PuSh Blog

2022 PuSh Festival Curatorial Statement

November 24, 2021

PuSh has always been an accelerator, animating our imaginations and transforming our perspectives. The 2022 PuSh program is a timely catalyst, facilitating an emergence from our social hibernation with works that incept, evoke, activate, and confront. In a time when we are all making sense of where we are after what has come to pass, this year’s Festival line-up helps us situate ourselves in the complexity of human experience.

Several works make personal the economic structures that define us through interactive and interdisciplinary forms: Steve Lambert’s Capitalism Works For Me! True/False challenges us to examine our relationship to the economic system that underpins our lives, while Music Picnic / Njo Kong Kie’s I swallowed a moon made of iron 我咽下一枚铁做的月亮 brings the ideological into the emotional with a heart wrenching journey into the human cost of economic injustice. Our preoccupation with progress and its future fallout are dramatized in Do you mind if I sit here (Theatre Replacement); a futuristic telling best served with vodka. 

In dialogue with these works that address the values behind our economic systems are a series of works that offer nuanced and experience-driven perspectives on the social structures we navigate: AALAAPI | ᐋᓛᐱ  (Collectif Aalaapi | La Messe Basse) amplifies the diversity of contemporary Inuit experience and reminds us that listening can be a radical act, and Crows Theatre’s As You Like It: A Radical Retelling by Cliff Cardinal is a sardonic play on the artist’s role. Just Us Dance Theatre’s Born to Manifest arrests us with a complex portrayal of Black experience, created refreshingly, yet non-exclusively, for the Black gaze, and Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers, and Little Brothers (Tarragon Theatre and Black Theatre Workshop) is a metaphysical take on how Black lives are valued. In How to Fail as a Popstar, Vivek Shraya finds humour in the awkward spaces between the margins and pop appeal, and, with the empathic dramaturgy of VR, VIOLETTE (Joe Jack et John) invites us into the life experience of someone who is neurodivergent.

These explorations of our intersubjective constructs shift toward our subjective experiences with Songs For a Lost Pod (Leah Ambramson), a sonic, oceanic experience layered with reflections on the reverberating effects of human behaviour, and Ruby Singh’s Vox.Infold which bathes us in sound as a vessel for our emotional depths. As a site of inception, the subconscious is ignited in the kinetic, witchy wasteland of MAYDAY’s La Goddam Voie Lactée, and in Se prendre’s use of physical acrobatics as metaphor for the emotional (LION LION). In the immersive experience of The Café (Aphotic Theatre/ITSAZOO Productions), our intuition is free to guide us as we weave our own narrative through simultaneous streams of intimate dialogue.

This year, we will present fourteen original works, including two world, and two Canadian premieres that we hope will stimulate, shift, inspire, and compel. We are thrilled to be back presenting live performance and, we hope you will join us in-person, or online for select presentations!

Gabrielle Martin

Director of Programming, Collaborative Leadership Team

*We would like to express our gratitude to the contributions made to this program by former Artistic Executive Director Franco Boni and a former Associate Artistic Director Joyce Rosario