What to See at SummerWorks: Live Art Series and Performance Bar Series
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What to See at SummerWorks: Live Art Series and Performance Bar Series

Two programmes that take performance out of the theatre, and want to bring you along for the trip.

Tania El Khoury offers herself up as your private dancer (in public) in Maybe If You Choreograph Me You'll Feel Better.

There’s a great deal of engagement at SummerWorks this year in the theatre and music programmes, but the new Live Art Series, goes far beyond in its efforts to have audiences interact with performers. In a recent interview, co-curator Deborah Pearson explains that “the audience discovers what’s expected of them at the same time as discovering what the piece is about”—and for each piece, that will differ greatly. The one constant is that taking part in the Live Series will cost you either very little ($5), your choice (PWYC), or nothing at all.

The various one-night or afternoon-only experiences in the Live Art Series include: a sleepover, Dare Night Lockdown, organized by The Torontonians at the Gladstone Hotel and with brunch and basketball the following morning; a late-night encounter with festival creative associate Erin Brubacher and several random strangers, in Nightcap; a powerpoint presentation, Ragnarok-Ready); a consulting session called Private Roads with multi-talented bandmates Simon Borer and Stephanie Bruce of Entire Cities; and the first part of a presentation-in-progress by Small Wooden Shoe’s Jacob Zimmer, Sedition, the JB McLachlan Story.

Though many of the Live Art events will have just one or two performances, a few are scheduled to take place throughout the festival. In Motor Vehicle Meltdown, UK performance artist Andy Field will take two audience members at a time, or six times an evening, on a virtual road trip; installation artist Silvia Mercuriali will tour a couple around a purpose-built convenience store 10 times a day in Wondermart; and in an extreme example of artistry-in-residence, Nina Arsenault (who we declared an exemplary physical storyteller in her 2010 SummerWorks show I Was Barbie) will put herself on display for eight hours straight each night in 40 Days And 40 Nights.

Another interesting programming component to SummerWorks: the return of the Performance Bar Series. The intent here is more traditional entertainment in a cabaret style. The National Theatre of the World‘s Ron Pederson (who’s also starring in Extinction Song in the Theatre Series) is hosting a nightly variety show (save for the festival’s opening and closing nights) entitled Captain Ron’s Ship of Friendship, where he and his first mate Poopy (Kayla Lorette) will welcome all sorts of guests, and feature routines created in conjunction with Victoria’s Atomic Vaudeville. Musical guests include Patti Cake, Amanda Leblanc, and Evalyn Parry. Also, Live Art performers David Yee (Lost in Translation) and Brian Lobel (Purge, and more) are among the guests scheduled to set sail with Captain Ron—so, you’ll be able to go from sharing your cares with many of the Live Art creators in the day to toasting them with new friends “at sea” at night.

CORRECTION: August 11, 2012, 10:12 AM The showtimes for Nina Arsenault’s 40 Days and 40 Nights have been changed since this article was posted. She will now be on display for eight hours each day, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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