Free Aerial Theatre Comes to Stanley Park

bocaThink of it as Cirque du Soleil meets Lewis Carroll.

After a long absence, Vancouver’s acrobatic theatre troupe Boca Del Lupo is back with a new production, Fall Away Home, staged for free amidst the forests of Stanley Park, Aug. 24-Sept. 1.

The troupe earned a loyal local following and international reputation with its annual summer performances, staged high in the tree canopy of Stanley Park and filled with aerial stunts. But when a devastating 2006 storm snapped many of the park’s tallest trees, Boca del Lupo was forced to go back to the drawing board.

The new performance turns to 16 massive shipping containers – stacked three and four stories high – to provide an acrobatic lift.  Fall Away Home offers a modern-day twist on Alice in Wonderland, bringing together theatre, animation, dazzling aerial maneuvers and zany contraptions.

The good-hearted play also explores a very mature theme – human trafficking.  The story begins when a young girl hears a knock from inside one of the set’s shipping containers. She goes to investigate and, just like the proverbial Alice, ends up falling into her own imagination, envisioning the long journey that led to that knock.

But while the play does trace a series of harrowing scenes –  abduction, confinement, the buying and selling of people and, ultimately, escape – the tone is lightened through extensive crowd interaction.  At various points, the audience is invited to join along in a flash-mob-style dance, don blindfolds to imagine what it would be like inside a shipping container and pretend they are wards of the state.

At the same time, hand-painted animation is projected onto the shipping containers, which become enormous movie screens.  The result is an all-ages show that kids will find visually fascinating and adults will be able to dig into, as well.

Fall Away Home is part of Stanley Park’s 125th anniversary celebrations, which also include live music at Second Beach, eco-walks, sports, children’s festivities and more (details here).  The play is staged in the Stanley Park Service Yard Parking Lot and is free. Performances are Aug. 24, 25, 29 and 31 and Sept. 1 at 8 p.m.  

Has anyone seen the production of Fall Away Home? What did you think? 

For more updates on happenings in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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