PuSh Festival Preview: 5 must-see shows, Jan 15-Feb 3

Photo courtesy of PuSh Festival.

The PuSh Festival – highlighting groundbreaking work in the performing arts – is set to descend on Vancouver from Jan. 15-Feb. 3.  More than 160 edgy, provocative performances will be held over 20 days, highlighting theatre, dance, music and multimedia from around the world.

In its ninth year, PuSh embraces 18 Main Series shows, three weeks of Club PuSh (for cutting-edge, experimental work), a free film series and even Dine Out events paired with Vancouver restaurants.

With so much going on, deciding which shows to see can be a little overwhelming.  Here are five picks of PuSh to get your creative juices flowing:

Ride the Cyclone: This darkly comic musical is about a high school chamber choir that perishes in a roller-coaster accident while on a trip to the amusement park.  The ghostly choir reunites to sing about their aspirations and thwarted dreams in one final concert.  Jan. 17-Feb. 16; Arts Club Granville Island Stage; from $29. 

Do You See What I Mean: Participants are blindfolded, then led on a 2.5-tour of the “streets, storefronts and secret spaces” of Vancouver in this unique piece of in situ art, which premiered in Lyon, France.  The deeply transformative experience is partly sponsored by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Jan. 25-Jan. 27, Feb. 1-3; departing from Access Gallery; from $31. 

King Lear: From Taiwan comes this unique one-man performance of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy.  The athletic virtuoso Wu Hsing-Kuo performs the entire play solo in the style of traditional Peking Opera.  Offered in Mandarin with English surtitles.  Feb. 1-Feb. 2; Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts; from $34. 

Human Library: This interactive exhibit staged at the Vancouver Public Library has participants choose titles like “Drag Queen” or “Refugee” from a catalog.  Rather than getting a book, they are then connected with an actual person for an informal conversation designed to challenge stereotypes and open eyes.  Jan. 18-Jan. 20, Jan. 25-Jan. 27, Feb. 1-Feb. 3; Vancouver Public Library Central Library; free. 

Sometimes I think, I can see you: From Buenos Aires, Argentina, comes this thought provoking piece of very public art.  Vancouver writers are stationed in public spaces, working on laptops connected to projection screens.  The beautiful, spontaneous and sometimes shocking fictions they create about the world around them are shown in real time for all to admire or critique.  Jan. 18-Jan. 20, Jan. 25-Jan. 27, Feb. 1-Feb. 3; Vancouver Public Library Central Library; free.

For the complete lineup of performances and activities and info on tickets and the flexible PuShPass, check out the PuSh website.

Have another pick of PuSh?  Let us know which shows you’ll be checking out below.  

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.

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