Dan Watson explores fallout from the G8 Summit.
The Little G8 That Could...
The idea of legacy has a certain attractive romantic quality, and writer/performer Dan Watson admits being conflicted about what the G8 legacy means to residents of Huntsville.
We still hear lots about the July 2010 G20 in Toronto, but less about the G8 that preceded it in Muskoka.
"I saw the excited lead-up there, but the fulfillment of the promise hasn't been as positive," says the artist, who divides his time between Toronto and his hometown.
The theory was that the $50 million put into the area would have a long-term effect, but the G8 Summit Centre, which has been turned into an ice rink and seniors' centre, is one of the few positive post-event follow-throughs.
Watson's show, The Little G8 That Could..., is a kind of mockumentary in which the personable actor investigates, via monologues and YouTube clips, the dreams and realities of the G8 promises. He's even created, using actual news coverage, Skype conversations with Conservative MP Tony Clement and Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty that further the show's tongue-in-cheek tone.
To Sunday (February 12), 8 pm
Clare Preuss moves to her affliction.
Two of this year's Rhubarb themes, disease and failure, are on display in affliction, a striking dance work by Thomas Morgan Jones and Clare Preuss about multiple sclerosis.
Presented in association with Cahoots Theatre, the duet is a spinoff from a script that Jones, diagnosed with MS, has been working on with the company.
"The initial work was set in the external world, but here we're looking at what happens inside the body," says Preuss, who dances the ill person to Jones's anthropomorphized disease.
The performers have been working with composer Michelle Bensimon, whose music Preuss describes as "quite dark and sad, with inherent drama. Both the sound and the movement have elements of neurological twitching, since MS is an inflammatory disease in which your own immune system attacks the spinal cord and the brain. The piece plays like a dysfunctional romance."
affliction is a good example of the branching out that Rhubarb encourages, since Preuss and Jones do movement work in the theatre community but neither identifies as a dancer.
February 15-19, 8 pm
Amy Lam stars in PLEASE FOREVER PLEASE.
PLEASE FOREVER PLEASE
Audiences expect gender-bending stories at Buddies.
But Alex Napier's PLEASE FOREVER PLEASE gives a few new twists to Ovid's tale about Iphis, a girl raised as a boy who falls in love with another girl; Iphis asks a goddess to be turned into a boy.
"The original story, quite conservative, is a springboard for our discussion about how identities are created within families," smiles the author/director.
"We're using it to talk about the way people inherit archetypes and stereotypes and live them even though they're aware of what they're doing. What does it mean politically to fulfill your stereotype as mother or father, for example?"
The show gives Napier a long-desired chance to collaborate with musician Emma McKenna and artist Sojourner Truth Parsons (whose costumes are wearable sculpture) on a work that's feminist without having feminism as its central theme.
"The show lets me bring friends and artists, all talented women from different backgrounds, into the theatre as collaborators."
To Sunday (February 12), 9 pm
Everyday Is A Beautiful Day gets the fest hopping.
Everyday Is A Beautiful Day
There's an element of chance in any live theatre performance, but it's usually nothing as extreme as in Everyday Is A Beautiful Day.
Inspired by the life and work of late composer/philosopher John Cage, who regularly cast the I Ching to guide his creativity, director Rose Plotek and her three performers collaborate on a structured improvisation of words, music and movement.
"When I read Cage's moving book Silence, there was something about the quality of the language and its presentation on the page that felt theatrical," recalls Plotek. "I didn't know how it would translate to performance, but we've made the use of chance - which in Cage's case sometimes involved the flipping of a coin - our own by pulling Scrabble tiles and improvising based on a tile's number or letter."
Following a set of rules, a specific lexicon and the text from Silence, the show plays with narrative in a non-linear way; of course each performance will be unique.
"At Rhubarb, I'm most interested in discovering how the audience relates to the work; they function as the fourth performer in this experiment."
February 15 to 19, 9 pm
Leah Fay Goldstein makes a splash in Sea Foam Blue.
Sea Foam Blue
You won't find anything of The Little Mermaid's frothiness in Sea Foam Blue, presented by the trio of dancers and animators known as Wives.
The central character is a sexually confused mermaid caught between wanting to mate as a fish and being attracted to Ladies' Man, a drunken sailor who resembles Leonard Cohen.
For Wives member Leah Fay Goldstein, the show is "about longing and loneliness that began as a dream I had about all women returning to the sea and leaving behind the search for a mate on land."
Using projections, live and taped music and dance that Goldstein describes as "primal and gyrating," the piece is "a bit of an anti-fairy-tale, without a traditional happily-ever-after ending.
"It's not meant to be self-indulgent high art, but enjoyable entertainment. Our audience roots for us during a show, and one member referred to our work as ‘ghetto magic.'"
To Sunday (February 12), 8:30 pm