Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents The Rhubarb Festival

The Rhubarb Festival playing at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre showcases experimental works from emerging artists

For the next two weeks, over one hundred artists will transform Buddies in Bad Times Theatre into a centre of creativity and experimentation.

There are several different categories which this year’s performances explore: the politics of our communities, spotlighting queer history, and confronting the fragility and resilience of our bodies.  The shows I caught yesterday explored the latter.

I had never been to a Rhubarb Festival before, and knew only to expect some avant-garde (experimental) theatre. What happens is that you are confronted with a choice upon arrival – shows run simultaneously in The Cabaret, to your left,  and The Chamber, to your right (or you can stay in the lobby for a while and catch some performance art – yesterday was a made-to-order café set up). Each show has a half-hour slot, and your ticket allows you to go back and forth between the two spaces – you pick and choose which show you want to attend at what time. It is a little bit confusing as to what show is going on where, but the staff is pretty helpful when it comes to that.

My first choice was to head into The Chamber to see Bleed, starring Phil Luzi, about a man committing suicide in a bit of an unusual manner. I then stayed in the same room for Sea Foam Blue, a live animation piece about a sexually confused mermaid. I may be a theatre nerd, but I am always interested in watching other people set up for the next show.  Unfortunately, if there is any sort of technical delay, the show in the other room continues, so I didn’t get to go to a third performance.

I’m also looking forward to Aynsley Moorhouse’s Walk With Me, part of the One-on-One performance series – after downloading her track to your iPod, you take an audio walking tour of the perception and memories of people suffering from dementia.

The shows push the boundaries – so if you are at all squeamish, or uncomfortable with nudity etc., you are warned. For those up for something different, here is the schedule for the rest of the festival:

Week 1:

8:00pm The Little G8 That Could…
8:00pm Bleed
8:30pm The Failure Show
8:30pm Sea Foam Blue
9:00pm Night and Day
9:30pm 33
9:30pm (Wed only) Trust My Gut
10:00pm (Wed only) Rhubarb Festival Kick-Off Bash
10:00pm (Thurs & Fri only) Justin Vivian Bond
10:30pm (Fri only) Light Fires
11:00pm (Fri only) The Big Thaw
10:00pm (Sat only) Made to Order
9:30pm (Sun only) K-Town

Department of Public Memory

4:00pm Stepping Between Projections

6:00pm speaking of sneaking
6:30pm satan in me

(Fri-Sat 6-10pm, Sun 2-5pm)
Psychic Cooking Show
all the things we should have said that we never said
Gender Me
Betterave Rouge / Red Beet
Make Your Own China Doll
Klangkörper 2.0 (“Resounding Body”)
“Aujourdhuy 15e septembre 1738…”
Blue Light
Walk With Me
Red Coat Romance

Week 2:

8:00pm Yellow Towel & affliction
8:00pm Settlers
8:30pm Marine Life
8:30pm Expectations
9:00pm The Omnibus Bill
9:00pm Everyday is a Beautiful Day
9:30pm (Wed only) Trust My Gut
9:30pm (Thurs & Fri only) CROTCH
9:30pm (Sat only) The Gay Heritage Project
10:00pm (Sat only) Made to Order

Department of Public Memory
Tom & Gary’s Decentralized Dance Party

2:00pm Gertrude and Alice
2:30pm The Gay Heritage Project
3:00pm Department of Public Memory AGM
4:00pm Rhubarb and Free Fall Feast: Part One
5:30pm Peak Anxiety Satellite

6:00pm Disease of Kings
6:30pm As in Happy

Sat-Sun Performing (queer) Failure: a workshop with Keith Hennessy

–          THE RHUBARB FESTIVAL runs February 8-19, 2012 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street)
–          Wed-Sun Evening Passes $20, Sunday Afternoons & One-To-One Performances PWYC, Mobile Works FREE
–          Tickets available at the Box Office: 416-975-8555 or at www.buddiesinbadtimes.com