Provocative theatre from Belgium—magic, music and a planet devoid of humanity

The World Without Us imagines a post-human world.

This month, the Cultch—Vancouver’s favourite purveyors of provocative Belgian theatre _presents two shows: The History of the World (Based on Banalities) and The World Without Us.

One is a full-scale production featuring magic, music and a story about family; the other is a monologue (or “zero-logue,” as performer Karolien De Bleser puts it) guiding us through a post-human world.

The History of the World runs Apr 25 – May 5 at the York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr.), while The World Without Us runs April 17-29 at the Cultch Historic Theatre (1895 Venables St.). Find out more below.

In The History of the World (Based on Banalities), a young man moves back home to be with his mother. He has a predilection for magic; she is a scientist with Alzheimer’s. Live music and magic accompany their story, with Belgian rock star Geoffrey Burton appearing as a hooded and mysterious figure, providing the former and Belgian performer Titus De Voogdt bringing the illusions. The production is the creation of Belgian theatre company Kopergietery, which focuses on theatre for young people.

“There are conjuring tricks, meted out with a perfect sense of balance and surprise… The result is a sparkling, shimmering performance,” according to De Standaard.

“A fast-paced gem about having to say goodbye to your nearest and dearest… so full of quick-witted, comical play that it yields dazzling theatre,” says KNACK.be’s Els Van Steenberghe.

Titus De Voogdt and Geoffrey Burton in The History of the World. Photo by Phile Deprez.

From the same company that brought the unusual theatrical experience Fight Night to Vancouver comes World Without Us. In the piece from Belgian company Ontroerend Goed, a woman (Karolien De Bleser) imagines an Earth completely devoid of humanity. “With this performance, I’m not only trying to track the slow material decay of our civilization and the recovery process of the earth, I also want to investigate what it means to be human,” says co-creator and director Alexander Devriendt in the media release.

“There’s a double layer in it, almost like a question: does ‘The world’ really exist without humans to perceive it or name it?”

“A metaphysical and meditative monologue that raises questions about our place in the cosmos…wonderfully imaginative…It is compelling and lingers long after the house lights return,” according to a four-star review in The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Compelling, inventively written and implacably delivered,” says The Stage (UK).

The History of the World (Based on Banalities)

When: Apr 25 – May 5, 2018
Where: York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr.)
Tickets: from $22 at 604-251-1363 and tWHEN: Apr 17 – 29, 2018

World Without Us

When: April 17-29
Where: Cultch Historic Theatre (1895 Venables St.)
Tickets: from $22 at 604-251-1363 and tickets.thecultch.com

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