Winterlab festival features innovation

Sensory experience will cure the winter blues

Il Pixel Rosso’s part-film

The sights, sounds and smells of a post-apocalyptic city in ruins are yours to explore, as your tour guides – a group of clowns – take you on a storied ride through the city.

It’s a movie, it’s a live performance and it makes for a “weird, touching and beautiful” theatre experience.

“It crosses the line between being a film experience and being a live experience,” Janet Munsil says of Il Pixel Rosso’s And the Birds Fell From the Sky. “It’s a very immersive experience because your vision is taken away and replaced with a video. And there’s audio. And then there’s a live performance going on around you. … You can’t see the performance, but you can feel the performance. Things are being put in your hand, and you can smell the performance in places.”

This “sensory experience” is one of four international shows coming to Victoria as part of Intrepid Theatre’s new festival, Winterlab.

Munsil, Intrepid’s artistic director, says the new, small festival will expose theatregoers to some of the “most exciting independent theatre-work out there in the world.”

While she points to And the Birds’ unique form of storytelling as innovative (“It’s not audience participation – only two people are in the audience – but you’re both completely immersed in the experience.”), she says all the shows have qualities that make them special, and a treat to have in Victoria.

Also showing at the festival is Vanessa Van Durme’s Look Mummy, I’m Dancing, Wonderheads’ Grim & Fischer, and two visual performance pieces using overhead projector animation from Daniel Barrow.

Winterlab will also feature a workshop from Il Pixel Rosso on combining technology with live performance, and a Playwright’s Cabaret, readings of new works by local playwrights.

“It’s the most cold and boring time of the year. It’s a good time to shake yourself awake with some really extraordinary theatre experiences – stuff like you’ve never seen before,” Munsil says.

Winterlab runs Jan. 23 to Feb. 3, with shows running at Intrepid Theatre Club (#2-1609 Blanshard St.) and Metro Studio (1411 Quadra St.).

Tickets, from $18 to a $69 festival pass, can be purchased online at ticketrocket.org or by calling 250-590-6291.

For more information on Winterlab, visit intrepidtheatre.com.

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