Theatre Preview: Return of High Performance Rodeo

By John Leung

Various International and local experimental theatre troupes are once again set to invade Calgary in a dramatic rodeo filled with action, excitement and flair. Hosted by the One Yellow Rabbit, the 19th annual High Performance Rodeo is set for Jan. 4 to 30. At their press conference last Tuesday, OYR and their well-traveled curator Michael Green gave the media a sneak peek at what is to come in this year’s Performance Rodeo. But don’t expect Victorian period melodramas or polite applause from audiences in monocles: since 1985, the Rodeo has been showcasing experimental theatre and stretching the limits of the genre.

This year, HPR has brought in the critically acclaimed New York spoken word artist Laurie Anderson and her hit show The End of the Moon to show off her particular brand of experimentalism. According to OYR, the show is “part travelogue, part personal theory, history and dream [and] looks at the relationships between war, aesthetics, spirituality and consumerism.” Along with 22 other acts on the bill, originating from 6 countries over, HPR will run three and a half weeks at a number of venues within Calgary.

Besides The End of the Moon, HPR will showcase a triptych production between OYR and theatre companies in Berlin, Germany and the Netherlands to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Canadian liberation of the Netherlands with the show Liberators, Occupiers and Population. This show will have its world premiere at the Rodeo, so Calgarians will be the first to see it performed live before it goes on tour later in 2005.

The HPR is Calgary’s chance to play host to such a wide variety of artists, both local and international. For OYR performer David van Bell, thought, might be what happens after. “Once it’s done, I can go enjoy the show and see the other artists as well. HPR is a great theatre festival, but its also party time. Don’t be afraid, come on down, there are some tremendous experiences to be had. Stick around for a drink afterward.”

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