E-book manual on how to be "not dead" sparks interactive Vancouver production, plus fundraiser this Saturday featuring iconic music of those gone too soon

Theatre producer and director Danielle Marleau was searching for inspiration for her newly formed production company, Black Pants, when she came across a short electronic book titled You Are Not Dead: A guide to modern living by the curiously named Fakeproject Corporation of America, comprising Fargo, North Dakota, natives Daniel Reetz and Meg Holle.

“It’s a beautiful, cohesive social commentary,” says Marleau. “I knew I wanted to see a live performance of it.”

You Are Not Dead: A guide to modern living began as a music project by Reetz, who composed 12 tracks of eerie electronica with titles including “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “The past of least existence.” Reetz then teamed up with former Vancouverite Holle, who wrote one-page chapters with the same titles to accompany each piece of music, while he created the images.

The words, images and music in combination offer a sort of 12-step self-help manual on how to be “not dead.” According to the artists, the work is “a protest against the meaningless decisions we are asked to make daily … that conflate choice with free thought and individuality.”

'Gone Too Soon:

Music by artists who died before age 35'

Benefitting the Vancouver production of You Are Not Dead: A guide to modern living

Little Mountain Gallery


March 20, 7:30 p.m.

195 E 26th Ave, Vancouver

Tickets: $10 at the door

More info: www.blackpants.ca

“It’s about the unquestioning acceptance of the ways in which we navigate life,” says Marleau, who has adapted the e-book for performance along with Holle and Rachel Peake.

The production, which will feature local award-winning actor (and A&W commercial star) Ryan Beil, will be held in a downtown conference room, and will take the form of a seminar in which the audience will participate as help seekers. Actors will be representatives of the Fakeproject Corporation of America, and visuals will include typical seminar materials, such as PowerPoint presentations.

After months of preparations for the play, Black Pants are on track to  meet their costs but still have some fundraising to complete.


Benefit for You Are Not Dead March 20

Saturday, March 20 at 8:00 p.m., a benefit for the play will be held at Little Mountain Gallery. Called Gone Too Soon, the event, hosted by Ryan Beil and comedian Craig Anderson, will feature the music of iconic artists whose lives were cut short, performed will featuring music by a variety of local musicians, including Zachary Gray of The Zolas, Debra Jean and Malcolm Jack of Sun Wizard. Doors open at 7:30, and tickets are $10 at the door.

You Are Not Dead: A guide to modern living is expected to open May 20, but keep checking the Black Pants website for the exact date and venue.