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Curatorial Statement – Still Standing You
December 11, 2012
This is simply whacked out. Two guys go at each other. I mean, really go at each other. Animalistic, hedonistic, brutalistic, even prehistoric… It’s not dance, it’s not theatre. There are no visuals, no recorded or live sound, save the grunts and vocalizations that pepper, populate and sustain this undefinable, unforgettable work. Still Standing Youis so demanding to perform, it can only be done two consecutive days in a row. Having more than one show in a day is out of the question.
I saw the piece in Montreal at the Festival TransAmériques. It’s one of my favourite festivals, and is one of the world’s finest. Its artistic director, Marie-Hélène Falcon, is one of the most intelligent, rigourous, bold and revered performing arts curators to be found anywhere in the world. In the very early stages of conceiving the PuSh Festival, she was a trusted advisor, supporter and confidant. She remains so to this day, and is a member of our Leaders Council.
Still Standing You is produced by CAMPO in Belgium. CAMPO, previously called Victoria, underwent a change of name a few years back when it amalgamated with another company and started running a number of venues. It has no set artist roster; it’s a sort of hothouse for both established and emerging artists. CAMPO is headed by Kristof Blom, who can be no more than 35. He was appointed from within, moving up from handling international relations to taking over from the company’s founder to become the artistic director.
To this day, I remember my first time meeting up with Kristof. We had tracked each other on our mobile phones, a sort of call and response, until we were literally a few feet away from each other in the dead of night. This was following a performance in the courtyard of the Palais de Pap in Avignon. We have remained colleagues and friends ever since.
Now you have to understand that CAMPO is a major force in the theatre and dance scene. Based in Ghent, CAMPO is in the heart of Flanders and right at the centre of the thriving Flemish performing arts scene.
PuSh has long history with CAMPO—many years back we presented Aalst. This was a deeply disturbing work that took stock of an infamous case of two Belgium parents who murdered their two young children. The play was at once an indictment of the welfare system, the two parents and the justice system. A heinous crime that was not made any more comprehensible by the extensive public records, testimony and journalistic accounts.
Interestingly enough, the director Pol Heyvert will be one of the instructors in Theatre Replacement’s inaugural New Aesthetics summer intensive next summer.
And a couple of yeas ago, Theatre Replacement and PuSh collaborated on a production of That Night Follows Day. This compelling work has children on stage speaking to what their parents have told them about the world, and how they are to think about it. Written by Tim Etchells of England’s Forced Entertainment (same folks behind past PuSh shows Exquisite Pain and Quizoola), the piece was a co-production with Seattle’s On the Boards—a long-time collaborator and PuSh Festival partner.
So… All this is to say that Still Standing You embraces and intersects with many salient aspects of the 2013 PuSh Festival. The most salient being the idea of “persistence” and the value of long-standing friendship. May we all live on, and on, and on.
PuSh Festival Executive Director For more information about this show, dates and to purchase tickets please visit our website.