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It’s pretty tough to be in a bad mood at a dance party, and Vancouver-based queer theatre company Theatrecorps is bringing all those good vibes to the stage this week. Co-artistic directors Alexa Fraser and Matthew Winter have focused the show on all that’s uplifting, including pop tunes, projected music videos à la ’90s-era MuchMusic Countdown, and a whole lot of pink (the stage is made up of carpets, curtains and props in a monochromatic, rosy hue).
“There’s a lot of excellent work that explores traumatic events that inform queer identity—but we need more art that celebrates queerness,” says Winter. “When this piece started to form, joy was at the forefront,” he continues. The show, called Gestural Symphony No.1, is on from June 23 to 26 at East Van’s WhatLab.
Credit: Simone Chnarakis
Gestural Symphony No.1 started with design, which is unusual in the industry. “I think design is often treated as an afterthought and we want to challenge that perspective,” says Fraser. So the pretty pink set, the visuals and the sounds came first, and the “story,” in the traditional sense, grew from that. That said, there’s no text: Winter describes the show as a “beautiful lush set, dance pop music and a lot of clown elements.” Theatrecorps calls this “an audition” of sorts for their company: the show is called “No.1” because they hope to collaborate with other artists on more gestural symphonies in the future. “We would love to help people innovate their design,” says Fraser.
Theatrecorps’s entire team identifies as queer, so their work naturally is, too—they refer to Gestural Symphony No.1 as a “gay fantasia.” Queer or not, there’s something about pop music that sparks connection, and it’s that camaraderie that the show aims to inspire. “Going to queer clubs and dancing to popular music is so exciting, and it’s a form of community building,” says Winter.
“Our hope is that at the end, everyone wants to go out and go to a dance party,” says Fraser.
From Theatrecorps Part of WhatLab’s The Deep End Residency Program June 23-26 Tickets at whatlab.ca