False Creek

Company Name: Welfare State International
Location: Vancouver
Year: 1986

In 1986 Welfare State was commissioned as one of the hundreds of events at EXPO 86 in Vancouver. The show was a composition of 5 Acts put together over 5 different locations. It mixed abstract performances capturing the patterns of life around False Creek, imagery from native Indian communities and other documentary material from the evicted and dispossessed communities formerly living around False Creek, which was requisitioned as the EXPO site.

The company worked for 6 weeks with Canadian actors and dancers, including Kathleen Doody who had developed the company Shadowlands in Toronto after Tempest on Snake Island. Mike Hares from Over the Top puppet company in England, took on the role of Glassy Jack, a legendary saloon keeper from 1867. He made marionettes for a solo show of a creature dredged up from the bottom of the creek. Glassy Jack’s wife spoke for all the dispossessed women of the Creek. Bob Bossin performed his Medicine Man show, in which he sold remedies for Nuclear War. Teams of welders led by Andy Plant, Ali Wood and Greville White created the Limping Horse of History and  converted Cadillacs into sharks. Pinocchio was performed as the last entrepreneur in an Indian long house, stretching up to attain the Neon Hart and getting electrocuted.The show took place after the site was closed to the general public. The company utilised the dock, the overhead cable cars, the Long House and deserted outdoor spaces. Focussed narrative performance, outdoor vigil and ceremony , social dance and processional mayhem drew the audience/participants on an extended journey each evening.

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