10 August 2016
Soliloquy in English (A)
Hidden away on the top of the Theatre Centre roof, 6 strangers read a book that artist Patrick Blenkarn compiled from interviews about the English language. What results is a wonderful performance art piece that is much theatre as it is not – but one where you yourself are an actor. He raises some fantastic questions about the nature of communication and our rights to language, and after the hour I simply want to stay in the beautiful space and continue the conversation that he has started. In a space where both Heidegger and Gilmore Girls get name dropped, his piece resonates and reflects exchanges that desperately need to happen more often.
Naked Ladies (A)
Equal parts bold, entertaining, deliberately awkward, and deeply intelligent, artist Thea Fitz-James performs completely nude as she dissects and discusses why women take their clothes off onstage. Audience participation is practically mandatory but non invasive, and by the end you feel as though she is an old friend who you want to go for a beer with. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, and you will absolutely learn something (in my case, many things). Perfect for seasoned theatre goers and lovers of performance art pieces that shatter boundaries and taboos.
An individual experience with the artist, I show up to a tent in the middle of the room with some trepidation. You are given a time slot where you sit in a window, and Erika Batdorf leads you through a 15 minute session that seems equal parts light show and session with a mystic or tarot reader. Every performance is individualized, so I cannot speak to what remains the same and what changes, but I leave with an odd sense of calm and understanding, despite having spent the time interacting with a mask.
In Utero Out (C+)
The show begins by declaring that the placenta, with you in the womb, was your ‘first friend’. Almost immediately it loses me. Though the artistry and talent is obvious, the abstract concepts lurch around the stage, touching on so many smaller issues but resolving none of them. The three acts have very little to do with each other conceptually, and transitions don’t serve to draw you in but rather to push you back into reality. The third act, however, a piece about the nature of adoption and birth, is touching and heartwarming.
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