mortality a collaborative dance theatre project by Carol Shields, Tomson Highway, Paul Quarrington and Stephen Dobyns, arranged and directed by Ross Manson, choreographed by Kate Alton, with Julia Aplin, Peggy Baker, George Leach and Martin Julien. Presented by Volcano in association with the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). Runs to February 3, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, Sunday 2:30 and 7 pm. $15-$26, matinee pwyc. 416-872-1212. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
here's the thing about experi-ments. Sometimes they fail. In trying to create something new, the experimenters forget old principles like how to entertain an audience. Mortality, described as a collaborative dance theatre project, combines texts by four writers, a parodic filmette, four performers and dance sequences that presumably express what the writing can't.
Conceived, adapted and directed by Ross Manson, the show adds up to less than the sum of its parts. In attempting to create a multi-voiced look at mortality, Manson ends up with a scattered series of impressions -- a good line here, a nice gesture there, a cool bit of underscoring music.
But art is about selection, not accumulation. The few moments of brilliance -- especially by writers Carol Shields and Stephen Dobyns -- are literary, not theatrical. And with the exception of dancer Julia Aplin, who proves a nimble comic actor in the style of Sheila McCarthy, none of the performers looks comfortable with the experiment.GS