Erika Hennebury, festival director of Rhubarb, admits she has an addiction to the tart fruit. (Or is it a vegetable? The debate’s ongoing.)
After a year off, the festival returns to Buddies, filling the various performance spaces with new works that can’t be slotted into any conventional theatrical container.
“This 29th Rhubarb returns to the original idea of experimentation, collaboration and new performance hybrids,” says Hennebury, a writer and performer in her own right. “We’re focusing on performance creations rather than scripted work, which has been an emphasis in the past.”
New this year is a national slant. Vancouver’s the memelab (Jesse Scott and Mirae Rosner) offers roots + wires, which Hennebury describes as a blend of lecture, demonstration, dance and video work. Also look for Obscene by Winnipeg’s Ian Mozdzen, which the fest director promises will be “wild, sexual, graphic and visceral.”
In addition to the mainstage shows, Hennebury’s excited by the rotating mini-stage and solo-stage performances. The former is a black box theatre/gallery for a small audience; the latter invites a viewer to be one-on-one with an artist.
And if you go for late-night theatre, the first week offers a four-show package on February 22
. The following week, on February 29, you can catch the sixth part of Small Wooden Shoe’s Dedicated To The Revolutions. Created and performed by Jacob Zimmer, It’s A Matter Of Scale draws its inspiration from the nuclear revolution.
If you’re still pondering the status of the eponymous red-green stalk, don’t miss the free opening night bash (Wednesday, February 20), hosted by Keith Cole, who’ll screen his 2006 Rhubarb video, Vegetable Or Fruit? Weed, Stalk Or Root?
“Pizza, punk and performance art,” nods Hennebury. “That’s the best way to kick off a social festival like this.”
RHUBARB A festival of new works (Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander). February 20-March 2. $15, week pass $20. 416-975-8555, www.artsexy.ca.