PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Vancouver's annual PuSh does not come to shove, but it is not against nudging audiences toward groundbreaking performing arts. Festival highlights include a music-dance spectacle from the adventurous Frédérick Gravel (Some Hope for the Bastards), a display of family-friendly puppetry about dementia (It's Dark Outside), a monumental work from the Taiwanese choreographer Lin Lee-Chen (The Eternal Tides) and a screening of 2014's Oscar-winning Birdman accompanied by a live score from jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez. Jan. 16 to Feb. 4, in Vancouver.
Silence: Mabel and Alexander Graham Bell
From Trina Davies, a new play uniquely tells the love story of Mabel Gardiner Hubbard (who was deaf) and her eventual husband, the telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell. Written from Mabel's perspective and featuring actors who can hear and some who cannot, the Peter Hinton-directed drama imagines what the protagonist heard and saw in her lover and in her time. Jan. 16 to Feb. 3 (opens Jan. 19), at the Grand Theatre in London, Ont.
Moon, Moon, No Moon
Certain fascinations have waxed and waned over the years, but the moon as a muse has never gone out of style. A song-cycle cabaret at the annual High Performance Rodeo festival considers humankind's long relationship with an excellent and dependable satellite that has inspired farmers to harvest, Copernicus to calculate, Frank Sinatra to croon and Creedence Clearwater Revival (on Bad Moon Rising) to irresponsibly scaremonger us all. To Jan. 27, at Calgary's Big Secret Theatre.
Gentle orchestral theatre, occasional spoken-word passages, cotton-soft harmonies and French-horn situations – these are the elegant things of By Grand Central Station, the debut album from Winnipeg's Heavy Bell (Matt Peters from Royal Canoe and Tom Keenan). The duo, with friends including members of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, adapted Elizabeth Smart's poetic 1945 novel to song. Sensitive and shimmering, the disc is a triumph of quiet, confident strength. A seven-date Canadian tour begins at Winnipeg's West End Cultural Centre on Jan. 13.
"You never really understand a person," the novelist Harper Lee wrote, "until you consider things from his point of view." In Audrey Dwyer's darkly humoured new play about race, privilege and "mammy culture," privileged playwright Julie turns to a Filipina caregiver for help in redressing Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a touchy subject; Julie's good intentions aren't greeted smoothly. Jan. 14 to Feb. 4 (opens Jan. 17), at Toronto's Buddies in Bad Times.