The High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s international festival of the arts, runs from January 9 – 27 and tends to defy explanation. HPR’s founder, the late Michael Green, said it best in a 2014 interview with Where Calgary: “One theme you’ll always find at the High Performance Rodeo is ‘nothing ordinary.’ There’s no ordinary work here.” Here’s a small sample of the more than 20 performances featured:
LIVE YOUR PRIME, WITH DAMIEN FROST
Whether you’re aging gracefully or not so gracefully, join Damien Frost, his son Damien Junior and his wife Darlene on a hilarious journey behind the scenes of self-help gurus and untangle questions such as, is there really a Fountain of Youth? And, what if the longer you live, the likelier you are to live longer? The side-splitting world premiere is brought to you by the creative force behind hits like Ilsa Queen of the Nazi Love Camp and Calgary, I Love You, But You’re Killing Me. Playing January 9-19.
HAMMERED HAMLET (DRUNK SHAKESPEARE)
Sure, you’ve seen Shakespeare before. But have you ever seen a version of Hamlet where the cast is, well, hammered? Be prepared for some slurred speech, outlandish antics and audience participation as the performers stumble their way to that final scene — and yes, they really are drunk. Playing January 23-26.
PEARLE HARBOUR’S CHAUTAUQUA
“Part cabaret, part tent revival, all drag” is the formula for this wartime wonder and tragicomedienne’s show, which includes music, sing-alongs, puppet shows and (why not?) an exorcism. Pearle Harbour is an All-American gal who’s sweet-as-pie and sharp-as-nails, and has — somewhat ironically — received a Dora Award nomination for Outstanding Male Performance. Playing January 10-12.