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Archive for November, 2011

Review: Imprints

Posted by art On November - 23 - 2011

Imprints
Theatre Gargantua in association with Factory Theatre
Written by Michael Spence
Directed by Jacquie P.A. Thomas
Starring Stephanie Belding, Cosette Derome, Conor Green, Ron Kennell, Kat Sandler, Michael Spence
Runs until November 26 @ Factory Studio Theatre

By Jen Handley

Although some of the publicity for Theatre Gargantua’s latest piece, Imprints, suggests that it is a ghost story, don’t go to see it with the expectation of finding the usual transparent disgruntled ex-beings in period garb; Hallowe’en and its cliché-heavy attendants have come and gone. Theatre Gargantua’s production has not only started from scratch to create its version of exactly what a ghost is, the company has set up the haunted house inside the unconscious mind of its heroine. In fact, Theatre Gargantua has managed to repurpose an Alice in Wonderland format to create something few ghost stories can: a sincere meditation on death. It’s unpretentious, inventively-premised, and, most surprisingly of all, with exuberant playfulness.

In the first moments of the play, the faces of a doctor and nurse, looming hugely as projections on a screen at the edge of the stage, are reassuring their patient as she drifts into what we soon find out is a medically-induced mental and physical “standstill” she has chosen in hopes of surviving until medical science can find a cure for a congenital disease which has killed every one of her paternal ancestors and is now coming for her. They promise the patient, a woman named Lily, that this suspension will seem like the blink of an eye, that she will experience nothing during this temporary death (a prediction many of us might find reasonably likely for regular death). However their masked faces blur into sinister, unfamiliar shapes, and as darkness envelopes Lily’s mind, we hear a horrified whisper, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Something’s gone wrong. I’m still here.” Moreover, she’s not alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Living Dances

Posted by art On November - 23 - 2011

Living Dances
Choreographed by James Kudelka
Performed by Rhonda Baker, Ryan Boorne, Valerie Calam, Michael Caldwell, Lauren EM Chin, Luke Garwood, Andrew Giday, Tyler Gledhill, Jones Henry, Laurence Lemieux, Daniel McArthur, Michael Sean Marye, Christianne Ullmark
November 12 @ Ryerson Theatre

By Tina Chu

Living Dances opened with Fifteen Heterosexual Duets, which saw Kudelka explore heterosexuality through male and female roles. Without a hint of cliché, the choreography’s simplicity lies only in the clarity of each duet and how Kudelka is able to capture and convey personalities without any excess in stylization where each gesture felt necessary and just right.

Admittedly, there were split seconds where certain duets felt ever so slightly dissonant, but overall the piece possessed a coherent and natural progression that allowed the fifteen duets to meld into and unravel from one another.

Particularly captivating were the duets of Valerie Calam and Daniel McArthur. Calam and McArthur were the only dancers to share the same partners throughout the piece and unsurprisingly so, as their compatibility as dancers were unmistakable and aside from Christianne Ullmark and Ryan Boorne’s duet, the pair seemed to truly steal the show. Read the rest of this entry »

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