By Lauren Donnelly
VANCOUVER – Two people converse high above the streets of Vancouver, silhouetted against a panorama of the city. They look out at the same view, but they see different things: one is aware of what was, and one envisions potential that extends the limits of possibility.
British artist Andy Field asks us to step outside of the now to reckon with our future in his interactive show Lookout. Participants consider the city’s future through a conversation with our beneficiaries: Vancouver’s children.
“It’s a really simple piece,” says Field, “but it’s a delicate and complex experience. People find themselves quite moved by the opportunity to think of this place that they call home in a different way.”
During the show, held at Vancouver Lookout, participants listen to recordings from students of an East Vancouver elementary school. Speaking as their imagined older selves, the children share their hopes and fears for the city. Participants then meet one-on-one with the children to converse about the future.
Iterations of the production in cities from London to Cairo show commonalities among children, says Field.
“What has surprised people is how in tune children are with the adult concerns with the city – property prices, the housing crisis, gentrification – children are acutely aware of these things and want to come up with solutions.”
If other shows are any indication, participants will learn from the city’s youngest citizens.
“Children have much sharper ideas around right and wrong, fairness and equality,” says Field. “And they’re quite bipartisan.”
Sometimes profound and sometimes amusing, Field says the children’s urban visions are a mix of social realism and science fiction. It’s a refreshing experience for both participants and performers. “When you’re nine years old, a lot of people don’t listen carefully to what you say,” says Field. “By calling it a show, we invite adults to listen to these children with the seriousness with which they would normally listen to a theatre performance.”
Lookout runs from January 20-21 at Vancouver Lookout as part of the PuSh Festival.ookout, PuSh Festival, theatre, Vancouver