If you've liked the multimedia work of bluemouth inc. , be sure to check out wash me clean , a piece created by two of bluemouth's collaborators, Chris Dupuis and Richard Windeyer . Working together as a new company, definition:blood , the pair present the piece as part of Harbourfront Centre's Hatch series. Dupuis writes and directs while Windeyer creates the soundscape for the show, about the controversial relationship between a rural gay man and an inner-city youth. The solo performer is Julian Doucet . See Opening, page 73, for details.
The Ryerson Theatre School took on a real challenge with Peter Barnes 's Red Noses . With dozens of characters and a running time approaching four hours, it's daunting even for a professional company.
Under the direction of Eda Holmes , though, there's lots of fun and thought in the production. Set in Black Death-ravaged medieval France, its central character is Flote, a priest who realizes that it's better to teach joy than despair, to fall back in this impossible situation on laughter rather than tears. He forms a troupe of clowns to ease people into the next world, at first with the approval of the pope.
But when it's realized that laughter and goodness can be seditious, his troupe is seen as dangerous.
Performing in the big Ryerson auditorium rather than the school's workshop space doesn't always work. Voices sometimes get lost in the large space, and some characterizations fail to reach the back rows. It's a problem, too, that the work's subtleties aren't always clear.
But generally the cast of 28 understand the combination of vaudeville slapstick, hoary jokes and dark laughs that make up the splendidly theatrical script.
Matthew Gorman captures Flote's exuberance, while Luke Gilgan 's mute Sonnerie - he speaks through bells - has equal energy. Sophia Walker imbues the manipulative Pope Clement with dignity, madness and scariness, while Anousha Alamian gets great laughs as a self-impressed, blind juggler.
Sarah Power is feisty and winning as a nun who's looking forward to sex, while Sophia Kolinas 's flagellant Grez never meets a club or a knifepoint she doesn't embrace enthusiastically.
The most rounded figure is Christopher Fowler 's Toulon, an uptight priest whose dourness and long-suffering obedience to authority suggest he was born wearing a hair shirt.
Over the course of the show, Flote and the other zanies convince him of the rightness as well as the righteousness of joy.