Corpus, Nuit Blanche
Enter a world where sleepless night thrives, a Nuit Blanche filled with performers, dancers, mimes and thespians. Visual effects stimulate the eyes while music filters into the ears with tuned energy. The often-closed circuit of theatre breathes unfettered in the open night air, able to move unrestricted by conventional theatre walls.
"There is no traditional venue for our work," says Corpus co-artistic director David Danzon.
Because of its interdisciplinary framework, the company strays from regular theatre houses, thriving instead on street performances, festivals and vagabond travelling shows.
The emergence of Corpus came as a result of two artists meeting six years ago on the fringe of the theatrical norm, both yearning to experiment with form and movement. Danzon was interested in a physical approach to theatre, while his co-artistic director, Sylvie Bouchard, was looking for a theatrical approach to dance.
"We started to explore. It was very much a research at first," explains Danzon.
Theatrical inspiration stemmed from a childhood entrenched in European performance art, le Coq physical theatre school and Charlie Chaplin. Danzon grew up watching silent humour, movement and narrative projected onto the screen.
"[Chaplin] had a very strong influence on me," Danzon notes.
The Corpus production of Nuit Blanche incorporates awkward humour into theatrical movement, dance, music and images in a process that started very much in a void.
"[For Nuit Blanche] we started with nothing," admits Danzon. "We started with very simple props, and we started to improvise. The content came second. The theme of dreams came later in the process."
Nuit Blanche runs Jan. 20-24 at the Vertigo Playhouse.
Impetus, The Beast
An eerie luminescence permeates the freak show as an unruly crowd watches the ugly beast emerge. This personal myth has grown to rival its maker and finally unleashes itself, as a separate entity, onto the stage. The atrocious being feeds on the greed, degeneration and brutality of a rotting society. The Beast comes from the depths of ugly human creations and the human emotions hanging off them.
"Life was a little ugly," explains Impetus creative producer Patricia Duquette of The Beast's conception. "I had created an extensively long personal myth."
Ugliness grows, it spreads, sucking despair, injustice and greed into its pulsating lips. It takes over a person, a group of people, a whole theatrical production. What started off as a story of personal turmoil has turned into a collective theatrical project, a freak show of sorts, on the main stage of the High Performance Rodeo.
The crowd gasps with horror, as its mysterious shape is not typical, a rare concoction of mediums thrown together into an organic being that swells with commentary, interactive video and film, live music, dancers and thespians. But there is method to the madness shaping the production of The Beast.
"Mixing mediums has two things going for it," explains Duquette. "There's an opportunity to layer a conceptual story telling and there is a message in the medium itself."
"Will it infect us?" cry pasty-skinned cowards from the audience.
It already has, and don't even think of escape. Everywhere you turn, The Beast will drown you with complexity, macabre and, perhaps, your own personal demons.
The Beast runs through Sun., Jan. 18 at the Big Secret Theatre.
Bravo!FACT, FACT screening
You have a dream, a vision, a digital camera and a pen. You look around and feel suffocated by the confines of society: money, greed and the status quo. You have a passion, but the energy remains bottled up within your helpless body. You are the quintessential aspiring filmmaker, director, actor, writer in a ruthless industry, trapped by monetary shackles.
Welcome Judy Gladstone, creative producer of Bravo!FACT, to the High Performance Rodeo. For the fifth year in a row, the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent has been screening new Canadian short videos at the Calgary festival, a venue that offers artists a chance to seek guidance, inspiration and funding.
"[The screening] is optimal for people with a goal path of videomaking," says Gladstone.
She encourages attending screenings and meetings with people who have gone down the film medium road. Six films were chosen for this year's Rodeo screening, with an emphasis on performing arts-based work to keep in step with the venue. However, regular video grant submissions to Bravo!FACT are linked by one common thread--they need to be short.
"Keep it simple," cautions Gladstone. "Focus on what you want to tell us."
Select videos will be broadcast nationally on Bravo!FACT Presents, Wednesdays from 5:30-6:00 p.m.
Check out the Bravo!FACT website at www.bravofact.com and come mingle Sun., Jan. 18 at the Vertigo Studio.