The Extractionist – Theatre Thursday

On Theatre Thursdays, I discuss topics related to theatre. I also write about local productions that I think #yyc should see. Today I’m talking about a new play that I haven’t been able to stop talking about – The Extractionist.

The Extractionist by Michaela Jeffery - Photo Credit to Tim Nguyen
Image lovingly stolen from Vertigo Theatre. Photography credit to Tim Nguyen.

Calgary has been filled with new theatre this month! I don’t know if it’s because they were inspired by High Performance Rodeo or if it was just a coincidence, but our professional companies have been filled with world premieres this February. And as an artist who pretty much exclusively creates new works these days, I am hyped to see it. That said, it has led to a few little complications for my blog. Either the shows have had short runs (The F Word) or the buzz made its way to me late (Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer), but either way I didn’t have the opportunity to cover them before they closed. But you know what I did love and is still open? Vertigo Theatre’s The Extractionist, written by my very own Michaela Jeffery! 


You got it, friends. Michaela Jeffery is a part of our club. She is a dear friend of mine from university, a fantastic playwright who I feel so lucky to know. Her way with words is truly magical – I sometimes still bust out a monologue that she wrote for Helen of Troy in an adaptation of The Trojan Women we created together during our senior year. She writes sparkling contemporary works that can be equal parts poetic and “real” (if realism is what you want in your dialogue, of course). 

And What About The Extractionist?

To let the official summary speak for itself:

“Asha Ray is the last option for desperate people who have reached the limits of what law enforcement can do for them. With no business card and no mailing address, she’s an expert deprogrammer who specializes in getting people’s family members out of cults. When a vulnerable woman disappears, Asha is asked to investigate the top suspect: a political young man who is a rising member of the powerful and secretive organization called Luminia. With the help of retired detective Rueben Medina, Asha slips into this dangerous world, making new enemies and exposing old secrets – including a few of her own. Can Asha find the answers she needs in time, or will history repeat itself?”

The Extractionist is very much a contemporary mystery, with a dash of film noir sprinkled over it. If you love modern crime tv shows or are into true crime, this show will feel familiar to you. There is a grittiness that I see in so many of my mom’s favourite thriller shows. (It probably goes without saying that she enjoyed the show as well.) 

That said – this play won’t be for everyone. I figured out the “whodunnit” element fairly early on so, for me, it became much more of a “how done it” type mystery… which is equally valid. It’s fun to feel like you’re so clever that you figured it out and then wait for someone to tell you how what you figured out actually played out. Traditionalists may not be into a different type of mystery, though.

I’m Sold On the Script. What Else Will I Like?

Perhaps you’ll like blog favourite, Mike Tan, playing retired cop Reuben Medina (a very different role than Bouc)? 

Perhaps you’ll be as obsessed as I am over the electric female cast – Tara Beagan (who last played Marmee in Little Women – a very different role!), Vanessa Leticia Jetté (also last in Little Women as Meg… again, very different), and Monice Peter (who hasn’t been on Calgary stages in almost a decade and has had an insane career).

But most likely, you are going to be captivated by the set and projection design by Andy Moro. The set is two levels of moving panels with constantly changing projections both in front of and behind the action. (As in there are some scenes that take place behind the panels. Obsessed.) The way that this constantly evolving environment creates such a strong sense of space is truly magical.

Final Thoughts?

Of course, your mileage may vary. Personal taste is personal taste and, though this show is very good, it might not be your taste. But it’s definitely worth checking out and deciding for yourself. The Extractionist runs until Sunday, February 26. Tickets can be purchased by visiting their website or calling (403) 221 3708.

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What I Read: January 2023

What I Read in January 2023

Ahhhhh! OMG, my friends, it feels so good to be doing a “What I Read” in a month post. I love hearing about the books that other people are reading – big into BookTube these days – and I love the opportunity to do the same for you all. Just a quick housekeeping note: for these posts, I plan to stick to the quick one or two lines about my thoughts on each book thing. I will do longer reviews for any newer release books (or ARCs because… yes! I get ARCs now!). Your time is precious, I’ll keep it short, sweet and organized. And so, that said, let’s get right into What I Read in January 2023.

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Mozart’s Birthday and Classy Heels: A Tale of Snow, Seats, and Symphony in Calgary

Last Friday, Calgary was hit by a surprise massive snowfall. (Actually, I’m sure meteorologists knew it was coming, but we had experienced fairly mild weeks prior to this so it still caught everyone by surprise.) By midday Saturday, things had settled down a bit… and thank goodness for that, because Claire and I had picked out our classiest heels to make the trek out to Balzac. And why were we driving to Balzac? Because we were being extremely classy and going to the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra’s Mozart’s Birthday concert!

For those who followed along during Blogmas, you may remember when I attended A Rocky Mountain High Christmas at the Grey Eagle Casino and mentioned that I would love to see the RMSO doing what they usually do in their home venue. Well! Something incredible happened – the RMSO reached out to me and offered me tickets to come see them at the Polaris Theatre. It was honestly so nice and sweet and y’all know that I love to support local artists. So we hit the road!

