by Dorianne Emmerton
Homeland, by Godot Art Productions, is a multi-media piece. On one level it is a documentary film featuring interviews on the concept of “home” with people who now live in Toronto but originally came from somewhere else. Some of them consider Toronto their home now and some of them will always consider their native land home.
Homeland is also a music and dance number. Composer Reza Moghaddas has crafted a lush soundtrack of electronic and live music, performed by himself and Lorenzo Castelli. The dance is performed by Megan Nadain, a lovely young woman with admirable physical prowess.
Megan enters the stage through the audience which is very intimate given the small venue of the Theatre Passe Muraille backspace. This entry signifies a journey, foretelling the stories of travelling to Canada we then see, projected onto a crumpled screen hung on the stage.
Megan’s outfit is a similarly crumpled white, adorned by a crude rope around her waist. Reza and Lorenzo wore similar shirts, however the effect was compromised for me by the fact that both men wore contemporary casual jeans and shoes.
The stories of the interviewees in the film were for the most part very interesting, especially the notable writer Lawrence Hill. One interviewee didn’t seem to fit in however: a hippie woman who lived in a yurt outside of Toronto. It didn’t work for me, she didn’t seem to have come from some other country and didn’t tell any sort of story, she mostly just mused on spiritual concepts of “home.” Although, director Setareh Delzendeh must have seen something more compelling in her, as she ended the piece with this woman waxing philosophic and ringing some sort of strange bell.
I was focused on the exquisite dancing and music in the piece, so perhaps I missed what was interesting about this woman in a yurt. I find it difficult to watch and listen to two things at once and sometimes music was louder than the film audio.
Multi-media is the current big trend, and I understand you can get a fair bit of funding for such projects, but all too often they feel like multi-media for the sake of multi-media, not for any artistic merit. Ultimately though, in this production there was no value added for me by making the piece multi-media. It could have been a great short documentary without the dancing and with a properly levelled soundtrack, and a separate dance piece without the film. Instead, the combination meant that I couldn’t give my full attention to either of the well worked and beautiful pieces that make up this show.