PuSh Blog

Cineastas: Setting the Stage for Film – A Curatorial Statement by Norman Armour

December 28, 2014

Mariano Pensotti, Cineastas, 2015 PuSh Festival
The Cineastas double-stacked set | Photo by: Carlos Furman

This one is for the love of it. It’s for the love of film, the love of sophisticated, touching and wildly inventive writing. It’s for the love of cinema and for the love of an audacious concept carried off with flare and an orchestrated line of desire, loss and rebirth. It’s for the love of fiction, supposition, and speculative personal futures. It’s for the love of art and life, for how the two so often feed, affect and inflict each other. This is for the love of Mariano Pensotti and his love of the theatre.

Mariano has been in the PuSh Festival more than any other artist, and for good reason. His work hits home on so many levels, on so many of the things that PuSh and its audiences cherish. His love affair with the medium of theatre is tactile, riddled with black humour, laced with pathos, architecturally brave, conceptually mathematical, rigorous to the core, and deeply engaged with world and human aspiration, frailty and failure.

In short, I love him to death.

La Marea, Mariano Pensotti, PuSh Festival
Pensotti’s La Marea at the 2011 PuSh Festival staged on the streets of Gastown.

Now… all the love aside, the economies and efforts to present a work of this nature and scale are not without a bit of heavy-lifting. (The set alone weighs in at f&%#ing four tons.) The cost of shipping, by boat and then truck, is inconceivable without partnering with other performing arts festivals and institutions. The presentation of Cineastas here in Vancouver is part of an eight-city tour across North America: New York, Hanover, Minneapolis, Columbus, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle. Hundreds of emails, costing and re-costing, visa applications (for the US), federal tax waiver applications (for Canada and the US), fundraising initiatives, and lots and lots of planning and logistical considerations. And then throw in more planning for good measure.

Sometimes I think I can see you, Mariano Pensotti, PuSh Festival, Ciudades Paralelas
Mariano Pensotti’s ingeniously voyeuristic work Sometimes I think, I can see you (PuSh 2013) placed writers in public spaces as literary surveillance cameras.

Like many, I have often thought of Vancouver as the quintessential “film town.” This work is a homage to film. It continues Pensotti’s interest in the omniscient narrator as a way of opening theatre to the possibilities of storytelling that the novel, short story and medium of film so nonchalantly take for granted. Be warned though: Cineastas is no leisurely walk in the park; it’s a torrent of language and action. Cineastas is an act of fiction, of pure invention. It’s theatrical bravado at its most liberating. A farce of the human spirit. At the end of it all, your brain and heart will be left short of breath.

Norman Armour

Artistic & Executive Director

Cineastas, Mariano Pensotti’s latest production to be presented by the PuSh Festival, runs February 5–7, 2015, at the Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Tickets to Cineastas are available to book on the PuSh Pass, Youth Passport, or as single tickets via Tickets Tonight.