One Yellow Rabbit's HIGH PERFORMANCE RODEO Reveals Lineup for 34th Festival
"Cultural Rocketfuel" Vivek Shraya (Vanity Fair), legendary Canadian theatre artist Daniel MacIvor, and the rare return of a One Yellow Rabbit hit to be included in 34th Annual International Festival of the Arts
Rest now Calgary, because this January the team at One Yellow Rabbit, led by Artistic Director Blake Brooker, will unleash 100+ artists to wake the city from a winter slumber with the 34rd annual High Performance Rodeo, Calgary's International Festival of the Arts, January 8 to 26, 2019. Featuring master artists, emerging voices, teenagers, popstars, podcasters, and gold-medal Olympians; this Rodeo travels from Vietnam to Norway, Central Mexico to Edmonton, bringing some old friends and many new discoveries to Calgary for three wild weeks.
Last year, the Rodeo welcomed more than 19,000 ticket holders, the highest number of tickets sold for the festival in the last decade. According to Festival Producer, Laurel Green, unique collaborations with Calgarian producing partners like the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Lunchbox Theatre were a big part of that exciting success, and audiences can expect a similar experience this year. "For 34 years, HPRodeo has set its sights on creating exceptional experiences for adventurous audiences. This year's line-up is thrilling - a mix of bombastic international talent and local artists set free to present their wildest creations for hometown audiences like never before," said Green. "We're beyond excited to be partnering with local companies and producers again this year to amplify their creative work whenever possible, especially considering what incredible response we got from Calgary audiences last season. You may think you've seen it all, but we promise you, you haven't."
The 2020 High Performance Rodeo - January 8-26 - will feature 27 productions over three weeks, in 13 venues across Calgary's downtown and will include a revival of a legendary play by the One Yellow Rabbit Ensemble, 15 visiting productions, and 10 free events.
The Land, The Animals (One Yellow Rabbit Ensemble, January 8-18)
Inspired by local events, this timely tale about the connections to our environment and lad, originally produced in 1991 and showcases the artistry of local artists Denise Clarke C.M., Andy Curtis, Christopher Hunt, with original music by David Rhymer and choreography by Denise Clarke. Described as "an elegant comedy from Canada's vanishing wetlands", this is a uniquely eloquent ecological comedy and contemporary dance production which places three scientists into a modern city of the future to investigate the land and the animals as they piece together the final moments of a forlorn geologist.
10 Minute Play Festival (Co-Presented with Downstage, January 11)
*Now celebrating 20 provocative, unexpected, and hilarious years. A perennial favourite sure to sell out, yet again. But then again, that's what happens when Calgary's rowdiest theatre artists create 10-minutes plays in just 24 hours...
VISITING ARTISTS BRINGING THE HOTTEST SHIT TO CALGARY
Let's Run Away (Daniel MacIvor, reWork Productions, Toronto; January 22-26)
Returning to Calgary for the first time since 2016, Canadian theatre legend Daniel MacIvor brings his seventh solo show created with Director & Dramaturg Daniel Brooks, "Let's Run Away", to the Rodeo. The dynamic duo of MacIvor and Brooks have together created such seminal works as "Here Lies Henry", "Monster", "Cul-de-sac", and "Who Killed Spalding Gray".
Finding his estranged mother's memoir after her death, the eccentric Peter reads aloud the story of his life as told (sometimes incorrectly) by his mother. "Let's Run Away" is a touching story of love and abandonment, and MacIvor is glorious in this captivating solo performance.
It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fucked) (The Rude Pundit, New Nork,NY; January 8-12)
"A child of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and Hunter S. Thompson." - NYTimes
From the business talents of Stormy Daniels to ranting anti-abortion protesters in the Deep South to Trump himself at one of his tacky golf resorts, It's the End of the World... is a personal and political journey into the clogged heart of the USA, into how we got so fucked and whether we can get un-fucked. Funny and angry, profane and perverse, Rodeo favourite Lee Papa (known as "The Rude Pundit") goes to war with the present so we can try to have a future.
