6 shows to see at the 2018 Rhubarb Festival
Did you know that rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but legally considered a fruit? Neither did I.
Though often baked in pies with fellow spring darling strawberries, Rhubarb is also Canada’s longest-running new works festival. Returning for its 39th year at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – yet suspiciously lacking delicious pies of any kind – Rhubarb offers an impressive program of performance art, dance, theatre, and music. The festival is a wonderful opportunity to discover new works by your favourite queer artists and to explore daring multidisciplinary projects that test the boundaries of both performer and audience.
Presented in a clever format that allows you to take in several performances in one evening (shows are not individually ticketed and are presented in both the Cabaret and Chamber spaces), Rhubarb is a different experience every night.
The 39th Rhubarb Festival runs February 14 to 25. Tickets and program information can be found on the Buddies website. Until then, here’s a slice of the works that have Yohomo already salivating:
White Girls in Moccasins
Yolanda Bonnell, Elizabeth Staples + Binaeshee-Quae / performers
Clare Preuss / director
We all have a basic, Starbucks-loving, UGG- and sweatpants-wearing white girl living inside us – and we love her. But how does one stay connected to one’s culture while growing up in a white-washed world? Bridging a gap between disparate identities through humour and music, a young Indigenous woman asks the question many of us contend with every day.
Esie Mensah / choreographer, creator + dancer
Akosua Amo-Adem / dramaturge + director
Percy Anane-Dwumfour, Tereka Tyler-Davis, Roney Lewis + Miranda Liverpool / dancers
Not unlike voguing, shade is an artform attempted by many yet mastered by few. Choreographer Esie Mensah takes up the challenge and tackles the insecurities, truths, and wit of shadeism through theatre and dance. The library is definitely open, ladies.
Brian Cope / creator + performer
Charles Hayter / creator + performer
Sadie Epstein-Fine / director
Steph Raposo / sound designer
Does she accept me? Did I disappoint her? Does she think it’s her fault?
Asking the questions many of us ponder after coming out, Motherload flips the Mommie Dearest script and looks closer as two older gay men inhabit their mothers’ psyches to better grasp their perspective and experience of having sons who came out later in life.
Amy and Irma
Chala Hunter / performer, co-director + writer
Jill Connell / director, dramaturge, story editor + collaborator
Transforming a child’s worst nightmare into a solo live performance and a ten-minute suspense film, Amy and Irma is an experiment in form that tells the story of Amy, a girl trying to save her father from the latest in a wave of tsunamis.
Heath V Salazar / creator + performer
Evalyn Parry / director
We’ve had our eye on writer/creator/performer Heath V. Salazar, aka drag king Gay Jesus and a member of Buddies’ Emerging Creators Unit, for a while. It’s safe to say that after Virgen, where our sultry saviour “spits garter-clad gospel restructuring scripture and stripping down the chastity belt,” the masses will be focusing their gaze on this prophet as well.
Angry Album Launch
Vivek Shraya + Shamik Bilgi / Too Attached band members
Lido Pimienta, Casey Mecija, Jenny Mecija, Kamilah Apong + TiKA / special guests
The Toronto-based Yohomo favourites Too Attached (sibling duo Vivek Shraya and Shamik Bilgi) launch their second album, Angry, a reclamation and celebration of queer POC rage as told through catchy AF pop music and breathtaking visuals.