On Saturday October 22nd, I saw the play Us and Them at the Cultch theatre in East Vancouver. A once-abandoned church, now transformed into a diverse performance space, the Cultch presents performances in music, dance and theatre, featuring both local and national artists.
The play I saw on Saturday was a form of grassroots, interactive, physical theatre, where the boundary between the stage and the audience was broken and viewers were given the opportunity to respond to what they had seen in the play in interesting and informative ways. We were invited to step into the role of whichever character we felt most connected to, in order to break down the physical and emotional barriers between them and others in the play.
Revolving around the theme of the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot, and how it was not really about hockey, but about the feeling of discontentment within our lives, the main goal of the interactive play, Us and Them, is to create a dialogue in our community that encourages us to reach out and open our eyes to the struggles of others.
One idea that I really took from this play was how every action has a ripple effect on the rest of the world. When audience members went up on stage and took the places of various characters in the scenes, the story changed. Events unfolded differently and the results were quite different from the original outcomes. We were told to focus on the little details that were catalysts for larger events in the play, and as we changed one, all the others changed as well.
I would recommend that everyone go see this play because it really says a lot about how we interact with others, and society as a whole. One of the major issues brought up in the play is how, on a daily basis, the majority of us fail to communicate properly with our loved ones and strangers. Instead of ignoring what others have to say and simply waiting for our turn to talk, we should be engaging in an active dialogue where we listen attentively and respond accordingly, acknowledging the validity of what the other person has just said.
Us and Them is playing from October 21st to November 12th. Regular shows are at 8pm, with 2pm matinees happening on Wednesday October 26th, Sunday October 30th, and Wednesday November 2nd.
The Cultch is located at 1895 Venables Street, Vancouver, and tickets can be purchased online, in person, or via telephone at 604-251-1363. Prices are $10 for matinees, $15 for students/seniors, and $20 for regular adults.
Us and Them – it will have you re-examining the entire way in which you see the world.
By Flavia Kajoba