The Only Good Indian wanders (in this incarnation)

The Only Good Indian is playing as part of the rEvolver Festival.

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is one of the four actors taking turns with the solo The Only Good Indian at the rEvolver Festival. (I saw Adele Noronha.)

You know that expression about shooting fish in a barrel? Reviewing The Only Good Indian is like trying to shoot a fish in the ocean from an airplane. At least in the performance I witnessed, The Only Good Indian is hard to get a bead on.

Jivesh Parasram, Tom Arthur Davis, and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard created this solo show for Toronto company Pandemic Theatre, and they are three of the four actors who are performing it in rotation here at the rEvolver Festival. The fourth is local artist Adele Noronha.

Every actor who takes on The Only Good Indian draws on their personal history to create about sixty percent of the text. The forty percent that stays constant deals with multiple issues including occupation, colonization, indigeneity, and otherness. In the framing device, the actor/storyteller—Noronha the night I saw it—dons a suicide vest and tells the audience that she’s going to blow herself up in 30 minutes and take a bunch of us along with her. [Read more…]

Geologic Formations: the overly abstract title is a clue

In Geologic Formations, the company uses fabric to represent myofascia.

The physical imagery in Geologic Formations delivers less than it promises.

Geologic Formations is a show about embodiment, but it is rarely viscerally embodied.

In Geologic Formations, mia susan amir explores the multigenerational psychological and physical effects of trauma. Her saba (grandfather) survived the Bialystok Ghetto in Poland during WW II. But “survived” is a relative word. After the war, amir’s saba threw a knife at his wife’s head while their daughter, amir’s mother, looked on. Amir’s mother terrified the writer by, apparently, trying to strangle her when she was a child. In the text, amir tells us that she suffers physical pain, which she associates with her family’s multigenerational disturbance.

That’s intense material to start with. Unsurprisingly perhaps, this project retreats to heady abstractions. [Read more…]

Viva rEvolver!

While many larger companies routinely fail to represent the diverse cultural make-up of this city, the rEvolver Festival is doing a bang-up job of it.

Of the twelve ticketed shows that will be on view at the Cultch May 11 to 22, seven have been created by artists of colour or have artists of colour in significant leadership roles.

I’m particularly interested in Never the Last, which Christine Quintana, who is an artist of colour, has created with Molly MacKinnon. It’s about violin prodigy and composer Sophie Carmen Friedman, who was born in 1919, and the love she shared with painter Walter Gramatté. Delinquent Theatre, which also brought us the Jessie-winning Stationary: A Recession-Era Musical, is producing. There’s music in this one, too. Hang onto your hats.

And okay.odd intrigues me. Based on the concepts of concentration, mindfulness, and visualization, okay.odd promises to be “Part spiritual retreat and part commentary on our image-inundated affect-obsessed society.” Yeah, baby!

A company called Hong Kong Exile is behind okay.odd. That company consists of director and performer Milton Lim, choreographer and dancer Natalie Tin Yin Gan, and composer/media artist Remy Siu.

Not to forget intersectionality: seven of the shows have also been created or directed by women. And there’s a queer piece called Charisma Furs by Toronto’s Katie Sly.

Good for rEvolver, a relatively low-budget initiative, for showing the larger companies how it can be done!

Get sensitive

Adam Lazarus, The Art of Building a Bunker, QuipTake., rEvolver Festival

Adam Lazarus does unspeakable things with a roast chicken in The Art of Building a Bunker

The best show I’ve seen this week—the best show I’ve seen in many weeks—is The Art of Building a Bunker, which is playing here as part of the rEvolver Festival.  [Read more…]

Pack a rEvolver this weekend

rEvolver Festival, Cocktales with Maria

Classical pianist Karen Lee-Morang and opera singer Joel Klein (aka Maria Toilette) join forces with composer Isaiah Bell in “Cocktales with Maria”at the rEvolver Festival.

The rEvolver Festival looks like the most likely place to have a good time in a theatre this weekend.  [Read more…]

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