The limits of Vancouver’s arts and culture were in plain view at Vision Vancouver’s one-night-only production of Protecting Vancouver’s Cultural Spaces. (Fox Cabaret, April 28, 2014).
From a preposterous narrative that asks us to believe the incumbent party on City Council has the interest or capacity to save space for anything other that branded lifestyle residential units and No Frills outlets, to the thin performances by the leads –Geoff Meggs and Heather Deal, as “Smart Councillor” and “Happy Councillor,” respectively- this show was a dog, of the poodle sculpture variety: expensive, of questionable aesthetic merit, and “why am I looking at this?”
Okay: redeeming elements. Some genuinely warm performances. Kate Armstrong, Ernesto Gomez and Esther Rauschenberg –all clearly ad-libbing- broke out of the dialogue straightjacket to bring some life to the proceedings.
Otherwise, some pretty strange ideas arose from the clunky, clichéd-ridden morass. The need to negotiate harder –much harder- with The Organization -a kind of collective ego and a vortex of destructive energy- definitely peaked my curiousity. At any moment I expected Bob Rennie, dressed as Jupiter and hurling lightning bolts, to descend from the rafters for a Battle Royale. I was mightily disappointed.
And confused, too. “Art carts?” “Digital spaces?” Does the future lie in crevasses and virtual space?
Or: What’s there to negotiate when you take their money?
The production’s ultimate failure -its pointlessness- lies in its inability to acknowledge and explore such fundamental questions.
These inconsistencies seem to have been lost on the mostly simpatico sold out crowd. But clearly a soft crowd, intensely papered. How would it have stood up to a more discerning audience? Yet another question to go unanswered.