HENRI FABERGE’S FEINT OF HART with MAYLEE TODD, PHEDRE, INESSA FRANTOWSKI, EVANY ROSEN (PICNICFACE) and PETRA GLYNT at Videofag (187 Augusta), Part II tonight (Thursday, July 11), 8 pm, and Parts I & II Friday to Sunday (July 12-14), 7 pm. $20. SS, RT. See listing.
For Henri Fabergé's Feint Of Hart, Kensington Market's small Videofag venue has been transformed into a forest, with real branches as trees and a canopy of paper leaves.
Billed as a "pansexual punk rock opera" and set "sometime in the Edwardian era," Feint Of Hart follows Fabergé as he finds himself chafing under the expectations of the repressive Boyce Boys' Naval Academy and seeking creative expression at Hart College, specifically at its show-within-a-show Feint Of Hart cabaret.
The forest serves as a no-man's-land between Boyce and Hart College's art school, and provides shelter for Fabergé's clandestine hookups.
Henry Fletcher, the show's creator and star (Fabergé is his alter ego), was originally approached by Hart House at U of T to curate a monthly show that featured his band, the Adorables.
During its seven-month run, the show became increasingly elaborate, with ambitious staging and props by art director Juliann Wilding and an ever more epic story arc.
"It wasn't a very manageable thing to recreate or take on the road," recalls Fletcher. "I lost track of how many people we had over the course of the run."
So The Fabergé Fruits Collective (Fletcher and writer/performers Alex Tindal, Kayla Lorette, Miguel Rivas and Roger Bainbridge) set about creating a distilled version, boiling it down to nine main characters.
The show incorporates video, live music, comedy and a nightly special guest. The house band (including this writer on drums) has a Toronto scene stalwart musical director in Robin Hatch - of Sheezer, Dwayne Gretzky and Our Lady Peace - who also plays keys.
The collective hired Dora-nominated director Zack Russell to provide fresh eyes and ensure the piece moves beyond a best-of sketch show.
"Zack's an incredible force not only in containing our craziness but in pushing us to rethink moments we thought were set in stone," says Fletcher.
Seeing the paper-leafed forest beyond the trees, you might say.