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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

how to be opens up the possibilities for dance and theatre

Boca del Lupo opens its 2015 Micro Performance Series (MPS) with how to be, a dance/theatre hybrid that explores how we think we “should be”, how we think others “should be”, and the folly in believing that we “should be” anything at all.

“Almost everybody I know struggles with it, that examining and re-examining of how we ‘should be’,” says co-creator and director Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg. “The ‘should bes’ are just constant. Should I be more educated, should I learn to be a carpenter, should I have more children?  We wanted to explore the rules around these questions.  In our culture there are rules, but they are being contradicted all the time and it is confusing.  This idea of being yourself is hard.”

Friedenberg believes that humans are pack animals that respond to those around us and the messages that we are being bombarded with constantly.  “I’m very interested in human psychology and especially those things that make us uncomfortable. This is something that we wanted to examine and question.”

But don’t let any exploration of what makes us uncomfortable scare you, for while how to be will take place in the tiny Anderson Street Space on Granville Island, the intent is not make the audience feel uneasy.

“It is almost like you’re in a crowded Skytrain car, and you can hear people having conversations and you’re really aware of their physical movements, and their eye movements,” says Friedenberg. “Like all of my work I want to take care of my audience so that there is always going to be a place or way if you don’t want engage. It is about being perceptive of one another with the audience reading the performances, and the performers reading the audience.”

Director and co-creator Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg
Director and co-creator Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

Written in collaboration with Justine A. Chambers, Susan Elliott, Kate Franklin, Josh Martin, Kimberly Stevenson, and Marcus Youssef, Friedenberg says the process of creating how to be was an interesting experience.

“It really was pretty fantastic,” she says. “These are all artists I know quite well and we have worked together in the past. You think you know people, and you start peeling back the layers and discover we’re all wrestling with the same stuff.”

The goal for Friendenberg and her team is to have audiences walk away with an appreciation that we are all grappling with the same questions.

“The more you know the confusion, difficulty and pain the person standing next to you is going through, the kinder you are to them and to yourself,” says Friedenberg.

A blend of dance and theatre, Friedenberg says how to be opens up the possibilities for those that may find themselves attracted to one of the two genres.

“Because it is a hybrid, a person who just sees dance will appreciate it, and a person that has never seen dance will appreciate it as well,” she says. “You’re getting this two sides of a coin – great monologues and this incredible dance – and it becomes this place for dance and theatre audiences to meet.”

how to be plays The Anderson Street Space (1405 Anderson St, Granville Island) February 26 – March 1. Visit for tickets and information.

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