Allison Cummings comes to her senses.
PERFORMANCE GALLERY: INSIDE THE BOX seven performances created and performed by Tara Beagan, Allison Cummings, Chad Dembski and Rebecca Singh, Chris Dupuis, Daniel MacIvor, Safiya Randera, Holly Skinner and Sammy Rawal and Sarah Stanley. August 8 to 17, 7 to 9 pm, at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen West, 2nd floor). Pwyc. See SummerWorks.
Check into the Gladstone Hotel and you never know what you'll be able to check out.
Up until last weekend, you could have witnessed the interlocking narratives of The Gladstone Variations. And starting this week, a whole batch of artists are taking over the second floor as part of SummerWorks' inaugural Performance Gallery series.
"We were told to pick a room or space from the ones available and try to create something that couldn't happen unless an audience was present," says Allison Cummings, whose seven-minute piece will run in a cycle with works by Daniel MacIvor, Tara Beagan and others.
"I'm in a small room, so obviously my piece was limited to a small lighting design," explains Cummings, who will use some ideas she recently gleaned from the Chicago performance group Goat Island's intensive summer program.
"I want to engage all the audience's senses, not just their sight and hearing. I especially want to evoke the sense of smell. I'm calling it a semi-public seduction in a semi-private place."
There might even, she says, be something for one or two audience members to taste - she's still working out the details. Yum.
Cummings is one of the few artists to successfully straddle the worlds of dance and theatre. Trained in dance, she's recently directed shows like Goblin Market, with vivid results.
"I don't have a background in scene study or acting techniques, but I do know how to start with the body to get into a character or scene," she says.
This weekend (August 8 and 9), Cummings is also part of a dance event called performance ARTERY, where she'll show a work-in-progress based on her experiences in Ghana, where she's worked regularly for the past several years.
Is her SummerWorks offering theatre or dance?
"A while ago I stopped segregating the arts," she says. "If I get an idea that's theatrical, or more dancey and visual, I'll just go for it and explore it.
"In this piece, the movement I do is detailed, but it's not specifically choreographed. My legs don't come up into the air. So maybe if your legs don't come up into the air it's not a dance piece."