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The Vancouver Sun
Sat.,Oct. 26, 1968

It's a Happening At Art Gallery


Over the last few years the "happening" has increasingly gained importance as an expression of local artistic and theatrical energy.

Thursday's events at the Vancouver Art Gallery suggests that various groups have not only learned to co-operate well in these "instant theater" ventures, but also that the caliber is steadily approaching the professional.

Pink Piece (For Flamingos), conceived by Helen Goodwin, uses for its stage the pink musical staircase recently made for display at the Art Gallery by John Neon.

As the young people, brightly costumed by Evelyn Roth And Ivan Sayer, moved in unpredictable patterns over the staircase as they seemed as carefree and as vain as birds.

Suddenly a dark suited actor, strangely at odds with the frivolity of the others appeared to shout out a poem of anguish about the mood of contemporary man in a bomb-scared society. He was borne on the shoulders of others, screaming into the darkness.


Gathie Falk directed the next playlet and again used the stairway as a focus for a comment about contemporary life. From under an enormous green plastic tent appeared singly performers who mounted the stairs in various guises. One carried a brimfull water tray: another dragged a heavy bag; another ran struggling to put on a coat. All appeared several times in the same sequence and also joined in groups to mount the stairs.

But in the end the stairs were transformed by Miss Falk into a more profound symbol. In a rapid sequence they appeared like an Aztec sacrificial alter with Kneeling supplicants, then the supplicants tumbled down to apparent destruction.

Pas de Deux by Helen Goodwin was a pun on the literal meaning of the ball;et expression. Two dancers Judith Schwarz and Tad Young, followed gracefully in each others footsteps like space walkers.


White Space portrayed with Judith Schwarz's tour de force. More than a girl who can move beautifully, she comes across as a characterful mimer who with the raising of an eyebrow can devastate an audience.

White Space portrayed with clarity those moments of indecision that plague the life of everyone. Miss Schwarz's agitated portrait of a girl trapped by her inability to shake off those specters from within, was enriched by an articulate sound tract by Gerry Gilbert and encased by a simple abstract set by Tad Young.

Glen Lewis' For the Great Bird P'ng combined the energies of everyone present. It was a time-defining, witty event that poked fun at the chic of white, the drag is to create on cue.

Everything ended with a plastic-bag free-for all and a poem about October and one wondered where the normal irritants of such performances had gone.


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