Cliff Cardinal's CBC Special (Imaginary Force, Toronto; January 15-18)
An evening of words and music with internationally-acclaimed writer and performer Cliff Cardinal as he delivers original, dark, and catchy folk songs; miraculous stories of familiar resilience; legends of turtle island survival; and new contributions to the ongoing mythology of Canadian experience. This is Cliff's eagerly anticipated follow up to "Huff" (2016, HPRodeo), and teams up once again with acclaimed director
Certified (JD Derbyshire, Squid Thinks, Vancouver; January 21-25)
Comedian and certified insane person JD Derbyshire turns the audience into a mental health review board to help determine her current state of sanity. Join the irreverent fun of JD's hilarious and heart-aching journey through the mental health system. Together, you'll grapple with hefty questions like: how do we define "crazy" and who gets to decide? In this case: you do.
Footnote Number 12 (Spreafico Eckly & Theatre Replacement, Bergen, Norway & Vancouver, Canada; January 15-18)
Let's say, just for now, that 2006 was the last unchallenged moment of western power - this white spectre's final year of being the given, the norm, the voice... for everyone in the world. This new work uses a 2006 magazine article from David Foster Wallace in New York Times Magazine to explore how social awareness has shifted over the last 13 years. A monologue for two people, an actor and a sound designer, Footnote Number 12 questions how much a shifting social context should influence the reading of the written word.
Room 2048 (Hong Kong Exile, Vancouver; January 14-16)
"A clever, fascinating, and absorbing dance piece that lingers in the memory long after the show . . . What unfolded over the next 50 minutes was a multimedia show of impeccable class. This is a company that is full of confidence, and trusts in its ability to engage and challenge its audience." -Lawrence Kelson, Plank Magazine
Through the layering of digital light, bombastic pop music, fog, and the Chinese body, "Room 2048" weaves together a series of cinematic images that speak to diasporic experiences of loss, desire, and nostalgia. Sourcing Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai's seminal films, performers are animated by live manipulated top-down projection. In digital light, bodies sway, shake, and run- oscillating between
gestures of the mundane and the sacred.
LOCAL TALENT UNLEASHED
How to Fail as a Popstar (Vivek Shraya, January 22-25)
Polaris Music Prize nominee, visual artist, filmmaker and superstar of the runaway bestsellers, She of the Mountains and I'm Afraid of Men, Vivek Shraya is "cultural rocketfuel" (Vanity Fair). Illuminating, raw, honest and hopeful, this debut theatrical work, chronicles Vivek's journey to 'not quite' pop music superstardom. A reflection on the power of pop culture, dreams, disappointments, and self-determination, this astonishing performance is a triumph in finding one's authentic self.
Queer Blind Date (Spontaneous Theatre, January 21-26)
There's nothing like the thrill of a i??rst date... anything can happen! In this reimagined version of Rebecca Northan's smash-hit play, the saucy Mimi, and the handsome Mathieu, take turns i??nding love with a different person each night - plucked right from the audience.
Following its international success at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this fast and funny fusion of improv, theatre, and clown takes a long-requested journey into queer romance to welcome an ever-expanding community of romantic heroes that will have you falling in love again and again. Developed in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto, with Artistic Director, Evalyn Parry, "Queer Blind Date" is open to same sex, trans, and gender-queer pairings each night.
bliss (the birthday party play) (Verb Theatre, January 8-12) -WORLD PREMIERE
Intimate, provocative, immersive birthday party, with cake! It's a special birthday party and you're invited to the celebration! Jamie Dunsdon returns to the stage for the first time in 10 years to turn back the clock on her own birth and investigates the nature of knowing oneself. An intimate, playful, and authentic performance that is
part theatre, part investigation of all the things we wish we could un-know and all parts birthday party. A heartfelt exploration of ignorance, bliss, and everything in between.
