Curatorial Statement — Super Night Shot: “What does one open the 10th anniversary PuSh Festival with?”
November 14, 2013
It’s not an easy question:
What does one open the 10th anniversary PuSh Festival with?
Do we bring back a show, an audience favourite, a particularly memorable or provocative piece? Perhaps we present a treasured artist, local or otherwise. Or how about simply throwing a party? Do we reflect on the past, speak of the future, or make some form of new bold statement on what PuSh aspires to? Then again, we could explore a timely thematic, or parse out various thoughts on the state of things in the arts and elsewhere.
We chose Super Night Shot.
The creators are Gob Squad, a Berlin-based collective of German and British performing artists that have been on PuSh’s radar for several years. As with so many curatorial decisions, the selection of a particular show, group and/or artist is a few years in the making. I’ve experienced Super Night Shot a couple of times. Once a few years back in Oldenburg, Germany at the PAZZ Festival, and again in Austin, Texas at the Fusebox Festival. Incidentally, these festivals are founded and curated by two of my most beloved colleagues: Thomas Kraus and Ron Berry. (Alternatively, I saw Gob Squad’s Kitchen—also part of PuSh 2014—at Portland’s TBA Festival last fall.) I’d be hiding the truth if I didn’t confess that the idea for doing both Super Night Shot and Kitchen in the same festival was a spark of genius suggested by another colleague and trusted partner, Lane Czaplinski of Seattle’s On the Boards.
Now I must admit that the first time I saw the Super Night Shot I was not totally won over. I certainly enjoyed the company’s verve, was impressed by the wacky energy of the work, and took notice of the audience’s undeniable exuberance for the eventful nature of the piece. But I remained circumspect. Ah, but time and context… In Austin, a year later, I was blown over. I found myself swept up in the evening’s sense of joy, it’s giddy rollercoaster-type ride, and the clever way in which the city and its inhabitants shone at centre stage. Super Night Shot works and succeeds on many different levels. At its heart it is a simple parlour game of monstrous risk. Impossible to explain. Futile to recount. High concept, low tech. In this case, translates as: It’s all about the human quest within the tale told.
It’s no small thing for the PuSh Festival to launch our 10th anniversary at the Vancouver Playhouse. The venue and its namesake (Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company) have been the subject of sad and unfortunate news over the past 18 months. The closing of the theatre company (after 49 years of operations!) led to many discussions regarding the vitality (and viability) of the city’s arts scene.
There but for the grace of God go us.
For the PuSh Festival reaching 10 years is a major feat—something we are certainly proud of, just as much grateful for. And rather than look back, we have chosen to embrace the moment, to state unequivocally that Vancouver’s performing arts community is alive and well.
The evening of January 14, 2014 at the Vancouver Playhouse will be like nothing you have ever experienced—and ever will again. It will honour the spirit of what PuSh was founded on. It will be a statement of sorts. And it will definitely be a party.
Join us for the evening’s wild ride, a piece of cake, a scoop of ice cream, and a toast or two. We are 10 years old!
Artistic & Executive Director