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Zee Zee Theatre's World Premiere VIRTUAL HUMANITY Invites Diverse & Authentic Connection Online

Streaming online from March 6 to 28, 2021.

Zee Zee Theatre's World Premiere VIRTUAL HUMANITY Invites Diverse & Authentic Connection Online

Zee Zee Theatre presents the world premiere of Virtual Humanity, streaming online from March 6 to 28, 2021.

The deeply personal, one-on-one experience adapts the company's annual Human Library project into the digital space, where participants can 'check out' a human for a candid conversation about their life experiences, culture and beliefs-including such titles as Porn Actor, Two-Spirit Foster Child, The Taxidermist's Son, and more. Co-curated by Sam Chimes and Bunny (Daisy Joe), the online edition will feature an array of new and returning 'Virtual Humans'-with a particular emphasis on representation from BIPOC individuals-available for 20-minute loans over the course of four weekends.

"This past year has been one of both intense isolation and frisson. There has been a severe lack of face-to-face interactions that are not fraught or functional," says Virtual Humanity Producer Jordy Matheson. "Virtual Humanity creates a digital space that allows for a kind of open conversation and learning. The kind which can be difficult to come by in the intense and polarized online world. A great deal of division is created from people not engaging with each other and really listening. What makes this project so powerful-radical, even-is that we're asked to face our differences straight on, literally. There is no turning a blind eye, no resting in apathy. It's two people sharing something intimate as a means to incrementally change the world."

Human Library began in 2000 in Copenhagen by a collective called 'Stop the Violence' and since then, the hugely popular "open source" project has popped up in more than 70 countries. The original Human Library project was ignited by a brutal hate crime perpetrated against a friend-and this act of healing for four people became a global movement. It was a commitment to end violence-one person at a time-by narrowing the ideological gaps that divide us.

In the past eight years of Zee Zee's edition of Human Library, public response has been tremendous, creating lasting memories, relationships, and shifting people's understanding of otherness and difference. This new digital pivot becomes an opportunity to welcome those outside of the Lower Mainland to participate as virtual humans and audience, and become part of the broader conversation on challenging prejudice.

In Virtual Humanity audience members will select a title from the collection of 20+ 'Virtual Humans'-something that intrigues or confounds them. They will then proceed into a one-one-one digital conversation over Zoom with their Virtual Human, a person who will share their true personal story that is reflected in their title, over the course of 20 minutes.

As with Human Library, the project is designed to shatter preconceived notions about otherhood, to challenge our biases and misunderstandings and to put a human face to difference as a means to foster empathy. The breadth of individuals extends from Zee Zee Theatre's core philosophy: everyone has a story worth sharing, if we simply take the time to sit down and listen to them.

Responding to a year of cultural clashes, Zee Zee Theatre identified that BIPOC representation must be of particular focus in Virtual Humanity. To engage these communities in an authentic manner, the project welcomes a pair of new collaborators to Zee Zee Theatre to serve as co-curators:

Bunny (Daisy Joe) is a 2 spirit indigenous award-winning musician from the Stl'atl'imx and Gitxsan Nations. They are a vocalist with The Spiritual Warriors, recipients of Best World Recording at the 2019 Native American Music Awards, a co-creator of the Stl'atl'imx Friends singing group, who were awarded the 2019 Best Historical Linguistics from the NAMA's for the album "The Kindness Project." Bunny applies storytelling through song to address topics such as decolonization, indigenous empowerment, and to advocate for the revitalization of language through music.

Sam Chimes is a multi-talented individual, expressing his talents as a sound technician in film, a DJ, and a music producer and performer. Born in Africa, Chimes lived in Brunei and South East Asia before coming to reside in Canada. With his jazzy, soulful vibes, he uses a looper and a microkorg synthesizer to create instrumentals on the spot, layers his voice, and performs for his audience. Chimes has performed in eight countries outside of Canada and recently came back from his second world tour, performing at showcases in Australia, and street performing in between.

Day Passes will be available February 15 through Reservations are $5 with a subsequent request to 'Pay What It's Worth' after the show. The full roster of titles available each day for bookings will be announced the morning of through a secret portal on the Zee Zee Theatre website, accessed after reservations have been secured.

Virtual Humanity is inspired by the Human Library-created by Stop The Violence (Copenhagen)-and presented with support from community partner Vancouver Public Library.

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