How to Fail As a Popstar Is the Anti-Success Story We Need Right Now

National bestselling author Vivek Shraya is well-known for writing, but the Calgary-based multidisciplinary artist has always had a love for the stage. “I started out as a musician, and being a writer is something that sort of happened along the way,” she shares.

Her upcoming one-woman show in the PuSh Performing Arts Festival covers her popstar journey—but not in the rags-to-riches style of most musical memoirs. “For me, it felt really important to tell a story of what it means to not have your dreams come true,” says Shraya, “especially in a culture where we are obsessed with being resilient. You’re not supposed to reveal your heartbreak—you’re not supposed to say that you’ve failed.”

She titled the show How to Fail as a Popstar, and describes it as an “anti-success story.” That said, the show isn’t a total bummer: with cheeky humour and down-to-earth joy, it celebrates the comedy of tragedy. There’s storytelling, music, movement and sass, and, ultimately, it’s relatable.

“Most of us have wanted something and haven’t been successful,” says Shraya. “And for me, this play is a gesture in giving people the space to own their failures.”

How to Fail as a Popstar is running from February 1 to 2, 2022 at Performance Works—find tickets here.