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Why My “Pantry Shop” Week Went Wrong

pantry shop meal plan

Welp. I’m not even sure why I’m using virtual space to say something so readily apparent, but… I didn’t post a weekly meal prep with my grocery spend last week. You know this. You can see my blog. But for once it wasn’t because I’ve let go of my goals – at least, not fully. It’s because last week, I didn’t really buy groceries. I made the decision to try out a “pantry shop” meal plan for the week. And how did it go? 

Um. Medium.

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$60 Buffet Meal Prep

Does anyone else feel like it’s been January for a thousand years? It’s not that it’s been dragging, but when I think about what I did the first week of the month, it feels like it’s been a lifetime. I think that was the week I made mac and cheese? I think I went to Zoolights? And now this is my third meal prep post? Crazy! Anyway, one of the common comments that has come up when I talk about my meal prep has been “I don’t know if I could eat the same thing every day”. I get that. Not everyone is a creature of habit as much as me. So this week is all about having different stuff daily! Please enjoy the $60 buffet meal prep.

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2023 New Book Releases I’m Excited About

2023 New Book Releases that I am excited about

I have to admit something that is maybe going to get me canceled as an artist who vocally advocates for supporting art you love. (Especially with your dollars.) I don’t track new releases. I’m always coming to things late – books, Netflix shows, Broadway musicals, whatever. I may accidentally stumble upon the next big thing before it pops off, but trust me… it is truly by accident. But this year, this year of being Intentional, I’m trying to change that. I want to know what’s going on in the spaces I navigate in. So, without further ado, here are the 2023 new book releases that I am excited about.

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$60 Meal Plan (with Hello Fresh)


Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re officially a third of the way through the month – how!? It feels like it’s, like, January 4. Is this just how it is now that we’re adults? And speaking of being adults – how are you all doing with your goals and hopes and dreams this new year? (Or how are you doing living in your flop era? We embrace both choices at A Flimsy Plan.) I’m doing… medium, which is to be expected, and I’ll elaborate a bit below before I get into this week’s groceries/meal plan wrap up. Which I’m super excited about because it’s a $60 meal plan… but it features Hello Fresh! (Not sponsored, I just get excited when I get to have Hello Fresh.)

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$50 Grocery Meal Plan

$56 worth of groceries

I think this might be the first time I’ve ever had a requested post in all the years I’ve been writing this blog. You guys, I’ve finally made it! I almost feel… nervous? (Actually, that’s a total lie. I’m never nervous about anything I post on this blog because I save my nerves for real life drama, obvi.) Anyway, if you checked out my Word of the Year post (or, honestly, if you know me at all), you know that I’m doing a (modified) no-spend challenge this January. And every January. We set goals, we share confessions and support throughout the month, and we give ourselves grace.

The reason I mention this is because I set a $50-60/week grocery budget and people went wild. In a very mature and subdued way. How could this be!? Give me your secrets! And… um… that’s what this post is. This is my $50 grocery budget meal plan. 

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My 2023 Word of the Year: Intentional

2023 word of the year - intentional

Elephant in the room, y’all – it’s January 2nd. Like many things on A Flimsy Plan, I’m just a little bit late with this post on my 2023 Word of the Year.

Admittedly, my last two days have been… unexpected. They were, in many ways, the perfect capstone to last year’s word of the year – Open. I had intended to spend both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day having quiet time with myself (including my yearly solo special dinner on New Year’s Day), but that wasn’t what ended up happening. And I’m absolutely okay with that… and the fact that this post is late.

I’m less okay with the fact that someone backed their lifted SUV into my car outside the Arts Commons parkade on NYE because they decided to drive backwards out of the parkade. But you can’t have all things, I guess. Not everything can be okay at all times.

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Eighty-Eight Beer Advent Calendar – Day Twelve

Beer 12 in cozy

Happy Boxing Day, everyone! I hope you have been enjoying a day of virtually nothing, taking advantage of a day when many things are shut down, even if you don’t actually celebrate the holiday. (And if your particular industry wasn’t shut down, I hope everyone you interacted with was super nice and now that the work is done, you’re enjoying doing virtually nothing.) And speaking of doing virtually nothing…

I don’t know what I was thinking, y’all. I mean what I was thinking when I decided I wanted to post a blog post on December 24 about something that happened on December 24. (Drinking the Day 12 beer, if you didn’t read the title.) Christmas Eve is a big day in our family, it’s the time where we have fun appies and play games and open one present. It’s also the day where we crash out on the couch while watching the Grinch at 6pm if we’re Rylee. It’s hard to be almost 3 and have a little cold.

Anyway, because it’s such a fun, special night in our family, of course I wanted to save the Day 12 beer. I knew the beer had to be special. But… like… I should have pre-written/scheduled a post. Or at least pre-written and photographed this drink and then just added the tasting notes on Saturday. 

But, honestly, if I’m not doing it somewhat haphazardly, is it even A Flimsy Plan?

Beer Twelve Clue

Beer 12 clue

The Beer Twelve clue read “All the great ones leave their mark”. We have to ask is this one Hammer Pants!?

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