Victoria, BC’s UNO Fest Goes Online, Y’know

You know it’s UNO Fest time when the end of April rolls around in Victoria, BC. Under normal situations, this would be a live theatre event taking place at venues across this city. In the midst of the current coronavirus-19 crisis where governments are encouraging their citizens to stay at home so avoid contact with possible carriers, just how entertainment gatherings are adapting is to simply go online! Plus, there’s free events on this festival’s Facebook page.

This event starts today, and when coming to the garden city isn’t possible, fans of solo theatre can check out this unique art scene from afar.

From Intrepid Theatre’s website:

UNO Fest has always pushed the boundaries of what solo performance can be. Facing this global pandemic, we are not able to gather in the theatre together and must keep our communities safe. We are not cancelling or postponing this year’s UNO Fest, instead we are working to bring UNO to your home with UNO Fest Online.

Experience video clips and new work online, interviews with the artists, free streaming solo performances, and Facebook Happy Half-Hours with artists and artistic staff. We are embracing our festival tagline – this is theatre outside the lines!

We see this as an experiment. A way to keep art and performance in your life while isolated at home. A challenge to rise to. A new meaning to the term UNO Fest as you experience UNO while being UNO.

Ticket purchases are still required to access the video content. You will then get a custom code and a web link to enter it so you can watch the shows performing that week. There will also be free online content on Intrepid’s Facebook Live page. Everyone wins in this venture. The artists get paid for their work, and those theatre goers interested in what this city offers for solo performances doesn’t have to travel here to find out!

This year’s show caught my attention with Sansei. The description is one which is not only a different look but also a follow-up to perceptions to the interment of Japanese Canadians than Americans (from AMC’s The Terror). It’s worth a look. This time, we have Ikeda-san’s point of view than Takei’s from the said televised version.

It’s a truly fun and diverse bunch of performances to check out. This particular festival has been running for over 20 years and is showing no signs of slowing down, despite having an in-joke of demonstrating how social isolation theatre can pan out. The actors are on one side of the camera while the attendees can view from the safety of home.

To buy virtual tickets, please visit here.

April 28 – May 3

Week 1 line-up:

The Book of My Shames – Isaiah Bell & Sean Guist, in partnership with Pacific Opera Victoria (Victoria)
But Wait! There’s More! – J McLaughlin (Victoria) plus a video of J’s past UNO show,
This Time I Mean It! 
Gemini – Lindsay Delaronde (Victoria)

May 5 – May 9

Week 2 line-up:

Monstrous – Sarah Waisvisz/Calalou (Ottawa)

Sansei: The Storyteller – Kunji Mark Ikeda/Cloudsway Dance Theatre (Calgary)
Who Killed Gertrude Crump? – Tara Travis/Monster Theatre (Vancouver)


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