The Whole Shebang w/ choreography by Andrea Nann, music by Gord Downie, Andrew Cash, Kathleen Edwards, Josh Finlayson, Andy Maize, readings by Michael Ondaatje, Dionne Brand and others. See dance listings. Rating: NNNNN
The lineup for The Whole Shebang makes it seem like a rockin' literary fundraiser, but organizer Andrea Nann has nothing to do with the Giller. She says the night's simply a celebration of live performance. "It's my dream night out," says the dancer/choreographer a week before the one-off show at the Premiere Dance Theatre.
Included on the bill are musical heavyweights Gord Downie , Andy Maize and Kathleen Edwards , plus writers Michael Ondaatje and Dionne Brand .
"I made a wish list and pretty much everyone was able to make it."
Nann's married to the Skydiggers ' Maize, so she's used to jamming with musical types. But there's definitely something unique about a night that includes dance, a bunch of novelists reading and an acoustic songwriters' circle.
"I've always done a lot of work with poets and musicians," says Nann, who just finished up dancing a gruelling solo in Peggy Baker's Unfold.
"Collaboration is second nature to dancers. But writers aren't used to working with other people, and although it sounds surprising, musicians don't often collaborate that much."
Nann is choreographing pieces inspired by sections from Ondaatje's novels In The Skin Of A Lion and Anil's Ghost . Both are preceded by readings by the author, who acted as creative consultant.
"He wasn't looking to see his work literally depicted in dance," she points out. "These are responses to reading the material. He's created this mythology, and the writing is so poetic and filled with images. It was easy to work with because Ondaatje writes as if he's using different media himself - paint, music, dance."