; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: You Are Very Star - Electric Company

Sunday, 16 June 2013

You Are Very Star - Electric Company

Like the interactive treasure hunt intermission, Electric Company's "You Are Very Star" is equally as challenging and also forces you to search and look for a meaning beyond the words. Innovative by design, their latest show is set at the H.R. MacMilan Space Centre, giving the venue a breath of fresh air and energy. But perhaps like most other events at the Planetarium, we should have smoked up before heading there?

The show was indeed a trip! We arrived and were presented with a program and a map, to be used during the audience participatory treasure hunt between the first and second acts. Actually, the show really begins before you even arrive, when I received an email telling me to go to this website and  register my name in order to view the online prologue to the story. I was then instructed to text a phone number, which then got me involved in a random conversation with a complete stranger known only as Hafa.

Who was Hafa? Would I meet him/her at the show? Turns out, Hafa does pop up in the story, but there is a lot of weaving that needs to be done to tie all the threads together.  The first act is set in 1968, and focuses on the birth of a short-lived religion while taking place in a Creative Writing class. Following that is the interactive intermission, and then the crowd is herded upstairs for a take on humans and where we might be in the not so distant future.  

The message I took away from it was a story of stories, and how as a people, we are losing sight of that in this age of digital media and immediacy. What happened to classrooms where ideas were created? Does everything just happen instantly and online these days? Have we gotten so plugged in that the idea of a treasure hunt is seen as nostalgic and old-school? When was the last time we went offline, went over to the local Space Centre, and looked up at the stars to find our stories?

It's a complex and ambitious production from the little theatre company that could. Take a journey through time, memory, and to a place somewhere beyond the stars in this ode to storytelling, humanity, Vancouver, and the Planetarium.

Electric Company's You Are Very Star runs now until June 29 at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

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