Interview: ARC Works' Bon Dos on Walk the Talk

As you stare down at your soaked shoes sick with the affordable housing blues and that classic Canadian social anxiety, you contemplate moving to Toronto as the 99 B-Line rocks you to sleep the same way a baby drifts off in a noisy café. Yes, Vancouverites can be anti-social and no we don’t want to talk about it—unless you’re Bon Dos and the creatives behind the performance art team, ARC Works. In which case, you’re trying to entertain, connect, and reunite Vancouverites through festivals like the Fringe. Connecting with SAD Mag, Bon Dos chats briefly about his latest project Walk the Talk, which will debut September 8th on Granville Island.

Calvin Jay: How and why did you shift your focuses from business to live theatre? How did ARC Works come together?

Bon Dos: When I retired [from business], I started rediscovering theatre through a recreational adult musical theatre program… I then started realizing my wishes to be involved in creating and sometimes performing theatre/performance art. The partnership of people met in this theatre program course at Broadway edge studios, years ago, and with alike values we formed ARC Works.

CJ: Why does Vancouver seem so anti-social and how did this play into the concept behind Walk the Talk?

BD: I have little idea! Perhaps people are far more engaged in the immediacy of gratification and their own lifestyle. I wanted to address this through theatre art creation; I took inspiration from a gentleman, Thomas C. Knox, who beautifully and simply set up a table and chairs in a New York City subway station, and invited people to talk to him and establish interaction and connection. In a similar manner, in our show, we provide artists and performers an opportunity and setting to hold meaningful conversations, interact with each other, and share stories of their past – based on the information shared, the artists can perform customized work just for that audience to reflect and celebrate connection.

CJ: Your theatre piece includes a plethora of different performers; a musical saw player, a spoken word artist, and a Japanese conductor/composer from Japan, what was it like working with such an extensive range of performers?

BD: I think it was very easy. That’s because the performers all share similar values in seeing the importance of connecting with the audience… Each of the artists are able to shape, create, and improvise their work in order to reflect their connection back to the audience. It’s very free form.

This is a work that I have purposely not wanted to completely define from the beginning, and just let the process when working with the artists form around key points in order to create this work.

CJ: What would you say to encourage Fringe-goers who aren’t so keen on interactive theatre to check out Walk the Talk?

BD: The artists [in Walk the Talk] are just as human as any one of us. We will open our hearts and we will share our stories with you to whatever extent you feel comfortable in sharing [with us]. We will hear you, we will see you, we will acknowledge you, give you a piece of our art – from our hearts to yours.

Walk the Talk is a part of this year's Fringe Festival and is running from September 8th to September 17th, from 7 - 9PM at the Info Centre. Admission is free. See you there! t