The 2017 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival began Jan. 16, but there’s still over two weeks’ worth of shows before the annual event ends Feb. 5. Sexy, thrilling and often thought-provoking, PuSh is a chance to see cutting-edge theatre you won’t get a chance to see anywhere else. Here are a few recommendations.
Sweat Baby Sweat – The Evening Standard called this dance performance “A seriously intimate duet…. It evokes exactly the clammy-bodied, wide-eyed, post-coital state of exhausted exhilaration, and it shows that all-consuming desire can be difficult and destructive too.” In this piece from the Netherlands, “dancers Kimmy Ligtvoet and Steven Michel enact a story of love with their bodies, complemented by music and projected text. It’s minimalism with maximum exertion: the two embrace, grip and lift each other in the most difficult positions, pushing their bodies to the extreme. Romance and sexuality are reduced to their physical essence, and the sense of impending exhaustion has an erotic edge.” Watch the trailer here. On at the Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie. St.) Jan 19 and 20 (8 p.m.).
By Heart – In this piece from Tiago Rodrigues of Portugal’s Teatro Nacional D. Maria, Rodriguez helps 10 volunteers from the audience learn a poem. Along the way, he shares stories of writers, their books and characters, as well as his grandmother, who instilled a love of reading in her family. Jan 19-21 at Performance Works (1218 Cartwright St.).
The City and the City – In this play, two Vancouver companies adapt a novel by British science-fiction author China Miéville. In The City and the City, two cities co-exist in the same place, with residents of both forbidden from seeing each other. Party murder mystery, part speculative-fiction puzzler, The City and the City should satisfy fans of adventurous theatre. Jan 24 – Feb 5 at Russian Hall (600 Campbell St.).
Zappa Meets Varese & Oswald: The Present Day Composer Refuses to Die – In this concert Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble and Canadian composer John Oswald pay tribute to both rock musician Frank Zappa and one of Zappa’s earliest influences, Edgard Varèse. Oswald and the 30-piece ensemble perform work by both Zappa and Varèse, who many regard as one of the twentieth century’s great composers. Jan 27-29 at the Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.
Mouthpiece – In this piece, Toronto performance artists Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava use vocal impressions, singing and everyday observations as they play two halves of the same woman. The performers sit together in a bathtub, reflecting on the loss of their/her mother. “The emphasis here is on female assertion and submission, on the boundaries of personal identity, on the many ways in which we divide ourselves as subjects,” according to the PuSh Festival site. Jan 31 – Feb 5 at the Cultch Historic Theatre (1895 Venables St.).
The PuSh Festival is on now until Feb. 5. For tickets, performance times and more info visit pushfestival.ca.