THEATRE PREVIEW

DECEMBer 2022 | Volume 222

 

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PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Various Vancouver venues and select programming online
Jan. 19-Feb. 5
From $34 in person, $25 online + PWYC & Free
www.pushfestival.ca or 604-449-6000
 BUY TICKETS


PuSh International Performing Arts Festival 2023 Presents a Vibrant and Dynamic Line-up of Experimental Artists

The 18-day festival presents an emotionally honest, politically daring program of spell-binding dance, eclectic music, groundbreaking theatre, innovative multimedia, and cutting-edge circus extravaganzas

PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (PuSh) presents its 19th annual edition from January 19 to February 5, 2023 at various venues across the Lower Mainland and select programming online. PuSh is Vancouver’s signature, mid-winter cultural event, taking place each January in theatres and venues across the city. PuSh delivers groundbreaking, contemporary works of theatre, dance, music, multimedia, and circus by acclaimed local, national, and international artists.

Featuring 20 original works from twelve countries,the festival line-up is dedicated to creative risk-taking and dynamic interdisciplinary collaboration. The 2023 PuSh Festival includes six world premieres, one North American debut, along with six Canadian and two Western Canadian openings and one Vancouver premiere. In addition to a strong Canadian presence, PuSh will also present works from Zimbabwe, Belgium, South Africa, South Korea, France, Argentina, Bulgaria, India, Italy, United Kingdom, Finland, and the United States.

International companies/artists being presented for PuSh 2023 include Ontroerend Goed (Belgium), Race Horse Company (Finland), Ivo Dimchev (Bulgaria), Tiziano Cruz (Argentina), norachipaumire (Zimbabwe/US), Cie 7bis (Argentina/France/Italy), Smaïl Kanouté (France), Moya Michael (South Africa/Belgium), Jaha Koo (South Korea/Belgium), Rakesh Sukesh (India/Belgium), Joby Burgess (UK).

Canadian companies/artists being presented include; Émilie Monet/Onishka (Montreal), Alan Lake Factorie (Montreal), Boca del Lupo (Vancouver), Electric Company Theatre (Vancouver), The Elbow/ItaiErdal (Vancouver), Delinquent Theatre/Lisa Ravensbergen (Unceded Coast Salish Territory, MST), Marcus Youssef (local collaborator with Rakesh Sukesh - Vancouver), Christopher Willes & Adam Kinner (Toronto/Montreal), New Dance Horizons (Regina), Itsazoo Productions & Aphotic Theatre (Unceded Coast Salish Territory, MST).

We are excited to be working alongside long-standing and new partners including Talking Stick, The Dance Centre, Music on Main, Touchstone Theatre, Anvil Theatre, plastic orchid factory, SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs, School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU, UBC Department of Theatre & Film, Boca del Lupo, Living Things Festival, Vancouver Public Library, the frank theatre co., The Black Arts Centre, Solid State Community Industries, Vancouver Civic Theatres, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, and Granville Island Theatre District.
In July, PuSh announced the permanent appointment of cultural producer and performance curator Gabrielle Martin in her role as Director of Programming and member of the Collaborative Leadership Team with Keltie Forsyth, Director of Operations, and Dr. Margo Kane, Director of Indigenous Initiatives.

“I was inspired by what can be achieved within community, as our partners were fundamental in connecting Festival artists to new and returning audiences,” Martin says of her time with PuSh over the past year.“We returned to our mandate of facilitating transformative experiences through live performance and, buoyed by this experience, it has been an honour to curate the 2023 Festival. We are prioritizing innovative works that have a sense of necessity; that wake us up or offer new dreams for the disenchanted. Delivering a festival takes a community, and PuSh continues to centre collaboration.”

This year the always anticipated Club PuSh, the festival’s platform for outside-of-the-box work and intimate cabaret experiences, runs from February 2-4 at 9pm at Performance Works. The three nights of Club PuSh will be curated by Vancouver collaborators: the frank theatre company, Talking Stick, and The Black Arts Centre.

For Festival Goers looking to keep the festival vibes going into the night, this is the place to be. Club PuSh is a spot to enjoy drinks, connect with our artists, and party with fellow PuSh-goers. It’s also the venue for fantastic performances in a relaxed, casual atmosphere, with each evening curated by a different company of artists.

The PuSh Industry Series returns, in partnership with Talking Stick to stimulate dialogue with the national and international performing arts community. Expect Industry Series programming that aims to bring us back into community with each other after so much time apart. After two years of digital convening, the Industry Series is back and in-person! Programming will include workshops, artist talks, curated pitches, walks with local artists, and social events. This week-long series is an opportunity for professional artists, cultural workers, and arts enthusiasts to connect with one another, engage in thought-provoking discussion, and experience transformative performances together.

