Spoken word artist Shane Koyczan will perform at the Sid Williams Theatre on Tuesday

Shane Koyczan: Emotions in motion

March 24 at the Sid Williams Theatre

Mark Allan

Special to the Record

Shane Koyczan plans to get emotional March 24 at the Sid Williams Theatre.

He would like you to join him.

The acclaimed Canadian spoken-word artist says he wants to get an emotional reaction from audiences.

“If you’re having an emotional day at work and you’re crying at work, they’ll send you home, ’cause the world doesn’t want you to be emotional. But we’re emotional creatures.

“When I do my shows, the whole goal is to remind people, ‘It’s OK to feel what you’re feeling.’ It’s important that you do. It means absolutely no good to bottle it up all those years.”

He describes his writing and performances as “a large part of my own personal therapy to talk about these things.”

Asked what a Comox Valley audience can expect from the second stop on a national tour, Koyczan replies that he doesn’t like to do that.

In fact, he can’t because he prefers spontaneity.

“I like to keep it fresh for myself as well, right? I never really know what I’m going to do. Like any show I do, I can promise there’ll be a range of emotions.”

He says it’s a more honest show if he doesn’t commit to a set list a month ahead.

“You’re then able to decide, ‘You know what? I’m feeling this piece tonight or I’m feeling that piece,’ and just be in the moment.”

Audience reaction plays a big role.

“A show can change within a performance. It can feel like, ‘They’re not really feeling this kind of stuff. I’ll try something else.’”

Twenty scheduled performances that end Aug. 14 at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival with Koyczan’s band Short Story Long in Lyons, Colo., begin this Saturday in Nelson. Courtenay is the second stop.

What’s the good, bad and ugly about being on the road?

“The good is, I love what I do. I absolutely love it.”

The bad? Being lonely on the road.

“You go, you do your show, you’ve got 400 or 500 people in the audience and sometimes even more.

“You go from that to an empty hotel room. It can be pretty isolating.”

Koyczan, bullied as a youth, admits he suffers from depression, which can amplify loneliness.

“You’ve got to be careful with yourself on the road. It can be easy to slip into that (depression). I have to have time for myself but also be around people so I don’t feel so isolated.”

The ugly? Travelling.

“I used to love to travel. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait these days with airlines, buses … that can be really tiring.

“You’re putting a lot of yourself out there; it can be really exhausting, and then you have to travel and do it all over again the next day.”

Since first achieving recognition in 2005 with Visiting Hours, his first full-length collection of poetry, Koyczan’s career highlights have ranged from being the MC at the first Cumberland festival to performing in Vancouver during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

How does he connect with people?

“It really comes down to honesty and being open about my life. ‘Here’s what I went through. It might not be what you went through but you probably experienced something along these lines.’

“I think everybody’s been depressed at some point in their lives. Everybody’s been bullied at one point in their lives. It’s just human experience.”

For more about Shane Koyczan, visit shanekoyczan.com.

He performs March 24 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay at 7:30 p.m. For details and tickets, visit  sidwilliamstheatere.com, phone 250-338-2430 or visit the Sid box office at 442 Cliffe Ave. in Courtenay.

Opening act

The Comox Valley’s first designated poet laureate will open for Shane Koyczan on March 24 at the Sid Williams Theatre.

The poet laureate, chosen from a current search,  will also receive a $1,000 honorarium to perform duties during a two-year term.

The Comox Valley Community Arts Council will announce the first local poet laureate March 23.

 

Just Posted

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Gallery accepting applications for Youth Media Project

The Comox Valley Art Gallery is accepting applications for the Youth Media… Continue reading

Ribfest returning to the Comox Valley

It’s fast approaching—the fifth annual Comox Valley Ribfest takes place from Friday,… Continue reading

Merville crash closes highway in both directions

There is no estimated time of Highway 19A opening to traffic

Kayak shop in Courtenay getting back to business after crash

Operation does most of its business during busy summer months

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read