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plays calgary

3 shows you should see at the High Performance Rodeo

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.

High Performance Rodeo

Photo courtesy High Performance Rodeo.

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.

High Performance Rodeo

Photo courtesy High Performance Rodeo.

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.

High Performance Rodeo

Photo courtesy High Performance Rodeo.