Monday, January 17, 2011

PuSh 2011: In the Solitude of Cotton Fields

Today kicks off the start to the 2011 PuSh Festival and I’m so thrilled to be once again blogging for the festival. Over the next three weeks I’ll be writing an array of posts on different shows involved in the festival but let’s start with the Polish Cultural Institute of New York and Pi Theatre’s presentation of In the Solitude of Cotton Fields.

I first met Richard Wolfe, Artistic Director of Pi Theatre, when he took over at the helm of Pi a few years back now. Since then I’ve been really impressed with the direction he has taken Pi Theatre. Under Richard’s leadership they’ve been doing some really exciting work that includes their highly acclaimed co-production (with Rumble Productions) of an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s After the Quake.

Now Pi is back again to bring us an exciting new production from Poland so I thought I would shoot a few questions Richard’s way and get his thoughts on the show, why he brought it to Vancouver and what the audience can expect.

1. How did you get involved in bringing In the Solitude of Cotton Fields to the PuSh Festival?

I have a long relationship with PuSh. I’ve had a couple of shows in the festival, was an associate producer for a season, and was the co-creator of the PuSh Cabaret (which was the precursor to Club PuSh). Norman saw Cotton Fields in Poland and told me about it. Because of the iconoclastic writer (Bernard Marie Koltes) and visionary director (Radoslaw Rychcik) I felt the show would fit well into Pi’s season and our renewed mission to support the most daring and relevant voices in contemporary theatre. I told Norman Armour about this and he invited us to participate.

2. What is it about this particular piece of theatre that gets you excited?

It’s fearless.

3. “A combination of a concert, disco, poetry slam and club event” is the description on the website and with live music by art-rock band the Natural Born Chillers clearly the rock concert feel to the piece is central to the production but could you tell us a little more about the story?

It’s not a linear narrative. It’s merely the meeting of two men – the Dealer and the Client. It’s a metaphorical representation of the power and status games people play everyday that can result in feelings of desire, rejection, dominance and humiliation. The actors deliver what are essentially stream of consciousness monologues. They’re focused and connected to the particular (the meeting of a Dealer and a Client on a deserted city street) and at the same time, the universal. In the end Koltes may be suggesting that where there is no love there can only be violence – one or the other. Be that as it may, none of us can live in solitude.

4. The director, Radoslaw Rychcik, is a young (born in 1981) rising director from Poland. Can you give us a little insight into what it is about his work that is so unique?

Rychcik reinvents difficult plays like this one and recently, A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes, an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Versus: In the Jungle of Cities and Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. He gives them a visceral, intensely physical treatment and often incorporates an energetic live music soundtrack into his productions. He calls it hysterical theatre – one based on extreme emotion.

5. Finish this Sentence: The audience will leave the theatre feeling….

Energized and reflective.

Thanks to Richard for taking the time to give us a little insight into the production and I, for one, can’t wait to see it. If the trailer below is any indication it looks like it is going to be an incredible show!

In the Solitude of Cotton Fields opens Wednesday, January 19th and will be playing until Saturday, January 22. Performances begin at 8pm and tickets are available through Tickets Tonight or at the door. There is a Post-Show Talkback on Thursday January 20th if you are interested in learning more about the production.

(Photos and video content provided courtesy of the PuSh Festival)

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer

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