Oct 11

Soulocentric showcase features creative layers

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

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The Soulocentric Short Works showcase is the opportunity for audiences to take in wide range of performances from a diverse group of independent artists.

The first performance allowed the viewer to peer into potential. Kyle Hinton kicked off, with an electroacoustic composition / performance art piece. Hinton’s sound design credits include: Freak Show (Swallow A Bicycle Theatre), The Disembodied Lady (Ignite! Festival) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (UofA). The narrative of the piece was carried out through sound.

Using a combination of an XBox Kinect, recorded samples, a guitar, and a homemade piezo pick-up, Kyle’s piece was intriguing to the viewer. The projection created by Kyle’s shadow seemed tied to the audio and each movement initiated a corresponding audio recording. The piece was intricate, technical and more than just a bear watching dishes.

Mark Hopkins was up next with, as described in the program, as political theatre / dark comedy. Hopkins is the co-artistic director of Swallow A Bicycle Theatre amongst a slew of other theatre and arts related endeavors. For this solo, from his seat in the audience, Hopkins performed a piece as a commentary on the ‘occupy’ movement, and spun that body of thought into the concept of occupying the theatre. He then moved to the stage, where his piece included commentary on the Harper government and how ordinary people care about the arts. Though clever and timely, this reviewer was expecting more from the 3rd hardest working Calgarian according to FFWD Weekly Magazine. The piece didn’t seem well thought through and didn’t seem like a product of a tremendous amount of hard work. Given the caliber of Super Eight, a play performed at the 10 Minute Play Festival a couple of years ago, co-written by Hopkins, this piece was disappointing.

Judith Mendelsohn featured a physical comedy piece entitled Coulrophobia. With  roots in bouffon /clowning, having studied for the past three years with the infamous clown, Philippe Gaulier, Mendelsohn’s piece was naturally clown performance theatre. Autobiographical in nature, Coulrophobia draws from her Parisian pursuit to become a clown. Warm and funny, this piece is full of potential.

Jamie Tognazzini closed off the first half with a musical comedy entitled Mary’s Near Death Experience. Tognazzini was last seen by this reviewer at Q the Arts, a queer arts festival in which she sang a number and spat pearls throughout. It was quite impressive. Complete with irony, satirical humour and some pasties, Tognazzini’s performance was eccentric, fresh and funny.

After the break, Julianna Hindemith opened with musical numbers. The sounds of her voice and guitar filled the theatre. With line like ‘I don’t want to know if I was wrong to let you go’ and ‘cigarette sight’, Hindemith displayed some nice songwriting.

The festival featured its first dance piece here, a contemporary jazz dance performance. Kathleen Doherty has gained most of her experience dancing with DJD Dance in Calgary, contributing her choreography to Footprints and 13 Acts of Sunshine with DJD. This piece was set to vibrant, jazz music and had some good movement but didn’t leave the viewer with a lasting impression.

Diverting for her craft of dance, Truus Verkley directed performer Jeremy Verkley in the dramatic comedy Honestly. Honestly? Exploring the awkwardness and vulnerability when confessing love for someone else, this piece has potential but was a little awkward in its execution.

Saxon Fraser followed with the second dance performance of the evening. Fraser has many dance credits, working with fashion designers, singers, actors, musicians, film makers, martial artists, and dancers to create artistic work. Her entry in the festival had strength in feeling, contrasting staccato with legato movements. Ending in red light, the piece was energetic and compelling.

Blending comedy and drama, the last entry of the evening, but certainly not the least was Christopher Duthie’s X Marks the Spot. Duthie’s theatre credits include Reverie (Ghost River Theatre), Radiohead 2: It is the 21st Century (One Yellow Rabbit), and most notably Smash Cut Freeze (One Yellow Rabbit) in last year’s High Performance Rodeo. Denise Clarke named Duthie as the actor to watch, in her interview with Avenue Magazine and she was not wrong. Duthie puts so much comedy and entertainment in the simplest expression. The piece was a physical exploration of the individual and mythology. The choreography was strong and Duthie’s progression from curiosity to fear is striking. Overall, it was an entertaining, exciting theatre performance.

The showcase features a vast array of performance mediums and is a quick glimpse into the different layers of creativity. They are potent seeds, if you will, of what is to come.

Photo: Performer Jamie Tea.  Photo by: Tim Nguyen/Citrus Photography.

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