Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts
Line Up of Music, Comedy, Dance and Theatre Announced
On November 8, Managing Producer Erin O’Connor announced the 2013 line up for the 27th annual High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts. The popular festival runsJanuary 3 to February 3, 2013 at thirteen venues throughout Calgary, and features an extraordinary collection of the boldest and brightest artists in the realms of theatre, dance, comedy, music and visual arts. Tickets for the festival are on sale today on line at www.hprodeo.ca, by calling 403-294-9494, or at the EPCOR Centre Box Office.
Always a highlight of the festival, One Yellow Rabbit, Calgary’s most daring theatre ensemble premieres People You May Know, their razor-sharp comedic romp that entangles people on both sides of a financial scheme gone badly awry. Utilizing simple digital effects, One Yellow Rabbit creates a projected community of characters using only three live performers. The slightly digitized characters are projected above, resulting in a digital puppet chorus: victims and villains, the venal and the virtuous. Directed by Blake Brooker, People You May Know stars Denise Clarke, Andy Curtis and David Rhymer.
Having received rave reviews from across the country the festival is thrilled to bring Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone to Calgary, offering unique theatrical insight into the angst of a new generation. This comedic musical is about a teenage chamber choir from Uranium City, Saskatchewan, tragically dead due to a roller coaster accident at a travelling fair. In a twist of fate, the choristers are given an opportunity to perform after their death. Ride the Cyclone is their final recital, where they celebrate their individuality and begin to accept their untimely demise.
Last season, Alberta Ballet presented Up Close in a 100-seat studio featuring choreography by Yukichi Hattori. All nine performances sold out in one day. The High Performance Rodeo got a much-coveted ticket and loved it so much they included it in this year’s festival. And there’s more of it. This year Up Close includes the work of Hattori — and new creations by Alexandrous Ballard and One Yellow Rabbit’s own Denise Clarke. This glorious evening of dance features Alberta Ballet’s full company of 31 dancers in the intimacy of the Martha Cohen Theatre.
For the first time the Rodeo will be partnering with Alberta Theatre Projects to co-present This is What Happens Next. Daniel MacIvor, one of Canada’s most celebrated playwrights and performers, returns to the stage in this autobiographical fairy-tale fantasy with a happy ending. Journey deep into the heart of the Kingdom of Kevin with an astrologer, a lawyer, an absent father, the embodiment of will and Daniel McIvor himself as he takes us on a comic adventure through the dark forest of addiction, divorce, The Little Mermaid and the life of John Denver.
As if January in Calgary isn’t hot enough already, an Icelandic heat wave is slated to hit the 27th annual High Performance Rodeo. Iceland is literally a hothouse for creative minds to flourish. This Icelandic Program features a fine selection of art, dance, music and theatre by Icelandic artists.
Leading the Icelandic wave in a special co-presentation with Theatre Calgary is The Lyric Hammersmith And Vesturport Production of METAMORPHOSIS by Franz Kafka. You know the story. The unremarkable life of the Samsa family is suddenly turned upside down when their son, Gregor, awakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a giant insect. This acclaimed production from Iceland tells the haunting story in a theatrically spellbinding way, combining remarkable physicality and daring aerial action on a gravity-defying set. With evocative original music composed by world-renowned musician and lyricist Nick Cave and long-time collaborator Warren Ellis from The Bad Seeds.
In a co-production with Calgary Folk Music Festival, SonicWaves takes the musical stage in the Icelandic Program. This collaboration between four of Calgary’s finest indie musicians (Clinton St. John, Samantha Savage Smith, Laura Leif and Woodpigeon’s Mark Andrew Hamilton) and two of Reykjavik’s most intriguing up-and-comers (Benni Hemm Hemm and Prins Póló) will be developed during a residency exchange in Iceland in the weeks before the Rodeo and solidified through further exploration in Alberta.
And in the movement arts, the Icelandic Program features Freya Björg Olafson’s AVATAR. This “duet with technology” is a cross-disciplinary hub for experimentation, where Björg Olafson moves intimately through software, opening and closing files on her personal computer, manipulating and broadcasting herself as a new persona.
