A Crisis isn’t a Crisis, When It’s… Elsewhere

As Venezuela’s pain spreads outward, it becomes a subject for art. Venezuelan-Canadian playwright and performer Joy Ross-Jones brings it to the stage in Montreal from January 24th to the 27th.

Photo: Imago Theatre retrieved

Venezuelanness used to be confined to Venezuela. No longer. The all-consuming crisis of the last five years has made it into a global phenomenon. You can buy an arepa in the souk in Jerusalem. You can hear joropo at Tokyo University. You can hear the stories of a nation’s martyrdom from criollo Uber drivers from Adelaide to Zaragoza. Our pain spilled its banks. It’s global.  

Past that first moment of shock, artists are doing what artists do—turning pain into art. That certainly is the agenda for Joy Ross-Jones, the Venezuelan-Canadian behind Elsewhere. Her one-woman show explores the experience of survival and loss Venezuelans are facing, through seven characters played from behind masks.

For her director, Cristina Cugliandro, the goal is to draw the audience into a personal experience of the emotional energy of Venezuela’s collapse. “We want to explore the feeling of being stuck, enclosed in a conflict that never ends,” she tells me. And to open a dialogue among Canadians about the reality of a crisis that is so near, yet feels so distant.

Elsewhere is on for a short, four-day run at the Centaur Theater in Montreal from January 24th to the 27th. I’ll be participating in a short discussion right after the show on Saturday the 26th, at 3:00 p.m. Come meet me! You can buy tickets online here.