Busting into the performance world

By James Keller

You may not be familiar with
the term "mutton busting," but you’ve probably seen it in action. During typical rodeo intermissions younger competitors ride sheep around the track wearing hockey helmets. And although there won’t be any sheep or helmets, One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo will have Mutton Busting.

"We are the young kids riding sheep," begins Mutton Busting
curator Eric Moschopedis, "while the people on the High Performance Rodeo mainstage are riding the bulls."
Mutton Busting, a collection of 24 performances shown over four days, will feature a variety of talents and skills–not just theatre. Co-curator Kris Kranjec explains.

"It’s emerging, experimental performances," she says. "We’ll have a nice eclectic mix of dance, theatre, poetry and music intertwined with each other."

The purpose of such a diverse collection of work is to give up-and-coming artists an opportunity to showcase their creations.

"Everything we’re showing is all new work, performed by the people who created the work," explains Moschopedis. "Mutton Busting is creating an opportunity for people to showcase their talents and to explore what they are capable of."

Moschopedis also thinks that the exploratory nature of the production fits in with OYR’s atmosphere and also gives artists a venue they couldn’t have before.

"It creates a venue for people who only have a 10 minute piece to share it, and they don’t have to rent a space for a week to show it," he says. "And because each piece is created and performed by the creators, it’s a lot more of an organic process. There will be an honesty to it which people will connect to."

Kranjec also hopes Mutton Busting will give audiences a new perspective on the definition of art and even a new appreciation.

"I think people will get a sense that art includes several elements," says Kranjec, pointing to the mix of art forms presented. "All of these performances are worthy of a performance festival–together, not separate."

As Kranjec and Moschopedis are both University of Calgary students, they point to the lack of appealing theatre on campus, with respect to their decision to move off campus.

"I was disgruntled with what was being staged at the U of C Drama Department. There’s a lot that doesn’t cater to us, so we thought, ‘let’s create for ourselves what we need and what we know other people need,’" says Moschopedis. "To be honest, we are the up-and-coming new generation of artists in this city. If we aren’t creating opportunities for ourselves, it’s not going to happen."

This attitude of cooperation and collectivism is what OYR is all about, according to Moschopedis.

"It’s a little guy helping a little guy."

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