PuSh Festival 2012: Inspired by Craigslist

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Disclosure: Review — Miss604.com was not paid to write this review or any other. Michelle Kim did receive complimentary media tickets to the show in order to write her review. Please review the Policy & Disclosure section for further information.

The PuSh Festival started this week and I’ll be covering the festival for Miss604. This particular festival happens at the exact right time of year; there is nothing like watching inventive performance art from around the world to distract you from the bleak cold January weather of Vancouver. And though I’m drawn to attend the pieces performed by artists whose homeland conjure up warmer thoughts and feelings (Mexico, Spain, etc), there is one local show I’m very excited to see.

Do you want what I’ve got? A Craigslist Cantata, by composer Veda Hille and CBC’s Bill Richardson, opens tonight at the Arts Club Revue Stage. I grew up listening to Bill Richardson on the radio and always considered him a renegade so it’s no surprise that he’s involved with PuSh this year.

Craigslist Cantata
Bill Richardson & Veda Hille. Photo by Bill Pechet.

In fact, he’s been involved with PuSh before. Do you want what I’ve got? A Craigslist Cantata actually originates from and is an expansion on a 20-minutes show he and Hille put on at the PuSh festival in 2009.

Inspired by the huge volume of ads on Craiglist, Richardson and Hille decided to create a musical based on the site as they thought the ads suggest a bigger story.

After two workshops conducted by the Arts Club in Vancouver, as well as performances at the Spark Festival in Victoria, Do you want what I’ve got? A Craigslist Cantata has finally coming back to the PuSh festival in its newly-evolved 80-minutes state.

“The workshops were really useful,” says Richardson. “They helped us fine-tune the work and cover things we were missing.”

He said they got a lot of great feedback from people from various demographics.

“At one of the workshops, a young woman in university suggested we do something on roommates. So now we have a part on that and it’s great. There is also a section of misconnections.”

Richardson says what surprises him the most about the show is the visceral reaction audience members have toward it.

“Although it’s light and comic, there is a lot tenderness and it’s unexpectedly emotional for people. There is a lot about longing, tenderness and hunger.”

The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival runs until February 4, 2012.

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