Another night at the Fringe, another round of shows.
Brilliant, simply brilliant. Don’t be frightened by its long run time or the fact it is “French”. Whip flies by and it is largely unspoken — no bilingualism required to understand the vocalizations. This gorgeous, moving story had me in tears and it felt epic in scope. Three prostitutes in red platform heels are sent out by their pimp/drug dealer. One prostitute encounters a kind homeless anarchist and a deep love blossoms amidst the cardboard boxes of the alleyway. But as with all great tragedies, their love is broken by necessity of their circumstances. This is a dance/movement piece that conveys more emotion in the movement of a toe (literally) than most things can through an hour of dialogue. Creative lighting and costuming, perfect soundscapes, and talented dancers put on memorable, pathos-laden scene after scene. I don’t want to reveal anything, but I can’t stop raving about this one. Do not miss!
Feel the passion of Whip at Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire (4750 Henri Julien) on June 12 (18:00), 15 (15:45), 16 (22:15) and 18 (13:00).
0 Days Without Crying
The Brits have a knack for women who have turned self-loathing into an art form. Like a contemporary Bridget Jones, Jessica is unhappily single, hates her body, and is trying out different ways to get through a day without crying. She tries mantras and a life-coach, drugs and even modeling nude for an art class. Nothing seems to work, but she desperately needs to stop putting the blame on her mother’s untimely death for her lifelong dysfunction. The piece treads familiar ground, but is commendable for writer/actress Caterina Incisa’s perfect delivery of the smart, funny monologue. She heaps zinger upon zinger, jerks her head in disgust at the men who wrong her, and speaks many truths. While each vignette is excellent, there isn’t much of a character arc. It’s more of a character study. Still, as a writer and an actress, Incisa is one to watch.
Put a smile on your face at someone else’s misery with 0 Days Without Crying at Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire (4750 Henri Julien) on June 14 (20:15), 15 (22:30), 17 (13:00) and 18 (18:15).
Burcu Emeç is magnetic as a performer, but it isn’t enough to make tldr;smh cohere. The show is mostly an artistic rant about different forms of oppression that Emeç faces. She addresses relationship abuse, being Kurdish, patriarchy, brownness, Islamophobia, and Daesh. During the piece, she takes on the identity of Lady Jiyan, her avatar with silver-white hair who fights against oppressors. She uses an overhead projector to tell the audience on one hand about the YPG, a group of brave women snipers who risk all to fight Daesh (ISIS), and on the other about the men she encounters in Canada who claim to be feminists but aren’t. This last is done using hand placed cartoons and captions in a kind of puppet show, which is slightly slow but also clever. I found Emeç’s openness on the difficulties of being “brown” striking, how she would block her nose in profile or how she had to lie to her father about what she was watching during a sex scene in the show Friends. Each small piece of this show was a tiny gem, but the connections aren’t well made. In the end, it comes off as disjointed and unfocused, if not unfinished. Emeç ends by letting us know there will be a zine related to the show soon available, and that was the perfect word to describe this. Zine. Especially the kind done by hand using Elmer’s Glue and a photocopier — full of passion and purpose, deliberately jagged and edgy, but also limited by its inconsistency.
Rage a little with tldr;smh at Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire (4750 Henri Julien) on June 15 (18:00), 16 (21:00), 17 (18:00) and 18 (17:00).
A Change in the Weather
What is up with Oscar Wilde this Fringe? This is the second time I’m running into the fairy tale of the Selfish Giant. This contemporary dance piece begins with a multimedia/film projection of the performers recounting the story in which a selfish giant prevents a group of children from playing in his garden. He builds a wall to keep them out and as a result winter never ends. Only when the giant relents and allows them back does change begin. The story is then interpreted as a metaphor for environmental disaster and climate change through short dance pieces. In one piece, the performers move around an Edenic garden while noting what they encountered there. In another, the performers combine movement with statements about their ambiguities regarding their role in contributing to the degradation of the planet — their own selfishness. This show left me cold and I considered that it might have worked better as a contemporary art piece. On the whole, the movements used reminded me of the contemporary dance class I sometimes drop into at the YMCA on Parc Avenue, and its analysis of individual responsibility to the collective lacked nuance.
Face the winds of change of A Change in the Weather at Studio Jean Valcourt du Conservatoire (4750 Henri Julien) on June 14 (21:45), 15 (19:15), 16 (13:30) and 17 (22:15).
The Montreal Fringe Festival continues until June 18. You can get tickets for all shows HERE. Most shows are $10. Click here for reviews of Fringe shows Elsewhere, Peter Pansexual, Oscar, CarMa, Illustrated Lady, Leave the Therapy Take the Cannoli, and Things Drugs Taught Me.