Photo by Dan Merlo
THE END OF CINEMATICS by Mikel Rouse (Rouse/Luminato). To June 12, Wednesday-Thursday 7:30 pm. Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front East). $25-$45. 416-872-1111, www.luminato.com. Rating: NN
The second in Mikel Rouse’s trilogy of multimedia operas is just as dull and repetitive as his first, Dennis Cleveland. More people walked out on this one - which may be explained by the fact that it was easier to exit the Bluma Appel Theatre, where it’s continuing until tomorrow, than it was the CBC building studio where Dennis was performed.
As you enter the Bluma lobby, you’re hit with the smell of popcorn. You can even take it (and some soda!) to your seat. How much? Gee, no thanks. Don’t want to spoil dinner, or be responsible for St. Lawrence Centre Sticky Floor.
The “show” itself begins with four trailers for upcoming movies. These are actual trailers, with no commentary by Rouse. The point? You tell me. Someone next to me didn’t bother finding out – he left midway through the trailer for Mamma Mia.
After a series of opening titles are projected onto a screen, the piece begins, and it’s your basic exploration of what film/video can do and what theatre can do. We “read” different things into film than we do at live performers on a stage. Not exactly original stuff.
There’s some effective layering of imagery. The film sequences are largely set on the streets of Paris (lucky Dennis and company). The live actors, outfitted in your basic noir garb, move around, their images caught on videotape. So much to look at! Plus there’s music, sung to the same kind of syncopated beats that lulled us in Dennis Cleveland. Here the actors – you can’t really call them characters - seem to be lipsynching.
There are separate sections, preceded by titles. One clever sequence riffs on race and ends up referencing a superhero. It gets a laugh.
The End Of Cinematics takes a long time to end. The ovation, even for an opening night crowd, was lacklustre.
In retrospective, the most thrilling part came when someone in the audience tried to capture a sequence on his digital camera and a quick-on-his-feet usher asked him to put it away. I didn’t see what happened. Talk about cliffhanger.