PuSh Performing Arts Festival opened in Vancouver (Jan. 17 – Feb. 2, 2019)
Modeled after Europe’s international theater festivals, this festival invites performing arts creators from Europe, Asia and the United States with the aim of creating discourse among Vancouver-based artists and stimulate the local theater scene. It focuses in particular on inviting a diverse, genre-bending range of works of music, video, theater and other genres of performing arts in forms such as never seen before. The 2019 edition celebrates the 15th anniversary of festival.
Of particular note on this year’s program is a documentary installation titled Zvizdal (Chernobyl – So Far So Close) created by the Antwerp-based art collective BERLIN, together with journalist Cathy Blisson, who together spent five years filming an elderly couple living deep within the irradiated Chernobyl exclusion zone where they formed an intimate bond of trust within that time.
There was also the stunning play Palmyra by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas which takes the name of a Syrian city as its title and plays out a simple situation in which two men are onstage, one of them has a plate while the other does not. From there, conflict develops in a theater-of-the-absurd style that ranges from the comical to the brutal.
Appearing from Japan were musicians and artists in Tetsuya Umeda, ASUNA and Marginal Consort. Their musical and theatrical performances included experimental interludes.
This Vancouver festival has been the focus of growing attention recently and has helped put the city on the map of Canadian performing arts centers along with Montreal and Toronto. The festival uses several venues in the Vancouver metropolitan area. The program covers the genres of theater, dance and music with a mission of providing “the very best in contemporary performance” selected from Canadian works. The successful 2009 festival gathered a total audience of 23,000 during its run. Japanese artists performing at that 2009 festival included Chelfitsch. The festival schedule also features meetings for presenters and other events to encourage networking. In 2019, the program also included meetings for presenters and other events to help networking to function between Canada and abroad. With curation in 2019 by musician Aki Onda, sound artists Tetsuya Umeda, ASUNA and Marginal Consort also gave performances.
- PuSh International Performing Arts Festival