo Ledingham
“Copenhagen is a bear of a script, Densely intellectual, it’s insanely difficult to perform. And Aenigma Theatre, which is a small, amateur company, does an admirable job with it… Director Tanya Mathivanan and her actors do an impressive job of finding the heart in a heady play.”- Colin Thomas
“The actors at curtain call got a resounding applause at the full house opening night presentation of this show under the excellent direction of Tanya Mathivanan. Francis Boyle (Niels Bohr), Eric Regimbald (Werner Heisenberg) and Tara Pratt (Magreth Bohr) were fabulous in the delivery of lines, pacing and blocking… This is a must-see show..”- Ed Farolan, Review Vancouver
“… the cast is superb… The trio’s natural delivery, even as dialogue becomes laden with science, helps immensely in conquering this intellectual exercise…Director Tanya Mathivanan effectively stages Copenhagen in the round on Sarah Melo’s spare set. Like electrons circling the nucleus of an atom, Mathivanan presents the play’s narration as characters navigate around the central playing area.”- Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents!
DYING CITY (2016)
"Chang masterfully brings off the contrast between the doomed, gruff reservist and the whiney surviving twin. Only gradually does it dawn on us how inexorably the bonds between the two brothers transcend time and fate. Bortolin, for her part, projects a bereaved persona so encrusted that it’s painfully cathartic to see her break through to reconnect with her pre-traumatised self. Producer/director Tanya Mathivinan (with the able backing of Sarah Melo’s sets, Tory Ip’s costumes and Scott Zechner’s lighting) uses clever staging and fast-paced blocking to offset the many flashbacks."- Lincoln Kaye, Vancouver Observer
"The audience was moved by the performers from the warm applause at curtain call."- Ed Farolan, Review Vancouver
"Under the direction of Tanya Mathivanan, Dying City at the Vancouver Fringe is very well acted,and the stage and sound are skilfully created with a minimalist aesthetic...I left the theatre knowing I’d like to see more work by Christine Bortolin, Garland Chang and the crew of Aenigma Theatre."- Keith Wilkinson, Plank Magazine.
Chosen as one of Vancouver Presents! Top Ten Picks in “THE BEST OF VANCOUVER THEATRE IN 2016".
Chosen as one of the VANCOUVER COURIER’S 4 PICKS OF THE WEEK (June 30th- July 6th)
“With a bigger emphasis on the emotional in this current production, I left the Little Mountain Gallery with tears in my eyes. In that moment, feeling was much more important than thinking.”- Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents
“The engaging and vigorous debates between Bodor and Dodd spoke to the age-old question... what is the true definition of art? They did an amazing job to reinforce that art is subjective and to remind each one of us that art is in the eye of the beholder.”- Review Vancouver
“I was impressed by the fluidity by which the language used was spoken so with ease and confidence by both actors. In terms of acting, I commend both David (Rothko) and Patrick (Ken) for putting their all into the characters especially so during the scene of the final argument.”- Christine Kim, CiTR Radio
Chosen as one of WESTENDER’S TOP 15 PICKS OF FRINGE 2015
“From start to finish, I would say that Tanya Mathivanan’s distinct directing style was all over this play… In conclusion, I would say the play did a good job in weaving a captivating story that definitely kept my attention.”- CiTR Radio Christine Kim)
“Blackbird has a lot to offer as a play. This is a great opportunity to see an award-winning, taboo busting story that tackles some very dark, but very real issues. Kudos to Aenigma Theatre fortaking on such a meaty production and sharing it with Vancouver audiences. It’s a gut-wrenching production and one that left me thinking long after I had left the theatre.” – Plank Magazine
“The acting was very good. You'd think these two actors were trained by New York's Actors' Studio. Kudos also to Director Tanya Mathivanan for a play well-directed. We've reviewed Aenigma Theatre's productions in the past (Sartre's No Exit and Albee's Zoo Story”) and we gave accolades for those productions, the same way I'm doing to this one. – Review Vancouver
THE ZOO STORY (2014)
“I am a fan of well-portrayed psychological dramas, and this production certainly is.”- Plank Review
“Tom Stevens… is utterly a revelation…[h]e is mesmerizing to see, and it will be well worth your time to check this show out at this year's Fringe!”- Fun! Fun! Vancouver!
“Director Tanya Mathivanan…deserves high praise for the many striking ways in which she achieves so delicate a fluidity of both pacing and intensity. There is a voluble vitality, at once palpable, personal and provocatively mute that lies at the back of the inexorable narrative archetypical in-your-face plotline in the sand that Jerry daringly crosses”- Review Vancouver
“In Edward Albee's The Zoo Story a strong cast takes this strange little one-act and turns it into a harrowing theatrical experience.”- Vancouver Courier (Jo Ledingham)
“I found that through watching this, I was really reminded about the beauty of theatre and the power it can have in conveying such difficult ideas about society and the reality that we live in…this is one play that I would definitely encourage everyone to go watch”- CiTr Radio
NO EXIT (2014)
“This is a must-see show! Directed by Tanya Mathivanan, this Sartrean classic…was well directed and the four actors --Jordan Kerbs, Harrison MacDonald, Annie Arbuckle and Michael Stewart--were all top caliber…The pacing of this 1.5 hour was perfect, and I liked the final touch of Mathivanan.” -Review Vancouver
““No Exit” received a well thought-out and thought-provoking presentation, directed by Aenigma’s founder, Tanya Mathivanan. The director who, with a talented group of UBC Theatre grads, shows she’s not afraid to tackle difficult theatre pieces…Look for more Aenigma Theatre presentations. If this first one is any indication, the life of theatre in Vancouver will be greatly enhanced with these players strutting their stuff.”- Entertainment Vancouver
“I was definitely blown away by how funny and conversationally appealing the lines of the play were acted and directed…I would definitely recommend this play for those people who would like a play to leave you thinking, but keep you interested throughout.”- CiTr Radio