Jayson McDonald - "Underbelly" cred: James Travis

The Beat Movement was all about living: extracting as much as possible from every moment and resisting the systems of control that might keep one from experiencing life as one sees fit. The trinity of personalities that came to define The Beat Generation were Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs.

Burroughs was the odd man out — significantly older than the rest, and a junkie to boot — and his work most often featured caustic, unflinching descriptions of the lives of junkies and the disenfranchised parodies of hypocritical authority. He created bizarre, hallucinatory worlds filled with doomed anti-heroes and new literary styles that resisted definition.

Underbelly, Jayson McDonald’s fifth touring show, is a fevered hallucination based on the myth and impact of Burroughs and The Beats. Jayson McDonald’s tour de force performance and poetic virtuosity take us on a hallucinatory journey of language, imagery, and an entire generation.

Jack Kerouac coined the phrase “The Beat Generation” to describe himself and a circle of friends whom he felt best exemplified the general feeling of unrest and dissatisfaction among the youth of America. It soon became a significant literary and cultural movement, and its devotees committed themselves to the moment, the eternal now — having been robbed of a comfortable assurance that there would be a world to grow old in.

Underbelly has received numerous accolades across Canada including a London Theatre Brickenden Award for Outstanding Original Script, Artists’ Choice Award at The Edmonton Fringe, Georgia Straight Critics’ Choice Award, and Cultchivating the Fringe Award at The Vancouver Fringe Fest. I caught this show at the Fringe, and it was quite the mind-blower.

The Cultch Presents Underbelly

Dates: March 18 to 30; March 18 to 22, 25 to 30, 8 pm; March 23 and 20, 2 pm
Venue: Vancity Culture Lab at The Cultch, 1895 Venables Street, Vancouver
Tickets: From $31; available online or via phoning 604.251.1363

About Jayson McDonald

London, Ontario-based writer and performer McDonald is the Artistic Director of Stars And Hearts and The Natural Broadcasting Company. He’s produced shows with Spiral Inc. and Working Actor Theater in New York, Port Stanley Festival Theatre, The Rooster Group of Seattle, Black Sheep Theatre in Ottawa, Impact Theatre in Limerick, Ireland, and The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.

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