FREE FALL a festival of experimental performance theatre. Opens tonight (Thursday, October 10) and runs to October 27 at several venues. Various prices, festival pass $50. 416-538-0988.
When you're in free fall, you have to deal with what's happening around and to you in new, untried ways.
That's what co-curators David Duclos and Stephen O'Connell expect of companies and audiences in a series that draws together six Canadian groups in a festival of experimental performance theatre.
Don't look for traditional script, character or even location in the Free Fall festival. Venues include a diner, a private residence, several hotel rooms and a warehouse space.
"Avant-garde theatre like this challenges assumptions about narrative, storytelling, the need for character and the relationship between the audience and the performer," says Duclos, artistic director of the Theatre Centre.
"By its very nature, avant-garde theatre raises questions that aren't usually asked. Its self-defining name says it all: it's work that's out in front of the mainstream."
Think along the lines of Steve Lucas's Breath[e] last spring, a play that vibrated with intellectual stimulation and emotion but had neither performer nor text.
Seeing that the avant-garde as a performance style is "often invisible" here, Duclos and O'Connell created Free Fall to introduce local audiences to groups from other cities and to place Toronto as one coordinate in a national experimental-performance graph.
In addition to the three companies previewed here, DNA Theatre remounts The Observation, both a company history and a sense-stimulating visit to director Hillar Liitoja's house (October 10 to 27).
Tania Etienne's The Walls Are Still Weeping, presented by Mundus Imaginalis, also stretches the performance envelope. Duclos calls Etienne's piece a narrative installation (October 25 to 27).
Natalie Derome has been working in multimedia as part of the Montreal avant-garde since the 80s. She's bringing her solo show, Du Temps d'Antennes (October 17 to 19).
"Natalie rejects the term 'performance artist.' She insists on being called an actor," offers Duclos. "Her work -- a blend of theatre, poetry, dance, music and video -- is scripted but adventurous."