Starting on Friday, March 15thand going through to Sunday March 24th, The Manitoba Theatre for Young People (MTYP) is presenting a children’s show that deals with very current social issues but presents them in a very old school way.

They have teamed up with the Arch8 Dance Company to present a production called Tetris. For some, the name Tetris recalls a time when fitting blocks together was a great way to kill time and get your heart-rate going as the blocks came faster and faster; with that always incessant music playing in the background. For others it might just be a sign of a bygone age when this is the best people had pre-internet.

Arch8 have put a very new, innovative spin on the idea of Tetris. It uses the game to draw parallels to life. This idea of wanting to fit in but yet still be unique and individual to ourselves…. and this delicate dance we do between the two throughout our lives.

Arch8 is a dance troupe based out of the Netherlands that creates shows for young people. The show Tetris is geared towards children five to twelve years old.

This is not the first time MTYP has presented Tetris. As Sarah Flynn Artistic Associate with MTYP explains, “We had it at MTYP five or six years ago. Artistic Director Pablo [Felices-Luna] had seen it years prior, and was like ‘this is great!’... and he brought it to Winnipeg. It was amazing when we had it then and now we have it again … because it is just this piece that is just incredible and lasts!”

The cast for Tetris consists of four dancers who are dressed in very basic colors in order to represent the Tetris blocks. As Flynn explains, “They spend a lot of time fitting their bodies together in different ways and creating these shapes and these visuals with their bodies that are very reminiscent of Tetris. They also talk about how we fit together, and fitting together properly…it is all a metaphor for the way we interact with other humans.”

As the show progresses, the dancers invite audience members to join them on stage “They [Arch8] really start building that communication with the audience from the beginning all the way through...thy start creating that connection and then eventually all the kids want to be involved…they put out a hand to a kid and pull him on stage…once one kid is on stage every other kid is like ‘When’s my turn!’ Eventually everyone is on stage and it’s a whole big party,” says Flynn.

Tetris does not have a plot. Instead it uses the idea of fitting together as an acrobatic troupe, and having children join in and work with others on stage as a tool to explore the concept togetherness and contributing to society in a productive way.

What makes this show particularly welcome now in 2024, is that the very human desire to connect, and converse was missing for a relatively large part of children’s lives due to the pandemic. Flynn has seen this basic need of the human experience first-hand. As she explains, “I saw the show this morning and you can just see the kids buzzing … vibrating with the need to connect with the dancers…to connect with each other…to be on stage…to be together. They are lacking that connection and that physical touch that was not there for so many years of their formative lives. So to be able to be given the opportunity to just go full force into it…they are taking it…they are grabbing hold and running!”

Tetris, as performed by Arch8 and presented by MTYP sounds like it is sure to be a hit with both children and parents. It runs from March 15th and going through to Sunday March 24th.  Don’t miss out on an opportunity to see a show that your children will remember for a very long time.

For more details on MTYP's presentation of Tetris visit their website.