Russell: Straight Up (Kris Demeanor, January 14-18) - WORLD PREMIERE
Russell is the steroidal liquor store clerk who has never smiled at you. He's the cousin of a friend from junior high you just shared a case of Kokanee with in a suburban man cave. He's the guy at the sports bar talking louder than the music at a table of friends for 45 minutes without pause because he has a lot of stories you've already heard that he needs to tell you again, obviously, because they get better each time he tells them. There are obstacles, sure, but Russell survives and flourishes in a world built for him.
"Russell: Straight Up" ping-pongs between song, spoken word, monologue, Hawkins' Cheezies, mojitos and chicken wings in a tragicomedy for these times and every place. As Russell boasts, he 'gets along with everybody', until he doesn't.
Revolution or Slumber (The first High School production in the High Performance Rodeo, featuring students of Western Canada High School, January 14-18)
In this beautiful and enthusiastically theatrical piece by the radical young theatre artists of Western Canada High School, you will see the undeniable root of hope seed a forest at a slumber party. Whale lovers, punks, and reluctant saints are the anatomy of the revolution. Sounds intense, we know. But they are serious. They mean it. Every. Single. Word.
Premium Content (Major Matt Mason Collective, January 21-25)
*HPRodeo will be the first stop in a world tour for this production
Blair makes videos. Blair needs a project. Blair has a webcam. Blair has some friends. Blair's friends are into some kinky shit. "Premium Content" is a play about art, consent, polyamory and the internet. It's about boundaries: In relationships, in art, and the grey space where they converge. It's about the difference between a funeral and a grilled cheese sandwich. It's about trying really hard to be really cool. In an age where you can access anything online, how do you know what is truly good and what is truly bad?
The collective's innovative production is staged with rotating casting; six actors each learned three of the play's five roles, offering a unique casting combination for every performance. Featuring live video feeds, motion-capture animation, innovative design, and an ensemble engaging in the impossible, "Premium Content" is an explosively and undeniably live experience.
Gemini (Defiance Theatre, January 22-25)
Intimate, playful, and provocative immersive theatre. She's a bartender. He's a regular. They have nothing in common except they're both there. Every day. Created with interviews, blurry mornings, and over a decade of experience in the service industry, Gemini combines the forces of ATP Playwright's Award winner Louise Casemore (OCD, Functional, Bereft Project) with Governor General Award winning playwright Vern Thiessen for an up close comedic exploration of the relationships forged on both sides of the bar. Gathering inside the playful ambiance of legendary Royal Canadian Legion #1, we strap in for a whiskey-soaked night out that won't be soon forgotten. (Tip your server).
The Shoe Project Steps Up (January 25-26)
Diverse, Intimate, eye-opening. The Shoe Project Steps Up is a brand new, locally produced performance by 12 Calgary-based immigrant and refugee women who will tell their stories of arrival in and adaptation to Canada... this time not through a pair of shoes but through a hat.
LOCAL COLLABORATORS WITH WILD RODEO SWAGGER
Belong (Co-Presented with Wordfest, January 9-11)
Belonging is not always a zero-sum game. It can require compromise. Be conditional. Even contradictory. Belong is a riveting exploration of what it means to belong. A unique staged reading by our hometown Olympic hero, Mark Tewskbury, inspirational leader and world-renowned social justice activist.
CBC's The Secret Life of Canada - LIVE Podcast recording (Co-Presented with the Calgary Public Library as part of its Podcast Live! Series, January 10)
The hit irreverent CBC podcast - The Secret Life of Canada come to the HPRodeo for one night only to open up the secret life files of our beloved (and secretive) home town. Learn more about the terrible, hilarious, dirty, and wonderful history of Canada with some random pop culture references from the early 00's thrown in. Join hosts Falen Johnson, Leah-Simone Bowen and special guests in this history podcast about the country you know and the stories you don't.
Juliet & Romeo (Co-Presented with DJD, January 21-26)
Hot of a national tour, this smash hit dance performance with live music is returning to the Rodeo. Powerful, compelling, visceral. Audiences will delight in the twists and turns in the re-imagining of this passionate and tragic tale.
