If art is free, is it worthless?
Not according to André du Toit, co-producer with Aviva Armour-Ostroff of the third annual Lab Cab Festival.
Audiences can catch finished pieces as well as works in progress by more than 100 artists who work in theatre, dance, comedy, visual arts, film and literary performance.
“Because presentations are short, audiences are willing to take a risk and try something they might not otherwise see,” says du Toit, who’s also a playwright, director and lighting designer. “Maybe they’ll even be encouraged to see more.
“And for the artists, free means they don’t feel they owe something to the audience. If there’s that sense of obligation, I think some artists lose a bit of their own voice.
“What I love most about Lab Cab is that it takes the commerce out of art.”
One of the most appealing aspects of Lab Cab for a regular theatregoer like me is the use made of Factory Theatre. You’ll find performances in the theatres, of course, but also in stairwells, hallways and various hidden spaces.
Several troupes combine disciplines in their presentations. The Cric Crac Collective, for example, offers music and literature; musician Bob Wiseman shows films he’s made while offering tuneful accompaniment.
Look for theatre pieces by Bound to Create, Housebound Collective, Daniel Sadavoy, Julie Tepperman and Aaron Willis, and comedy by Helen Donnelly, Bruce Hunter, Renée Percy and Chris Sawchyn.
There’s always a kids’ component, too, and this year families can catch Sho, Mo and the Monkey Bunch, Djennie Laguerre and Ali Eisner. A number of youth troupes – SKETCH, Theatre Revolve and Point of View Films – are among the presenters.
New this year is a walkabout show in which a real estate agent, trying to sell the Factory building, meets a few ghosts.
“Given the number of shows running at once, it’s always been a challenge to schedule the spaces,” admits du Toit. “And until now we’ve only had stationary shows, so working this moving piece into the plan makes it even harder.”