The performances at this year’s SummerWorks festival had us seriously wowed with the intricate range of artistic abilities, techniques and perspectives. The festival, which celebrates four key components: Music, Dance, Theatre and Live Art, packed an extra punch for their 25 year milestone. It was hard to pick a few favourites but we’ve narrowed down our most memorable shows in each category.
Music: LAL / All You Can Hold
You can’t box this Toronto-based collective as simply ‘Canadian electronica’ because they’ve found a way to infuse those beats with a fiery, unique voice and a mandate which “bridges the art with social justice.” Vocalist, poet and activist, Rosina Kazi alongside producer and sound engineer, Nicholas “Murr” Murray seduced the audience into a trance. It was a dreamy rhythm but also had heads bobbing to the bass and electronics at the same time. The vibe was so powerful and positive, it was almost tangible.
Director / Designer / Costumes by Ange Loft (Cult of Kateri); Dance performances by Ill Nana and Victoria Mata; Live Digital Painting by Sonny Bean; Projections by Matt Maaskant
Dance: Forgetting Remembering
This performance is described as a “relational sensory song and dance, modulating frequencies of experiences to empty time from mind.” It was cool because it was like choreographed chaos, a freestyle with a note of structure which played out a purpose. The strobe lights and rhythmic moves, voices and projected visuals created an immersive experience as they sprawled themselves among the audience. There was a lot of the same, yet we were still left guessing ‘what was next?’
Created by Robert Kingsbury; Performed by Niomi Cherney, Francesco Gagliardi, Danielle Baskerville, Julia Male, Brian Solomon, Claire Turner Reid, Jasmin McGraw, Winnie Ho
Theatre: That Syncing Feeling
This project had our hearts racing more than once. This was an experiment which consisted of two parts. Both examined our relationship with technology, our cellphones in particular. We were asked write our phone numbers on a piece of paper which were then mixed up and handed out to the audience. Then, we had to call that number and leave a random message. At one point we all had to put our phones in the middle of the floor. The unease on everyone’s face was reason enough to conduct these exercises which were re-teaching us how to communicate.
The second part was an experiment conducted by a woman in a doctor’s white coat. Half of us were given a number to text of someone in the room and an iPod loaded with instructions. We ended up sharing deep connections with these strangers and left never knowing who they were. We definitely got a dose of ‘that syncing feeling’ and currently, re-examining how we engage with technology, ahem, I mean, humans.
Written by Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe; Directed by Simon Bloom; Performed by Alex McCooeye and Nicola Elbro; Produced by Mitchell Cushman; Stage Managed by Bryn McLeod
Live Art: Wildlife
Wildlife was an awesome collection of skits and monologues which tapped into heavy themes like, race , religion and Drake vs. Meek Mill; hilarious but in a real thought-provoking way. For example, one skit was a depiction of Eve eating that fateful apple. She starts off sweet and innocently ( as I’m sure lots of us imagine) but then she gets really into this new found taste. It turns subtly sexual, then comedic. These nuances forced us to re-visit this famous imagery in a way we never thought to consider it.
A collaborative performance produced by Events In Real Time; Conceived of by Liz Peterson; Written by Amy Lam and Liz Peterson with Hannah Cheesman, Lindsey Clark, Onyeka Igwe, Sean O’Neill, Aliya Pabani, Matt Smith
Special Presentation: HYPER_
This performance was an intersection of ‘visual and digital arts…a combinations of UV lights, body paint and video projections’. It was a dance which used all these facets to produce a trippy expansion of our periphery. The colours were wild and the movements were full of conviction and strength. You know you’re in for a hell of an experience when you’re handed 3D glasses upon entry.
Performed and Created by Freya Björg Olafson; Lighting Design by Hugh Conacher; Music by Ghostigital, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kippi Kaninus [Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson], LE1F, Dubbel Dutch
SummerWorks is the largest, curated performance festival of theatre, dance, music, and live art in Canada with a strong focus on Canadian works. Can’t wait for next year’s line-up! For more info visit: summerworks.ca
Photos by Dahlia Katz
Posted by Samira