PuSh also continues to offer Youth Programming, in partnership with Solid State Community Industries, for participants aged 16-24.This is our way to engage, support, and uplift a whole new generation of arts enthusiasts by providing greater access to the performing arts via discounted tickets, educational opportunities, and stimulating conversation.

PuSh 2023 is a poignant reminder of the power the arts have in bringing communities together to effect change.

PuSh Passes and single tickets for the 2023 PuSh Festival are available at pushfestival.ca

PUSH FESTIVAL PERFORMANCES

Lolling and Rolling —Jaha Koo / CAMPO (South Korea/Belgium)
MULTIMEDIA
Jan 19-21 at 7:30pm | Performance Works + Jan 19-22 | Online
Western Canadian Premiere

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Video, music and monologue come together as Jaha Koo takes on linguistic imperialism. The main subject is the South Korean phenomenon of tongue-tie surgery, a procedure that makes it easier for patients to pronounce the English “r” sound. Mixing music and projections, Jaha Koo shines a light on cultural oppression and the loss of identity it entails.

Never Twenty One —SmaïlKanouté / Compagnie Vivons! (France)
DANCE
Jan 19-21 at 8pm | Scotiabank Dance Centre
Presented with The Dance Centre
Vancouver Premiere

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Smaïl Kanouté’s production is a lament, a tribute and a protest. Through evocative, urban-inflected movements, three dancers pay homage to Black men who have lost their lives in New York, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. The show has both a heartbreaking specificity and a global significance.

Coloured Swan 3: Harriet’s reMix— Moya Michael / AnAku& KVS (South Africa/Belgium)
DANCE
Jan 20-22 (Jan 20-21 at 7:30pm + Jan 22 at 2pm) | Orpheum Annex
Canadian Premiere

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Moya Michael’s fantastically creative opus blends music, contemporary dance, digital projection, audience interaction and wild vocal effects for a futuristic meditation on time, politics and human history. Thematically, the performance is as rich as can be, but it wears its profundity lightly; you might call it a party for the mind.

The Seventh Fire — Delinquent Theatre / Unceded Coast Salish Territory, MST)
IMMERSIVE AUDIO PERFORMANCE INSPIRED BY CEREMONY                                                                                                                                              
Jan 25–29 + Feb 1-5 (Jan 25-27 & Feb 1-3 at 6pm, 8pm + Jan 28-29& Feb 4-5 at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm + Feb 4 at 12pm | Lobe Studio                                                        
World Premiere                

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The Seventh Fire is an immersive audio performance inspired by ceremony and created by Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen that sources traditional, oral Anishinaabe stories as a way to evoke ceremony in the everyday. Cooke Ravenbergen’s creation blurs time and space, bringing emotional and ancestral connection into being through deep collaboration with sound designer Mishelle Cuttler and a matriarchal creative team.

A Percussionist’s Songbook — Joby Burgess (UK)
MUSIC
Jan 25–26 at 7:30pm | Orpheum Annex
Presented with Music on Main
Canadian Premiere

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Ace percussionist Joby Burgess performs his new album of “songs without words.” The specially commissioned pieces are inspired by sources as diverse as Saudi Arabian folklore and the prose of Michael Ondaatje, and the musical range on display is dizzying. Burgess moves through many different setups throughout the evening, chatting with the audience as he does so.

Lontano + Instante— Compagnie 7bis / Juan Ignacio Tula and Marica Marinoni (France/Argentina/Italy)
CIRCUS / DANCE
Jan 26–28 at 8pm | Scotiabank Dance Centre + Jan 26-29 | Online
Post-show talkback: Jan 26
Presented with Inner Fish

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These dazzling shows feature the Cyr wheel, a large metal ring made for perpetual motion. The acrobatic performers spin the wheel for all it’s worth, each enacting a pas de deux between human and object. The results are as thrilling as they are hypnotic.

Les cri des méduses — Alan Lake Factorie (Canada)
DANCE
Jan 27–28 at 7:30pm | Vancouver Playhouse + Jan 27-30 | Online
Post-show talkback: Jan 27
Western Canadian Premiere

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Powerful, seductive and ultimately unclassifiable, this performance is inspired by Géricault’s famous painting The Raft of Medusa. Choreographer Alan Lake has taken that painting’s beauty and pathos and transposed it to the stage, adding his own brilliance. Featuring ambient music, nine dancers and an ever-shifting scenography, this is a triumph of the imagination.

The Café—Aphothic Theatre / ITSAZOO Productions in partnership with The Cultch’s RE/PLAY Digital Playground (Unceded Coast Salish Territory, MST)
IMMERSIVE THEATRE: LIVE or DIGITAL
In-Person Immersive Experience: Jan 27-29 | Kafka's Coffee and Bakery + Digital Immersive Experience: Feb 2-5

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The Café invites audiences to explore seven vignettes by nine playwrights of various ethnicities, ages, beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities. This sold-out, critically lauded live production has now been transformed into an online immersive experience that allows audience members to wander through the virtual setting from home, using only a web browser.

