As PuSh Festival brightens January stages across the city, ITSAZOO, in partnership with Aphotic Theatre, present the world premiere of The Café from January 25 – February 5, 2022 at Kafka’s.
Directed by project creator Fay Nass and Chelsea Haberlin, the site-specific, immersive theatrical work is a day-in-the-life exploration of the cultural mosaic of a Vancouver coffee shop, giving audience members a peak into 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.
“The Café blurs the lines between art and reality by eliminating the fourth wall between actors and audience entirely, and welcoming them to eavesdrop on private interactions that may be at once completely familiar and totally foreign,” says Sebastian Archibald, Artistic Producer of ITSAZOO and The Café playwright. “Representing a wide range of plausible interactions and conversations between people in a café – touching on themes of loneliness, racism, depression, marital tension, sexual identity, illness and more – The Café showcases a diversity of cultures and narratives that allows us to experience other perspectives through the richness of storytelling.”
Adds Nass, Artistic Director of Aphotic Theatre: “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 expressed through pairs, each of the pairings’ scenes written by nine local playwrights: Sebastien Archibald (Father’s Day), Amy Lee Lavoie and Omari Newton (Mango Cake), Fay Nass and Diana Garcia (Submission), Kelsey Kanatan Wavey (50 Cent Lemonade), Derek Chan (Space Aliens and Tropical Ducks), Manami Hara (Anna’s Story) and Anais West (Przyjació?ki).
Intimately sized audiences 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 75-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. Coffee, tea, and baked goods will be available for purchase throughout the show.
ITSAZOO, in partnership with Aphotic Theatre, present the world premiere of The Café from January 25 – February 5, 2022 at 6pm (Monday-Saturday) and 8pm (Friday & Saturday) at Kafka’s, 577 Great Northern Way. Tickets and more information are available online at itsazoo.org and pushfestival.ca.
Check for updated COVID protocols as performance dates near.