by Brendan Lee
VANCOUVER – What if we could do away with the dark hole of sadness and emerge brightly in a society anew, where happiness was no longer sought after but bought and obtained with the push of a button?
As a part of this year’s Fringe Festival, local company Little Mountain Lion Productions puts on an adaption of Kurt Vonnegut’s sci-fi comedy, The Euphio Question, and ponders the same question.
Originally written in 1951 as part of Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House, the story revolves around the discovery of euphoria-producing radio waves and the conundrum that follows when suddenly happiness becomes an object rather than a destination. Vancouverite Matt Clarke adapted and directed the play, and he talks about the struggle to get people interested in the genre. “We kind of want to steal audiences out of bookstores and movie theatres,” he says.
And with the Fringe Festival being one of the city’s largest avenues for the art of indie theatre, the message of his speculative sci-fi play becomes all the more important.
“We walk through the world with our headphones in, looking at screens,” Clarke continues. “And to get your butt out and watch real people telling a story, in a room full of a bunch of other real people… that’s invaluable. I mean, doctors should be prescribing theatre.” Those brave enough to steal a night away from the addictive glow of their screens can also expect original compositions by musician, Graham Dawson.
We might not all be quite at the point where happiness is an app to be downloaded on your phone, but a ticket to The Euphio Question is sure to buy you a whole lot joy.
“Bring a couple friends, get happy, and let’s talk about happiness for 40 minutes,” Clarke concludes with a laugh.
The Euphio Question runs at Havana Theatre from September 8 – 17.Havana Theatre, Vancouver Fringe Festival