Soliloquio (I woke up and hit my head against the wall) — Tiziano Cruz (Argentina)
PERFORMATIVE LECTURE
Jan 27–29 (Jan 27-28 at 7:30pm + Jan 29 at 2pm) | Roundhouse Performance Centre
Post-show talkback: Jan 29
Presented with the frank theatre co.
Canadian Premiere

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Tiziano Cruz’s performative monologue is based on a series of letters he wrote to his mother in 2020; he uses them as a starting point for a critique of economic, racial and institutional oppression in contemporary Argentina and, by extension, elsewhere as well.

MANUAL — Adam Kinner and Christopher Willes (Canada)
INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE
Jan 28–Feb 1: 11:40am to 6pm (every 20 mins) | Vancouver Public Library Central Branch
Presented with the Vancouver Public Library (VPL)
FREE (ticketed)

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In this one-on-one experience, participants are guided through a sensory journey in a public library via written notes and immersive audio. What MANUAL offers, besides an exciting adventure, is an usual experience of listening and looking––a chance to renew your senses.

afternow — norachipaumire (Zimbabwe/USA)
MULTIMEDIA INSTALLATION / MUSIC
Installation: Jan 28 & 29, Jan 31- Feb 5 from 12pm to 7:30pm
Dub Nights: Jan 28 & Feb 1 from 9pm to 11:30pm| Roundhouse Exhibition Hall
Presented with The Black Arts Centre
Canadian Premiere

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Loud, proud and militant, this installation features three video portraits, one contemporary opera and one booming stereo system. From those ingredients, norachipaumire builds a bridge between African spirituality and contemporary art forms.afternowis a model for resistance and reclamation.

Red Phone — Boca delLupo (Canada)
IMMERSIVE THEATRE INSTALLATION
Installation runs Jan 29–Feb 4 (Jan 29-31 from 3pm to 7pm + Feb 2-4 from 3pm to 9pm (dark Feb 1) | The Fishbowl
FREE (3 to 15 mins interactive performances, ongoing)

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In this inclusive, intimate experience, participants are given an opportunity to act out dialogues in pairs; the site of the performances is a set of fully enclosed phone booths, each equipped with a teleprompter. This is a work that democratizes theatre and erases the line between artist and audience.

because i love the diversity (this micro-attitude, we all have it) — Rakesh Sukesh (India/Belgium)
DANCE
Jan 29-31 at 7:30pm | Performance Works
Post-show talkback: Jan 30
Presented with The CULTCH
World Premiere

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Rakesh Sukesh’s solo performance uses dance, music, and text to embody inner turmoil, and to interrogate the political use of technology. Sukesh’s explicit subject is racial profiling, but his movements, his rhythms, and his discourse have much wider implications. He uses provocation for political ends; in the unsettling truths he enacts lies a gesture toward liberation.

An Undeveloped Sound — Electric Company Theatre / (Unceded Coast Salish Territory, MST)  
THEATRE
Previews: Jan 30 & 31 at 7:30pm, Run: Feb 1 -4 at 7:30pm (extended run until Feb 11) | Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at SFU
Presented with Electric Company Theatre & SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs
World Premiere

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This beguiling creation features four spokespeople hired to represent a mysterious development. Using Goethe’s Faust as a loose template, writer-director Jonathon Young applies its core themes to the issue of communication itself: caught between the forces of development and destruction, the spokespeople are on a quest to say what can’t be said.

Are we not drawn onward to a new erA— Ontroerend Goed (Belgium)
THEATRE
Feb 1-4 at 7:30pm | Frederick Wood Theatre at UBC
Presented with UBC Theatre & Film Department
Canadian Premiere

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The title is a palindrome, and so is the play itself: we see and hear the same actions twice, with time inverted in each section. It’s a marvel of technique, a wonder to behold, and a pointed metaphor for the climate crisis, how it can be understood and where we can find hope.

Selfie Concert — Ivo Dimchev (Bulgaria)
MUSIC
Feb 2-3 at 7:30pm | Left of Main
Presented with plastic orchid factory
Canadian Premiere

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The concept is simple: no stage, no hierarchy and no performance from camp crooner Ivo Dimchev unless people are taking selfies with him. The singer-songwriter comes equipped with a synth, an ethereal voice, and a desire to spread communion. You may come for the beautiful ballads and stay for the selfies, or vice versa; either way, this concert is revelatory.

Okinum — Productions Onishka with AnAku (Canada)
THEATRE
Feb 2-3 at 7:30pm | Anvil Theatre + Feb 2-5 | Online
Post-show talkback: Feb 2
Presented with Anvil Theatre & Touchstone Theatre

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Speaking three languages, Émilie Monnet interprets a recurring dream and transmits a message of empowerment to the audience. This monologue performance, scored live by Jackie Gallant, portrays Monnet’s quest to reconnect with her Anishinaabe ancestry and language. Making creative use of live sound and visual storytelling techniques, this is a hypnotic, cathartic experience.

