Six must-see shows at the 2016 PuSh Performing Arts Festival

Christina Rouner and Thomas Jay Ryan perform in this filmed work by Daniel Fish at the Incubator Arts Project. Credit: Thomas Dunn.

Christina Rouner and Thomas Jay Ryan perform in this filmed work by Daniel Fish at the Incubator Arts Project. Credit: Thomas Dunn.

Two actors perform one scene from a critically acclaimed movie about memory and love – over and over again. A child of Australia’s Stolen Generation talks about his life of drugs and crime. A French circus show recalls the slapstick anarchy of the Marx Brothers.

These are just a few of the choices facing theatregoers at next year’s PuSh Performing Arts Festival. Now in it its 12th year, the festival brings performers and acclaimed, often daring shows from all over the world to Vancouver. This year’s PuSh takes place Jan. 19-Feb. 7 2016 at various locations in the city. Here are some of the many highlights, including both main stage selections as well as some one-offs at Club PuSh.

Jack Charles V. the Crown (Jan. 21–23, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St.) – Australia’s ILBIJERRI Theatre Company presents this one-man show starring celebrated actor Jack Charles, now 70 years old, who looks back on his life as a drug addict and criminal.

Eternal (Feb. 2-6, Western Front, 303 E. 8th Ave.) – In this avant-garde film piece by New York-based director Daniel Fish, two actors perform the final scene from the 2004 Jim Carrey movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in a continuous loop, for two hours. Writing in the New York Times, Claudia La Rocco said, “This is an intellectual pleasure; more surprisingly, Eternal is emotionally resonant.”

L’Immediate (Feb. 4-6 at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.) – This show from French new circus artist Camille Boitel has been described as “a tumultuous visual metaphor for chaotic modern times.” Seven acrobat-adventurers defy a stage crammed with machinery, objects and bric-a-brac.

Scene from Camille Boitel's L'Immediat.

Scene from Camille Boitel’s L’Immediat.

El Topo (Jan. 22, The Fox Cabaret, 2321 Main St.) – Vancouver collective Eye of Newt Ensemble creates a new live score for the 1970 cult film from Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Decoder 2017 (Feb. 4, The Fox Cabaret) – New York City director Mallory Catlett, along with local company Theatre Conspiracy, give us an alternate visual reality where characters infiltrate each other’s bodies “in the psychic battle of man and machine,” according to the description.

A Living Documentary (Feb. 5, The Fox Cabaret) – Through a cast of eclectic eclectic semi-fictional characters, American thespian Cynthia Hopkins delivers a raw, one-woman comedic reflection on earning a living in the theatre.

PuSh Passes and tickets for the 2016 PuSh Festival are on sale now at pushfestival.ca. Early bird PuSh Passes start at $103; early bird single tickets start at $31 for select Main Stage shows and $22 for Club PuSh shows.

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