metamorphosis dance theatre tackles some meaty and mature material about identity and discovery with some nods to the great Broadway choreographer Bob Fosse, and modern and hip hop dance styles. One of the creators and performers, Tyson James, answers a few questions.
LR: What is your show about?
TJ: Simply put, discharge is the coming of age story for two men. Each is struggling in their own way with two dual aspects of their identity and it takes a moment of discharge and each other to discover their true selves. “In this final moment, discharge all that you once were, discharge the limits of today, and discharge all that you will become lovingly into the future.”
LR: What made you want to participate in the Fringe?
TJ: The Fringe is an exciting and truly unique festival. Its lottery system is the ultimate equalizer. As an artist you are free of judgment and scrutiny, because your selection is left entirely up to chance. Company founders Paul Charbonneau and Tyson James knew that metamorphosis dance theatre was going to create challenging and provocative work and in its infancy a festival without a panel of adjudicators has been a dream come true.
LR: How have you and the other collaborators come together for this project?
TJ: discharge was originally presented at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre under a different name as part of the Young Creators Unit in 2010. Paul Charbonneau and I (co-founders of metamorphosis dance theatre) knew that with our premiere work we wanted to discuss identity as it relates to gender and sexuality for queer men in Toronto. Expanding the original piece seemed a perfect fit for the company and for the context of Toronto Fringe.
LR: I understand there is some sexual content and nudity in the show, how do you approach this as a creator and/or performer? How have you reached a level of comfort with these elements?
TJ: It’s been important to create a safe space in rehearsal and metamorphosis dance theatre has challenged its artists to be brave in the studio, to push themselves and dare its performers to go places they haven’t gone before.
The specific sexual content in discharge is there because it belongs there and is integral to the telling of this story. In this way, any nudity or challenging sexuality is free of shock value because it appears solely in order to reveal something about the characters you are meeting on stage.
LR: What are the dance forms or techniques or movement inspirations for metamorphosis dance theatre?
TJ: Specific to discharge the company is using a wide range of dance forms, from traditional musical theatre vocabulary in honour of the late, great Fosse to raw and challenging modern contemporary. We’ve thrown in a little hip hop to really shake things up. metamorphosis dance theatre has members from a range of theatrical backgrounds and resident choreographer, Paul Charbonneau, has been challenged to adapt to all sorts of facilities and abilities to create a diverse yet unified dance aesthetic.
Direction & Choreography: Tyson James and Paul Charbonneau
Cast: Tyson James and Paul Charbonneau
Genre: Drama, Dance
Warning: Strobe Light, Smoking, Nudity, Sexual Content, Graphic Violence, Mature Language
Venue 9 Robert Gill Theatre
Fri, July 8 9:15 PM
Sat, July 9 4:00 PM
Sun, July 10 5:45 PM
Tue, July 12 1:00 PM
Wed, July 13 11:15 PM
Fri, July 15 9:45 PM
Sun, July 17 2:45 PM
All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee).
Several money-saving passes http://fringetoronto.com/fringefest/passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows .