While the FTA brings international talent to Montreal, OFFTA celebrates the richness that is found here in Montreal. In fact, the multi-disciplinary festival has an official theme Being Rich, expressed by Dalie Giroux, the resident festival philosopher. To showcase our wealth of talent, 16 shows and 15 free events in the Quartier des Spectacles and the Jardins Gamelin feature emerging talent.
It’s hard to top free events, and most are taking place at Place Des Arts’ Jardins Gamelin (1500 Rue Berri). The aforementioned Giroux appears at the opening event, Être Riche (Being Rich). It starts with a public debate on the theme followed by an open mic in which the public is invited to voice off their thoughts on the expression. This is followed by an introduction to Plyball, a new theatrical sport, as well as karaoke (March 14, 5 p.m., Jardins Gamelin). For the rest of the festival, Jardins Gamelin will host free events. Stay for the music, of course, and catch local acts Pierre Kwenders (March 15, 5-7 p.m.), Dear Criminals (May 22, 5-7 p.m.) , and Kroy (May 29, 5-7 p.m.) on the main stage. Both visual art installations and sound ones will be on display, including a sound installation Le son de l’ère est froid by L’eau du bain which features a white fishing cabin set near Lac Saint Jean. Also, give the sport of Plyball a try on Thursdays to Sundays.
Things begin with the MixOff (May 27 at the Galerie de L’UQAM, 8 p.m.) and the MashOff (May 28 at Théâtre La Licorne, 8 p.m.). In the MixOff, eight emerging artists from Wallonia-Brussels and Quebec work in pairs to create a work. The group includes Salvatore Calcagno, a playwright and director; Adam Kinner, a choreographer and musician; and Vera Tussing, a choreographer and dancer. In the MashOff, six urban dancers who engage in popping, whacking, and b-boying dance in improvised duets and solos as a way to showcase creative collaboration.
Ticketed events include a combination of theatre and dance, and most nights are a double feature performances that combine different arts such as dance, theatre, and singing..
Of interest is Terms of Service, a choral work about Google’s terms of service. John Boyle-Singfield’s work will combine singing and mass media to explore this “important, yet disregarded text.” Afterwards, Siri (yes, of the iphone). gets her first stage role in Siri by La messe basse. This solo theatre work has Laurence Dauphinais converse with her phone in a mixture of reality and fiction (Theatre la Licorne. June 1 and June 2, 6 p.m).
It’s hard to tell what to expect from this double-header. Gloria, is an immersive polyphonic work of poetry, theatre, singing, and video by Mykalle Bielinski of Josha, a synth-trip-hop electronic band. Joining this is Keep in Touch by Whitney Lafleur. This minimalistic piece makes references to pop culture and claims to look at “the Object” (capitalized) and ways of thinking that can be as simple as a play of words. (June 2 at 9:30 p.m. and June 3 at 6 p.m. at Theatre aux Écuries)
Documentary theatre J’aime Hydro, Les Productions Porte-Parole and Annabel Soutar will investigate the relationship between Hydro Quebec and Quebecers with the help of Christien Beaulieu. (Theatre la Licorne. June 4. 5 p.m.)
For those who want to be assured of a good, if not completely unexpected time, they can try the lighthearted Orphée Karaoké, a show that combines Greek myths and karaoke. There are no actors in this show. The public, instead, is invited to immerse itself. The show is written and directed by Felix Antoine Boutin with music by Jean Francois Malo and video by Joel Morin Ben-Abdallah. (Centre du Theatre Aujourhui. June 3 and 4. 9 p.m.).
All in all, the festival promises to enrich and entertain. Don’t miss out on this chance to see some of our most creative minds at work.
These are just a few of the many events taking place. Check the website to find out more HERE. The OFFTA runs from May 27-June 4, though the free events in Jardins Gamelin (1500 Berri) start May 15.