ITSAZOO Productions and Aphotic Theatre, in partnership with PuSh, present the long-anticipated, and delayed, world premiere of The Café from October 11 – 22, 2022 at Kafka’s (577 Great Northern Way).
Directed by project creators Fay Nass and Chelsea Haberlin, The Café is a site-specific, immersive theatrical work. The a-day-in-the-life look at the cultural mosaic of a Vancouver coffee shop, welcomes audience members to bear witness to the private conversations and experiences of seven unique pairings. Featuring multilingual vignette performances created by nine diverse playwrights, The Café offers a window into the vulnerability and complexity of intimate human connection.
“We’re thrilled to be able to present The Café following the cancellation of our original performance run this past January,” says Nass, Artistic Director of Aphotic Theatre. “The work blurs the lines between art and reality by creating a heightened intimacy between actor and audience, and welcomes them to eavesdrop on private interactions. Touching on themes of loneliness, racism, depression, marital tension, sexual identity, love, and more – The Café showcases a diversity of cultures and narratives that allows us to experience other perspectives through the richness of storytelling.”
Adds Sebastian Archibald, Artistic Producer of ITSAZOO Productions and The Café playwright: “We are immensely grateful to have partnered with a team of some of the finest local playwrights, of various ethnicities, ages, beliefs, sexual orientations, and gender identities, to provide a vital platform to share the stories that they wanted to tell. Our goal is to shine a light on the vast spectrum of potent narratives – especially those not often heard – to educate and enrich our lives as individuals and as a collective society.”
The Café centres on seven diverse stories, with paired characters conversing in French, Spanish, Polish and Japanese, highlighting the cultural diversity of Vancouver. The stories include an elderly francophone struggling to reconcile with his anglophone son after a 25-year absence; a mixed-race couple suddenly faced with the underlying racial tension in their marriage; a case of mistaken identity between an art gallery owner searching for a new BDSM partner and a Spanish woman looking for a job; an Indigenous woman guiding her autistic brother through a tumultuous relationship; a single parent attempting to reconnect with their depressive ex-partner; two upper-middle-class moms consoling each other in the face of a strained marriage and a medical diagnosis; and a Polish woman who, after divulging a secret part of her life, tries to appease her non-binary Canadian partner and repair the cultural rift between them.
Audiences of 40 people per performance are encouraged to sit at or near one of seven “performance tables” and watch a play unfold mere inches away from them. Structured as a narrative “choose-your-own-adventure,” audiences can decide to watch a scene reach its conclusion or they can wander around the coffee shop throughout the 90-minute theatrical experience, absorbing fragments of various conversations. Scenes will repeat throughout the evening performance, allowing audience members to witness all seven performances in the order of their own choosing.
The seven scenes are written by nine local playwrights: Sebastien Archibald (Father’s Day), Amy Lee Lavoie and Omari Newton (Mango Cake), Fay Nass and Diana Garcia Hernandez (Submission), Kelsey Kanatan Wavey (50 Cent Lemonade), Derek Chan (Space Aliens and Tropical Ducks), Manami Hara (Anna’s Story) and Anais West (Przyjació?ki).
The Café cast includes Joey Lespérance and Ben Elliott (Father’s Day), Meghan Hemingway and Kwasi Thomas(Mango Cake) Jacqueline Korb and Montserrat Videla Samper (Submission), Chelsea Rose and Frankie Cottrell (50 Cent Lemonade), Alison Ward and Melissa Oei (Space Aliens and Tropical Ducks), Genevieve Fleming and Yumi Ogawa (Anna’s Story), and Paloma Kwiatkowski and Claire Love Wilson (Przyjació?ki).
ITSAZOO, in partnership with Aphotic Theatre, present the world premiere of The Café from October 11-22, 2022 at Kafka’s, 577 Great Northern Way. Tickets and more information are available online at itsazoo.org
In keeping with the café environment, wine, beer, coffee, tea, and baked goods will be available for purchase throughout the show.