Discomfort Lab 2019

Old Central Library

616 MacLeod Tr SE

Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre presents:

Discomfort Lab 2019

April 26-28, 2019 – 7:00 pm,
plus a 1:00 pm matinee on Saturday, April 27
Old Central Library, 616 MacLeod Tr SE (enter from the back, via the loading dock)
Tickets $25, $15, or pay-what-you-want; buy online or at the door

Content warnings: audience participation, nudity, coarse language, descriptions of violence, sexual assault, overdose, death
Please contact us at info@swallowabicycle.com if you have any questions or hesitations.

In 2017, Swallow-a-Bicycle ran a performance incubator called Discomfort Lab, as a way of testing our company’s mandate of supporting work which engages in ‘productive discomfort’. We gave artists space, money, and time. We endeavoured to hold space for uncomfortable conversations.

The overwhelming feedback we got from Calgary’s performance community was: YES TO THIS. MORE DISCOMFORT PLEASE. So we’re trying to make Discomfort Lab a recurring part of Swallow-a-Bicycle’s programming.

Discomfort Lab 2019’s projects include:

  • Die Phantasie
    creator/performer: Stephen Jackman-Torkoff
    with visual art by Stephen, assisted by Katie Green and featuring some of Katie’s original work

Die Phantasie is a poetic phantasmal quest of a wandering poet/fool into the hedonistic liberation of Berlin and the spiritual unknown of the self. Their world is turned upside down as they attempt to open their heart to every last beat of life. To let fall away the restrictions of the home self and let in the self that exists beyond realms of fear. And as the poet seems to reach this point of transcendence, the death of their brother back home leads them down a path of immense grief.

In a sometimes electric, sometimes rhythmic and sometimes disarmingly casual style the poet offers a world of effervescent light and consuming darkness. What happens when those two energies meet? And who do we become? And what new worlds can we create from this place?

In Die Phantasie the poet pushes the edges of what we think is possible and asks What freedom truly means? Where do we hold the dead? How do we actually live? And is it possible to recreate the world through intimacy, sex, friendship, delving into the depth of our pain and/or disco dancing? The poet’s main question though that drives them to wander around the world is…. How many people is it possible to love?

  • fastLOVE
    artists: Wayne Burns, Mii-Sum-In-Iskum, J Stevens

Following a young man’s assault at a hotel on New Year’s Eve,​ fastLOVE​ is an exploration of consumption and the political power of human bodies. A three-part solo show utilizing storytelling, video installation and vocal sampling, this piece investigates the ways in which we manipulate ourselves for the pleasure of others.

  • Clothing
    artists: Mark Hopkins, Bianca Guimarães de Manuel

Clothing is a strong marker of group affiliation: are you one of us or one of them? Two artists from Swallow-a-Bicycle – Bianca Guimarães de Manuel and Mark Hopkins – will dig into the role that clothing plays in uniting or separating us. With the rise of conservative populism and extremism around the world, we’re interested in how clothing demarcates what is acceptable and what is to be feared: whether it’s the Quebec government’s religious symbols ban, that will disproportionately affect Muslim women and other religious minorities, or Calgary’s recent public uproar about a swim organized by a group of nudists. Clothing will be an investigation into how we’re received by society based on what we do, or do not, wear.

*Regrettably, End the Stigma is no longer part of Discomfort Lab 2019. We look forward to seeing that project’s future development.

Buy tickets online or at the door.

Tickets and Passes

Discomfort Lab 2019

April 26, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Old Central Library

616 MacLeod Tr SE

Tickets $25, $15, or pay-what-you-want

Upcoming Projects