The Wildside Festival which claims to be the hottest two weeks of winter is often a welcome start to Montreal’s theatre calendar. Pieces from the Fringe Festival and other independent creators grace the stage for two weeks of weirdness, artiness, and all around fun. With the pandemic situation, though, the Centaur has moved its Wildside offerings online (plus an audio tour) and is offering them for free.
The first show is The Whiteface Cabaret, which starts on January 12, a masked performance by two indigenous actors who play white actors playing indigenous actors. It’s a look at the appropriation of indigenous culture, with a look at colonization, cowboys, and Coachella featuring Todd Houseman and Lady Vanessa Cardona.
The next night features premiere Black Balloon: Leila, a work of local creator Sophie El Assad. Inspired by Carl Theodor Dryer’s 1928 film, La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, the piece came through the portico project at the Centaur. The piece focuses on a Middle Eastern girl’s search for her identity as she speaks to the moon.
On January 14th, don some headphones and take an audio tour with 453 St François Xavier. Greg MacArthur’s text and sound installation is an audio tour of the Centaur’s address. He doesn’t look at the past, though. He turns his lens to the future. He imagines tenants who will use the space over the next 400 years.
January 15 premieres Night Cows, “a Queer feminist fantasia” which adapts a 1979 text written by Quebecois-Indigenous creator, Jovette Marchessault to shadow puppetry. A “vachette” talks about her mother transforms into a night cow and expands into the milky way. The show is done using shadow puppets, so should be a visual poem.
The Wildside is rounded out with two other events. Skin, a four episode play that explores the satisfaction of living. Playwright’s Workshop Montreal developed the piece, which is co-created by Leslie Baker, Emma Tibaldo, and Joseph Shragge. It runs the four episodes, one a day, twice through the festival.
Finally, for a little more on-the-cusp works, the Catalyst takes place January 23 and 24, and features readings of short plays by a variety of artists. These are nine works in progress that will be performed by their creators and live streamed from the Centaur.
Every night of a premiere, at 7 p.m., Rose Plotek, the curator of the Wildside Festival 2021, will interview the play’s creator, which can be watched on either Facebook or Youtube.
All shows this year are free, so get ready to get wild at home.
The Wildside Festival takes place from January 12-30, online. Details can be found HERE.