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Bears

Presented by Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and Punctuate! Theatre

May 8 – 12, 2018 | Historic Theatre [map link]

Historic Theatre

Contains mature content at a high volume.

Comically dark. Unapologetically political. A play about pipelines.

The prime suspect in a workplace accident, Floyd has to get out of town fast. Pursued by the RCMP, he heads through the Rockies for Burnaby, B.C, along the route of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. By the time he reaches the Pacific, Floyd has experienced changes – his gait widening, his muscles bulging, his sense of smell heightening…

A multi-disciplinary dark comedy about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and Punctuate! Theatre from Edmonton present Bears. Written and directed by Matthew MacKenzie (SIA, The Particulars, The Other) and starring Métis theatre artist (and former tar sands worker) Sheldon Elter, Bears asks “What the hell is going on in Wild Rose Country?”

Unapologetically political, Bears gives a voice to the voiceless animals, and vulnerable landscapes, desecrated by the insatiable human desire for industrial expansion, while striving to increase dialogue about the devastating effects on Canada’s First Nations peoples. Originally developed in Edmonton, the sold-out workshop run also garnered five Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award nominations, and two wins for Outstanding Score and Outstanding Choreography. 

An Indigenous-led new Canadian play told through dramatic storytelling and choreography, an eight-person chorus, enchanting projections, and an evocative electronic soundscape, Bears is an emotional, empathetic performance experience. 

Bears advertises itself as an ‘unapologetically political’ play. And it is that…But it’s also very funny, theatrically fresh and delightful, a change from the kind of pro-environmental work we’ve come to expect on our stages”
—Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Plays

Bears is unabashedly partisan (and simply magical)”
—Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

It’s a blend of chase story, identity search, ode to Indigenous spirituality, dark comedy, interdisciplinary spectacle, and eco-activist plea”
The Georgia Straight

It should be interesting, because we’ve played it a few places in Alberta where there is a fair bit of support for this particular pipeline and the reaction was more look at yourself in the mirror, as opposed to Toronto, where it was quite boisterous…While the politics and message of the piece are pretty clear, we aren’t looking to alienate anyone. I expect quite a different reaction in Vancouver, too”
—Matthew Mackenzie, in interview with Postmedia

Bears is an Ode to Nature…it’s rare enough to find original theatre that is so definably of this place. Theatre that harnesses the divergent resources of multi-disciplinary artists so creatively to mount an argument is rarer still. You can’t really afford to miss BEARS.”
Liz Nicholls, Edmonton Journal

I’d never seen a piece that speaks to issues facing Canada’s Indigenous peoples as effectively and beautifully as Bears does.”
—Jerry Saddleback, Cree Elder and Dean of Cultural Studies at Maskwacîs College

Cast/Crew
Starring: Sheldon Elter
Featuring: Skye Demas, Christine Sokaymoh FrederickZoë Claire Glassman, Alida KendellAimee RushtonRebecca SadowskiKendra Shorter, and Gianna Vacirca
Written and Directed by: Matthew MacKenzie
Associate Direction: Patrick Lundeen
Stage Management: Erin Voaklander
Choreography: Monica Dottor 
Sound Design: Noor Dean Phatcat Musani 
Environmental Design: T Erin Gruber
Costume Design: Brianna Kolybaba and Monica Dottor
Producer: Sheiny Satanove

Showtimes
May 8, 8PM: Preview
May 9, 8PM: Opening Night
May 10, 8PM; Talkback
May 11 – 12, 8PM
May 12, 2PM

Running Time
70 minutes

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