Part of Field Notes from the Festivals, a series of posts, rough and not very edited of my experiences in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto from theFestival Transamerique, OFFTA, Magnetic North Theatre Festival and LuminatoRead More
I cried. Not a common thing in the theatre. And as is mostly the case, it is the kindness that made me cry. It is a remarkably generous show.
To talk about the world as if there were options - options on how to live in the world, and how we could organize ourselves in that. The pitfalls and blind spots and unintentional consequences of those choices, but the choices are there to made. (As if there aren’t any unintentional consequences of just going along with the world as we find it.)To say “capitalism” as if it were one among many of the ways of organizing things. And maybe not the best one for all us. There were titters in the audience most times “Capitalism” was said. We are not fish, and this capitalism is not water. It fills me with happiness to hear it spoken as a thing able to be discussed, as a thing that has real emotional, personal and social impact. It is part of the dull emptiness of Canadian Theatre (and contemporary life) that we don’t hear it more.
The show is about a person of a certain age being interrogated and loved by someone a half generation or so younger. I am half a generation younger again, and I am no longer “the youth.”I have a lot of anger about the Boomers. About how that generation in Canada and the US have fucked up the world, and now, in the ruins, are desperately clinging to power and will consume the civil society, social security and the environment the rest of us have to live with. They will extended the retirement age and weigh down the institutions they run, blocking innovation to keep their jobs. They were a generation that rose up against the past, and are now working to make sure that will never happen again. This show is about the effects of not participating in that destruction - about what happens to one person when they decide not to destroy the world they live in.It’s beautiful and heart-breaking and hard but mostly it’s inspiring. Inspiring about being a human being - which is a pretty rare thing in life and theatre in these times.
The dances - beautiful moments of real bodies being bold and honest in a way that destroys the dance numbers of the ironic theatre of the moment.
The thin and perfectly danced line of “being yourself” and stage craft. Ross is a master of this. She has crafted a show with George that shapes and reveals. The mask, the simple rolling furniture and long hanging drape, video that solves problems.
The show in Canadian Theatre Economic and Presenting contexts.
[the angry reaction] Why the fuck is this show at Summerworks? I’m glad it’s here and I hope everyone goes and they rock the door. But this is a show that should be well presented and supported, not in a pay-to-play setting. AD’s and presenters of Toronto, I’ve seen what you spend your money on. This is better. Perhaps it was too much of a risk. Perhaps you were unsure if you and your staff could connect with the people who will love the show – well, that’s your job. Do your jobs.
[the positive version] This show is a beautiful part of Peter Hinton’s legacy at the National Arts Centre and a reminder that small spaces like Hub 14 can start great things.
It is good to have role models and elders who remind me of the possible. People who remind me of my own responsibility to make something different - different from the mainstream and different from their work. What I can and should do is not what Nadia does - I am another person from another time and place. If I act out, reject or build over the work of STO Union, if I try to top it or make something better, then I am honouring the work and the people of STO Union. And I do. I do so honour.
Let’s make the best things possible.