Calgary experiences the Icelandic heat in the visual arts as TRUCK Contemporary Art hosts Openings by Icelandic artist Hekla Dögg Jónsdóttir. This work will change the architecture in the gallery, to alter the viewer’s movement and experience in a papery forest within the space.
Lunchbox Theatre and The High Performance Rodeo are thrilled to co-present Blanche: The Bittersweet Life of a Wild Prairie Dame. Internationally acclaimed local girl, musician and theatre artist Onalea Gilbertson, explores the life and stories of her 93-year-old grandmother. This original sonic landscape — underscored with Blanche’s recorded voice — spans generations. Blanche returns to Calgary from a critically successful run in New York that was named one of NYC’s 20 Best Shows in 2011 by the Huffington Post.
In Look mummy, I’m dancing by Belgian artist VANESSA Van Durme, a transsexual woman slowly but resolutely peels off her sixty-year-old skin until we find ourselves face to face with the reverse side of her soul. This monologue is a confrontational and moving lament on one person’s struggle for simple happiness and it leaves a lasting impression.
A longstanding Rodeo favourite, Germany’s Theaterlabor, returns to the festival with their one-man show Schlachter-Tango. In 1936 Ludwig M., a Jew, is arrested by the Gestapo for homosexuality and is sent to Buchenwald and Auschwitz. After the war, he struggles to acknowledge his persecution as a Jew. And in the 1950s, he pushes the expression of his homosexuality by opening the first gay bar in Hanover. This compelling story about identity and human dignity will be told through the performance of One Yellow Rabbit’s Andy Curtis.
Another Calgary star, La Caravan Dance Theatre, takes the stage with a new creation The Dybbuk, a hypnotic journey of love, obsession and surrender. The immensely theatrical presentation incorporates interactive media projection and contemporary dance fused with the technical grace of ballet and opera.
Ireland’s ponydance spontaneously takes over random, unexpected Calgary locations for one solid week with its bold brand of comedy dance theatre. Watch for this show full of incredible movers and shakers, joyously dancing through a maze of disco hits and chart classics.
All the Way Cabaret is the not-to-be-missed night at the Rodeo — that’s if you like bratty burlesque mixed with mood-enhancing cocktails. Rodeo artists and outrageous guest performers offer up a racy sophisticated blend of satiric sketches, torch songs and overall social rabble-rousing.
The High Performance Rodeo’s festival favourites are back. Enbridge Presents The Walrus Talks returns with an evening of thought-provoking ideas presented by a panel comprising the country’s leading thinkers. Downstage returns with the wildly popular 10-Minute Play Festival. And Onalea Gilbertson and David Rhymer are together again to perform Only Love Knows Love, a gallery of songs from Mr. Rhymer’s thirty years of theatrical compositions. Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre’s Freak Show continues in all of its freakishness. The original 20-minute play, inspired by classic freak shows of America’s scandalous past, is designed to surpass your wildest fantasies — and nightmares. Last year’s +15 Art Parade honoured the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar. This year eclectic performers transform Calgary’s above-ground walkways with a lively parade to celebrate the Year of The Snake. And at the elegant Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, ProArts again offers a varied selection of free noon-hour performances every Wednesday of the festival.
At a new location, Wine Stage celebrates its 14th year as Calgary’s premier wine and food event with a dramatic twist. The newly renovate Devonian Gardens is the venue for this sophisticated and sexy fundraiser for One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre. Guests can savour the world’s finest wines from the city’s best wine merchants, expertly paired with the succulent culinary creations from fourteen of Calgary’s finest dining establishments.
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased on line at www.hprodeo.ca, by calling 403-294-9494, or at the EPCOR Centre Box Office.
Now in its 27th year, the High Performance Rodeo is an annual festival featuring theatre, dance, comedy, music and multimedia presentations. Curated by Artistic Director Michael Green, and produced by Erin O’Connor and the One Yellow Rabbit team, it is dedicated to entertaining as wide an audience as imaginable, while remaining fertile ground for the progressive and wild. The High Performance Rodeo is the largest festival of its kind in Western Canada.