New Year’s Resolution: attend more arts shows. It’s an easy one to check off this January, with some great productions coming to the stage.
Black Boys and Topdog/Underdog examine overlooked facets of Black experience, while Hot Brown Honey, Ruined and SHIT do similar things for women.
Mufti-disciplinary PuSh Festival is back as well, and we’ve picked a few eyebrow-raising shows as a starting point.
For those of us turning over a new leaf, here are some Vancouver arts shows to chase away the winter blues.
“Taking down the master’s house with the master’s tools,” Hot Brown Honey features a cast of talented women from diverse backgrounds. Calling out the patriarchy never gets old in this theatrical spectacular, featuring dance and poetry alongside striptease and Hip Hop politics. This bold and sassy posse out of Australia will defy stereotypes, push boundaries, and—most importantly—make for one entertaining night out.
On any given day at the beach, you can’t but help notice all of the tankers off the coast of English Bay. Here’s a play near and dear to Vancouver’s heart, written by locals, about our province’s uncomfortable relationship to Canada’s oil industry. The Pipeline Project is half an investigation of the political and cultural battles over the current state of pipelines, and half an interactive Talk Back, featuring a different speaker every night.
Two cash-strapped millennials feature in this locally-penned play about the unique struggles of this generation. Living together in a tiny, pricey apartment above a hospital, the twenty-somethings grapple with their futures—or what’s left of life choices after rent, student loans, and the occasional avocado toast.
Black Boys is an exploration of queer male Blackness, a topic rarely explored in theatre. Taking cues from the lives of the three performers, the Black male body and experience is reexamined in an intimate, honest, and ultimately healthier context.
The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival is more than just an event – it’s a proud Vancouver institution. Back for its lucky 13th year, the festival consistently pushes boundaries across a variety of formats and disciplines, and this year’s lineup is no exception. We’ve picked a few shows with unique formats to get you started.
Two African-American brothers are set against each other when only one can come out on top. Coping with racism, gambling, and their troubled childhoods, the two brothers look for easy money in the cards to lift them out of poverty. An off-Broadway production which received the Pulitzer Prize, Topdog/Underdog is all about the life of hustle—and the people you have to climb over on your way to the top.
Rekindle your love of the night sky at this themed party at the planetarium, with a decidedly 19+ affair featuring local beer, wine and board games. At Cosmic Nights, take in a staple planetarium show or attend a lecture on Multiverse theory, as the Space Centre opens late for one special evening.
Set in the Republic of the Congo during a brutal civil war, Ruined follows the plight of women in a small mining town. Mama Nadi runs a bar and pimps out her waitresses, playing both sides of the conflict to keep the war out of her business. This Pulitzer-winning drama asks some hard questions on what people do for survival.
Theatre doesn’t have to be polite, and SHIT is undisputedly the best example of potty-mouthed performance art on offer this January. Especially since it’s women doing all of the traditionally unwomenly things—swearing, spitting, stealing, just to name a few. Going between family problems, foster care, and losing faith about society, SHIT has no easy answers.