body geometry: the 7th angel with works by bluemouth inc., sue balint & kayt lucas, jane miller, viv moore and julia sasso presented by the Theatre Centre at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson). Previews Wednesday (December 5), opens December 6 and runs to December 16, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2:30 pm. $21, stu/srs $16, Sunday/preview pwyc. 416-504-9529. Rating: NNNNN
jane miller's a pretty high-energy performer, but in her latest work she's determined to get even more wired than usual.In Body Geometry: The 7th Angel, she crosses a tight wire strung 12 feet off the ground.
It's all part of Theatre Centre artistic director David Duclos's look at what he calls the seventh angel. The six cardinal directions are front, back, left, right, above and below.
If each of these directions harboured an angel, posits Duclos, then the seventh angel would be internal -- inside the person. He's asked several artists, including Miller, to create a work inspired by this concept.
"What's fascinating is that this piece and two others help make the program three-dimensional," says Miller, a Dora-nominated performer best known for last season's Disco Goalie.
Aerial artist Kayt Lucas is working on a vertical axis, while choreographer Viv Moore dances below the audience. Other pieces are by the site-specific performance troupe bluemouth inc. and choreographer Julia Sasso.
What makes her work Horizontal Axis even more challenging is that Miller, who's never walked a high wire before, is asked to simultaneously recite poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke in a voice that conveys various heightened emotional states.
"I make these sounds," she says, trying to describe her extended voice performance. "I didn't know that in my teeny body there were these deep, rumbly soul sounds. At times it sounds like I'm possessed."
To screech and holler while crossing a tightrope sounds more difficult than rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time.
But Miller, who's been fascinated by the high wire since watching one of the Flying Wallendas fall from a rope live on TV, is convinced of the work's theatricality -- and spiritual ramifications.
"Walking the tight wire is a good context for speaking Rilke's words," she says. "I'm wearing a safety line, but I may decide to fall, I may build that into the piece. After all, in falling -- in failing -- we find things. In falling, we're more likely to connect with the divine."
For Miller, a multi-talented artist who can sing, dance and act, a program like Body Geometry is a godsend.
"It's a forum for things that aren't classifiable," she says. "There's so much permission, no rigidity about linear storytelling. That's incredibly freeing."