Vancouver’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival opens (Jan. 20 – Feb. 6, 2010)
Among the productions commissioned for this year’s festival are a number of experimental works including a new work by Rimini Protokoll inspired by the Vancouver video game industry and titled Best Before, in which the audience is given remote controllers that enable audience participation; the work Jerk by Gisèle Vienne (France) which takes the form of a play within a play to present a pseudo psychology class dealing with the subject of a Texas serial killer now serving a term of life imprisonment; a live puppet animation work titled KAMP by Hotel Modern (the Netherlands) that deals with the facts of what happened at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War II; and a work by Nature Theater of Oklahoma titled Poetics: a ballet brut that is composed entirely of the common gestures of everyday life as performed by people with no dance training whatsoever.
This Vancouver festival has been the focus of growing attention in recently and has helped put the city on the map of Canadian performing arts centers along with Montreal and Toronto. The festival uses several venues in the Vancouver metropolitan area. The program covers the genre of theater, dance and music with a mission of providing “the very best in contemporary performance” selected from Canadian works. In addition, a selection of ambitious contemporary performing arts from overseas are also presented, albeit on a smaller scale. The successful 2009 festival gathered a total audience of 23,000 during its run. Japanese artists performing at that 2009 festival included Toshiki Okada’s Chelfitsch and Hiroaki Umeda. The festival schedule also features meetings for presenters and other events to encourage networking.