fusion conceived by Steve Marsh, created and directed by Cathy Gordon, with Richard Feren, Nick Greenland, Steve Lucas, Marsh, Natasha Priest, Kate Alton, Allison Rees-Cummings, Sean MacMahon, Ryan Ward, Katie Kehoe, Michelle Ramsay, Shauna Japp and Lissa Bobrow. Presented by DNA Theatre at 376 Dufferin. Runs to May 25, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $9-$12, Sunday pwyc. 416-504-5099. Rating: NNN
Ever wonder what goes on back-stage before a show? Fusion, a fascinating little piece of performance art by DNA, shows us.After waiting in a lobby pasted up with rehearsal schedules, e-mails, to-do lists and other production paraphernalia, the audience is led into an empty Parkdale warehouse space and told to stay motionless in a circle while director Cathy Gordon and a team of overalled designers and technicians set up the show around us.
Released to three sets of risers, we then sit back and passively witness the lights, sound and acting that fuse (get the title?) before each performance.
The title also refers to something about the storage and release of energy, and it's supposed to be evoked by the central performance, a short bit of choreography performed by Kate Alton and Allison Rees-Cummings.
Conceived by set designer Steve Marsh, Fusion makes its point clearly.
Actors, or in this case dancers, are only a small part of a show. The behind-the-scenes action can be as vigorous and choreographed as anything onstage. Lighting designer Steve Lucas, in particular, displays monkey-like athleticism, climbing platforms, clamping and unclamping his lights and adjusting filters with efficiency.
There's a bit too much self-righteous earnestness to the proceedings, however. Wouldn't there normally be some low-level gossip or joking?
Still, the work's final image - of Rees-Cummings still dancing, without all the technical doodads - is haunting. It makes us question the purity of performance, and in fact the nature of art. Not a bad thing to take away.