The core inspiration was found in a stash of 16mm films that director-cowriter Long and dramaturg-cowriter Marcus Youssef discovered.
Theatre Replacement has kept a small studio space in Vancouver’s Russian Hall since 2011. Some years ago, in a neighbouring closet, the company came across close to 20 hours of 16mm films sent from the USSR between the 1950s and 1980s. These slowly decomposing artifacts, many of them fragments, cover everything from heavy industry to demonstrations of folk dances. Drawing on this discovery as both a conceptual and aesthetic spark, Do you mind if I sit here? brings together an ensemble of artists to develop an immersive performance that combines speculative fiction and a shared meal.
We begin this process at a moment of significant global uncertainty and, hopefully, equally unbound imagination. After two years of development, Do you mind if I sit here? will offer audiences a place and a moment wherein we might collectively imagine a future we could have never guessed would exist.
Theatre Replacement is an ongoing collaboration between James Long and Maiko Yamamoto. Whether working together or apart, they work with a wide range of collaborators and use extended processes to create performances, events and public art projects from intentionally simple beginnings. Conversations, interviews and arguments collide with Yamamoto and Long’s aesthetics, resulting in theatrical experiences that are authentic, immediate and hopeful. Their work is about a genuine attempt to coexist. Formed in 2003 and based in Vancouver British Columbia, the company’s work has been created and performed across Canada and internationally.
The National Creation Fund’s investment of $125,000 allows Theatre Replacement to immediately integrate the media artists and associated equipment in every stage of development for Do you mind if I sit here?.
Presentation Partner: PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.
Development partner: Neworld Theatre.
Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.
January 26 to 29, 2022: World premiere, Russian Hall (Vancouver), presented by the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.