Part of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival, Alley Theatre, in partnership with Good Night Out Vancouver, will present the world premiere of a multi-perspective, docu-theatre dance production, #whatnow, October 28-November 7 at the Russian Hall.
#whatnow has collected hours of audio interviews from people of different genders, sexual orientations, cultures, ages and abilities these real life stories and reflections around the #metoo movement come to life through the mediums of dance and headphone-verbatim, an innovative format where edited audio interviews are played through headphones to actors on stage. The actors then mimic and repeat what they hear, in real time, every cough, stutter and hesitation is reproduced, and the actors never “memorize the lines”.
Co-director and sexual assault survivor Marisa Emma Smith says: “This piece is both a celebration of survival and a call for action. What surprised me the most about interviewing people is their natural humour and poeticism. We couldn’t have written better lines to describe the things they went through or committed. I am so honoured to have met them all.”
Co-director and choreographer Amber Barton says: “We’re living in a time of increased awareness and social justice. For me that means it’s important to keep our conversations, such as the ones around the #metoo movement, alive. #whatnow is a unique performance experience that helps us to continue these conversations. I feel so privileged to be part of this production and to be trusted with the stories that have been shared with us.”
#whatnow includes testimonials from survivors of harassment, misconduct and assault as well as stories from those who took accountability for their harms. And throughout the piece, award-winning choreographer and co-director, Amber Barton has crafted expertly subtle ensemble movement that articulates tone, environment and viewpoints.
Directed by Marisa Emma Smith & Amber Barton, #whatnow features performances by Sabrina Symington (Trans Scripts – Zee Zee Theatre/Frank Theatre), Yvonne Wallace (?tszan – Firehall Arts Centre), Patrick Dodd (Vancouver Improv Festival), Emily Grace Brook (Act of Faith – RealWheels) and Siobhan Sloane-Seale (EDAM Dance/Body Narratives Collective).
#whatnow plays October 28 to November7, 2021 at The Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Avenue, Vancouver. Performance times, Wednesday-Saturday, 8pm & Sundays, 3pm. Socially Distanced Cabaret Seating, masks and proof of vaccination are required. Runtime is approximately 80 minutes. Tickets are available online alleytheatre.ca
Alley Theatre will be offering gender-specific performances to allow for an honest and supported environment for audiences to respond to the performance with other people of the gender they identify as most. Oct 31st will be for female-identifying audience members (including trans women and non-binary), November 3rd will be for trans and non-binary audience members, and November 4th will be for male-identifying audience members (including trans men and non-binary).