PuSh Blog

City of Dreams – Curatorial Statement

December 21, 2010

by Caleb Johnston, Artistic Director, Urban Crawl

The opportunity to adapt City of Dreams in Vancouver was not to be missed. I began to form a sense of this piece as my conversations with London-director Peter Reder deepened. I gleaned bits of video of the show’s light-filled performance in Singapore set afire by hundreds of tee-candles, and then the tracing of sand set against a styrofoam skyline of Brisbane. These snippets of other places filled my imagination with powerful images. What would such a mapping look like in Vancouver? I was hooked.

Over the past ten years, City of Dreams has traveled widely, and in each setting offered a compelling exploration of the city. The piece is an act of remembering, searching for what survives in memory. In this work, we offer an evocative engagement with Vancouver, with all that enters into our shared imagining of the city. We explore the narratives that surround us, those that lie just beneath the daily traffic that skims the paved surface of the urban landscape, be that reflected in the storefronts of Hastings, the lingering memories of English Bay, or in the glittering lights of Yaletown. What captures your place in the city? A memory? A smell? A chance encounter? What histories lie at the street corner? What hopes and sufferings? City of Dreams delves into this imagined and performed landscape. We come together to not only trace individual lines of inquiry but also to construct a collective, poetic image of Vancouver. Our production is the latest mooring of City of Dreams as it continues its circumnavigation of the globe. It is a moment for us to animate the identity of the city through sounds, images, and objects situated in space. It with the greatest pleasure that I present this work at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. It is a testament to the festival’s commitment to innovative practices and its support of transnational collaborations that enrich Vancouver’s dynamic theatre community. Enjoy.

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