Theatre on the lamb, in the flesh

By Karoline Czerski

It started three years ago when young Eric Moschopedis approached One Yellow Rabbit guru Michael Green with a concept for the High Performance Rodeo.

“Master Green,” we assume Eric said. “I have this great idea for your space.”

And so, Moschopedis and his team, Bubonic Tourist, found themselves running a Rodeo sideshow of young, emerging artists, showcasing their unique ideas and providing them with a high-caliber venue.

“Mutton Busting started as a pedagogy of like-minded work,” explains Moschopedis. “The process is collaborative.”

The Mutton Busting curator met people from across the country and from different corners of the world, finding that when artists cooperate, ideas fuse and the process grows in a quasi-utopic fashion–the wet dream of all culturally-minded Marxists.

“Some people imagine us as unprofessional, and not quite there yet,” remarks Moschopedis. “The quality of work may not be up to par but we’re taking risks. We’re young and innovative, and now’s the time to push the envelope.”

Fearlessness, energy and yearning on their side, Mutton Busters take to the smaller stage and produce crass-ass shit. Cowgirl Opera turns the story of three sisters in Greater Saskatchewan into a macabre, man-eating journey to get to Edmonton. Yet this obscene journey is both passionate and beautiful and the level of professionalism is astounding.

“The fallacy is that we’re all fucking losers,” remarks Moschopedis.

The Mutton Busting curator knows better. He knows the performers are fresh and challenging, putting themselves on the line so they can launch their careers on the far side of the creative spectrum.

Mutton Busting is an evolving beast which may one day rise to challenge its mentor.

“The great thing about our relationship with One Yellow Rabbit is that the student will one day become better than their teacher,” says Moschopedis wisely.

Mentorship is very rare for that reason, but to Moschopedis, the unique relationship with One Yellow Rabbit, and particularly with Michael Green, has been fundamental. Mutton Busting isn’t interested in maintaining the status quo. Instead, the future holds experimentation, construction and much uncertainty.

“We’re not the only voice,” concludes Moschopedis. “We have to see how other cultures interpret their reality. [Artists] are doing it because they put into question their existence.”

Fifty artists, 15 days of some of the most risky and entertaining art performances. The tickets are ridiculously cheap at $2, and the shows are short and sweet.

Mutton Busting runs through Sat., Jan. 17, but look for Bubonic Tourist’s new Birds and Stone venue, a 50-seat theatre and visual art gallery. In February, Birds and Stone will open every night as a cafe, a venue for communication and creation.

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