This is dance, this is theatre, this is a jazz concert. This is Shakespeare's tale of love and violence re-imagined, re-visited, re-loved, hyper-realized, sampled, questioned, recognizable but twisted, current and classic, gritty and glorious. This is Juliet, and she doth teach torches to burn bright.
PechaKucha Night Calgary 20x20 No.40 (Co-Presented by PechaKucha Calgary, January 13)
PechaKucha is a global live speaker series drawing its name from the Japanese term for "the sound of chit chat." The format is particular, concise and entertaining: 10 speakers share their take on the night's central theme ("Wild") but only have 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, for a total presentation length of six minutes and 40 seconds to do it. Embracing High Performance Rodeo's vibe, the theme: "Wild". What wild hijinx have our speakers been up to? Have they lived in the wild? Will they bring a wild card? PKN speakers aren't tame so this night could get... wild!
Nordic Greats (Co-Presented with Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, January 25)
Violinist Eldbørg Hemsing was already a household name in her native country when she began championing Norwegian masterworks like Borgstrøm's Violin Concerto, a late Romantic tribute to the country's arresting mountains, valleys, and fjords. She will be joined by Calgary's own Yukichi Hattori, choreographing/performing CPO's Music Director Rune Bergmann's favourite selections from "Peer Gynt!" in a world premiere collaboration. This concert reunites Hemsing and Bergmann, previously have performed together with the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland.
Tlakentli (From Ondinnok Productions, Vancouver; Co-Presented with Making Treaty 7; January 23-25)
In a performance midway between dance and theatre, two Indigenous artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent, share with us their quest for identity by drawing on their cultures and the history of their ancestors. They present scenes of their metamorphoses through time, revealing that which unites us and that which tears us away from each other and ourselves, Tlakentli considers the issue of identity in relation to migrations and explores the myths of our original elegance.
Good Morning, Viet Mom (Co-Presented with Lunchbox Theatre, January 11-25)
Hilarious, Heartfelt, Authentic. Hot off staffing in CBC's new hit TV comedy TallBoyz, Franco Nguyen has landed at the High Performance Rodeo. As a young filmmaker, Nguyen goes to Vietnam looking for inspiration for his first feature film and finds an unexpected subject - his mom. Authentic and irreverent, Nguyen delves into the personal, sharing stories about visiting Vietnam for the first and being re-introduced to the mother he thought he knew. A hilarious and heartfelt story about family, history and love.
UN-MISSABLE FREE EVENTS
ProArts@Noon, Co-Presented with ProArts Society (FREE Performances, Noon - January 8,15, and 22 at Cathedral Church of the Redeemer near Olympic Plaza)
- Short Stories, Prashant Michael John - WORLD PREMIERE
- The Mind Palace, Momo Movement
- Excerpts from John Ware Reimagined, Miranda Martini & Cheryl Foggo
The Veronicas, January 17
This FREE, fast-paced, celebration of the people who make theatre in Calgary, is back. The awards show you didn't know you wished we had, returns. Raise a glass to the talented, the beautiful and the sh**-disturbing theatre artists we adore. We'll celebrate every last one of them - in 30 seconds each.
Cultural Capital Card Game, Defiance Theatre, Edmonton; January 25
A collectible trading card game about the Canadian performing arts economy. Come check out a sneak peek workshop demonstration of the game that arts funding juries are calling "divisive and niche", and that almost everyone else is calling "absolutely necessary to play".
In-Focus Workshops Series: Various Dates
A FREE Workshops series to help HPRodeo and other local artists take their work to the next level. Topics will include Brave Spaces; Identify, Music, and Dance; Indigenous Storytelling;, and Touring Canada and Abroad.
Rodeo Passes and all tickets - including $15 Wednesday tickets - are on sale today. Purchase them online at hprodeo.ca; by calling 403-294-9494; or at the Arts Commons Box Office.