THIS & the last caribou — New Dance Horizons (Canada)
DANCE
Feb 2-4 (Feb 2-3 at 7:30pm + Feb 4 at 2:30pm | Orpheum Annex
Post-show Talkback: Feb 3
Two World Premieres

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THIS & the last caribou is a series of three works, each of which explores our place in relation to history and nature. A solitary figure adrift on a carpet of ice; waves and a candy-coloured clown; a caribou dancer and their shadow–all this and more comprise a poetic, meditative experience.

Talking Stick @ Club PuSh (Canada)
February 2 at 9pm | Club PuSh at Performance Works
CLUB PUSH

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This evening of genre-blending madness mashes the music of Indigenous ancestors with the breaks, cuts, and booming bass of contemporary dance grooves. It’s an excitingly eclectic mix of styles, honouring traditional Indigenous idioms while presenting them in a thoroughly modern context. Enjoy this diverse lineup of artists in a mellow environment, with visuals to complement the propulsive rhythms.

Soldiers of Tomorrow — The Elbow Theatre (Canada)
THEATRE 
Feb 3-5 (Feb 3-4 at 7:30pm + Feb 5 at 2pm) | The Roundhouse Performance Centre                  
Post-show talkback: Feb 4                                                         
Presented with The Elbow Theatre/ItaiErdal
World Premiere

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Alongside a Syrian-born musician, a former IDF soldier relates his actions in the army, exploring his personal culpability in the face of complex geopolitical forces in his former country–a place that he loves “with a broken heart”.

The Black Arts Centre @ Club PuSh (Canada)
February 3 at 9pm | Club PuSh at Performance Works
CLUB PUSH

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Owned and operated by young Black creatives, this Surrey-based organization provides a space for both creation and community gathering. Hybrid in its approach and eclectic in its programming, the Black Arts Centre hosts exhibitions, events, workshops and more, with a goal of fostering creativity in the underserved Black community. In their first collaboration with PuSh, the Black Arts Centre draws from a variety histories and cultures across the Black Diaspora, exploring both traditional elements and modern modes of performing arts, rhythm, movement, storytelling and connection.

O’DD — Race Horse Company (Finland)
CIRCUS                                                                                                                                           
Feb 4-5 (Feb 4 at 7:30pm + Feb 5 at 2pm) | Vancouver Playhouse + Feb 2-5 | Online  
Post-show talkback: Feb 4                                                                                                   
North American Premiere

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This mesmerizing circus performance begins with an evocation of birth and follows an acrobatic man through phases of existence. There’s a strong sci-fi tinge to the show, with both man and objects given symbolic weight. Brilliantly designed, beautifully scored and full of superb acrobatics, O’DD is true poetry in motion.

the frank theatre co. @ Club PuSh (Canada)
February 4 at 9pm | Club PuSh at Performance Works
CLUB PUSH

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This venerable company, long-time collaborators with PuSh, plays a major role in the city’s artistic ecosystem. This season, they follow their co-presentation of Soliloquio with a cabaret featuring immigrant and queer artists of colour. Provocative and radically creative, this program features drag, music and performance art, all of it designed to provoke, to challenge and to help lay down the groundwork for resistance.

PUSH PASSES
PuSh Passes are the best way to experience the PuSh Festival. Pass holders save up to 25% off single tickets and receive free admission to all Club PuSh nights. Limited quantities.
Four-Show Pass: $120
Six-Show Pass: $180
Youth Pass: Four-Show Pass: $20 (16 to 24 years old)
Digital Pass: $100 (includes 5 of the streaming performances, with The Café being offered as PWYC via The Cultch).

TICKETS
Single tickets start at $34 in-person, $25 online, plus PWYC and FREE events. To buy tickets, visit pushfestival.ca or call the PuSh Festival Audience Services info line at 604.449.6000.

INDUSTRY SERIES
January 29 to February 5
PuSh Industry Series events and access Industry Pass: $60

MORE INFORMATION
Please see the comprehensive 2023 program guide that will be available at pushfestival.ca starting on November 23. You can also reach us at info@pushfestival.ca or 604.605.8284.

About the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (pushfestival.ca)
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is Vancouver’s signature, mid-winter cultural event, taking place over three weeks each January in theatres and venues across the city. PuShpresents groundbreaking, contemporary works of theatre, dance, music, multimedia, and circus by acclaimed local, national, and international artists.

Website:pushfestival.ca
Social Media: @pushfestival#PuSh2023


 

 

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Vancouver's arts and culture website providing theatre news, previews and reviews