At the Shadbolt Centre for Arts until Feb. 2 tickets.shadboltcentre.com
In previous Boca del Lupo productions, Jay Dodge has harnessed himself and scaled giant cedars in Stanley Park or swung high up in the underbelly of the Burrard Street Bridge. He's airborne again in PHOTOG although his fictitious character Thomas Smith admits he's afraid of flying. Strange, because Smith, as a "conflict photographer," is constantly flying from Afghanistan to Libya, Syria, Haiti and Ivory Coast - wherever there's a war.
Boca's Sherry Yoon and Dodge created Smith from interviews with four real-life photographers, one of whom, Tim Hetherington, was killed by the Libyan military in a mortar attack in 2011.
In PHOTOG, Smith has been evicted from his New York apartment and has returned to the U.S. to clear the place out. He's reluctant to move because in the midst of all the chaos and killing, his apartment is a refuge.
With videos, stills, a video-cam focussed on Dodge and sometimes on the audience, the show is outstanding in its use of technology. Dodge appears in the midst of metal scaffolding prickling with lights and rigging. There's a guy in the shadows constantly clambering - spider-like - shifting cameras, lights and guy wires. Everything is constantly in motion and it's fantastic to watch.
Despite how Smith's stories are all interesting, they don't, however, always advance the story but seem, at times, an excuse for more stunning effects. For me, the most interesting aspect of Smith's stories is his inner conflict: what compels him to photograph the orphaned, the dead and the dying?
But the visual component is fantastic. And I did feel complicit: while Boca del Lupo was blowing me away at the theatre, others elsewhere are being blown up. Is there something I should be doing?
-reviewed by Jo Ledingham firstname.lastname@example.org