By Leah Siegel
Theatre lovers of Vancouver, rejoice! Between the shorter days and the return of the rain, we no longer have to feign enthusiasm for the outdoors. This October, we travel back and forth in time, explore the rust belt, and talk about sex. In the immortal words of Marvin Gaye, “Let’s get it on.”
Incognito Mode: A Play About Porn
Studio 58 September 27-October 14
Pornhub was founded a little over ten years ago, and since then its influence has swelled. Enlarged. Erm, hardened. In 2017, it had 81 million visits per day. What does it mean to have grown up with the internet and such easy access to porn, and what does it entail for the future?
Director Chelsea Haberlin says she was drawn to the project because of the taboo of pornography. “I am sure this show will spark conversation,” she says. “This is the kind of show that people will love or hate but no one will feel indifferent.” The folks over at Neworld Theatre and Langara’s Studio 58 have been workshopping this original drama since last spring, so there’s bound to be an interesting take on it. Honestly, though: when is porn not interesting?
A Vancouver Guldasta
The Cultch October 2-21
Director and playwright Paneet Singh wanted to explore the idea of politicizing trauma in his new play put on in collaboration with SACHA. In A Vancouver Guldasta, or A Vancouver Bouquet, we follow a local Punjabi family living in the 1980s, with a Vietnamese refugee family residing in their basement. From across the world they watch the unfolding of “Operation Bluestar,” India’s armed invasion of the Sikh’s sacred Golden Temple, and must navigate transnational political, religious, and cultural turmoil. However, this story is ultimately about community: “Sprinkled among many of the enclaves in Vancouver are countless inter-cultural stories that exist because of the way we live here,” Singh says over a Facebook message, and “what results is a genuine bouquet of human experience.” He adds, “I am hoping that audiences will really allow themselves to revel in a truly Vancouver experience, and leave feeling like they’re taken part in a conversation which they otherwise would never have had the privilege to be a part of.”
A Brief History of Human Extinction
The Cultch October 10-20
It’s 2178, and an insidious fungal plague (and no, that’s not a nickname for Donald Trump,) has effectively made it impossible for life to continue on Earth. The last man, woman, and otter have found safety in some science-lab-thingamjig that will theoretically transport them to a different planet. At least, that’s the plan. Things get complicated when they hear something moving outside of the lab, and it sounds like it wants in. If you watched Interstellar and thought it could have been improved by an otter puppet (an odd, but understandable opinion), you’re in luck.
Artsclub October 18-November 18
American playwright Lynn Nottage won the Pulitzer in 2017 for Sweat, a play that has been hailed by The New Yorker as “the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era.” In it, we travel to Reading, Pennsylvania, a mid-size city with one of the highest poverty rates in the states. (It is also, unrelatedly, the birthplace of Taylor Swift.) In the year 2000, factory workers Tracey, Jessie, and Cynthia find their friendship weakened when Cynthia (who is African-American) is promoted, while their own jobs are threatened by outsourcing. In their envy, Tracey and Jessie claim there’s unfair affirmative action at work behind Cynthia’s upward mobility, and this sets the scene for a racial tension that divides the town for years to come. Timely, no?