Devon More Music’s Silent Party Interlude at the Toronto Fringe Festival took me by surprise, and impressed my socks off. When I first read the description of a show about the life changing journey one woman makes on a meditation retreat, I was skeptical. I was expecting an incomprehensible, new age, navel-gazing kind of show.
I could not have been more wrong. The show is the true story, told by Devon More, about her experience at a ten-day, silent, meditation retreat, sprinkled with original, indie music, and cute anecdotes. The show is not pretentious at all, and it even pokes a bit of fun at the concept of the all-perfect, enlightened meditator.
Devon More, the solo performer of this one-woman show, is cute and endearing. She is quirky in the most lovable ways, telling the story of her struggles with sitting still and getting her mind to just shut-up already! As someone who has struggled with meditation in the past due to a racing mind, I found Devon More very relatable and accessible.
In addition to being a charming performer, More’s music is lovely and meaningful. She sounds like a coffee shop indie artist, and reminds me of Joni Mitchell. The music enhances the show, and gives More’s performance a dynamic quality. Sometimes the connection between the music and the text is not entirely clear, but the two support each other nonetheless.
In between the songs and humorous anecdotes, there are sections that have the rhythm of a spoken word poem. With intriguing rhymes, word play, and creative manipulation of language, these sections are some of the most gripping of the entire performance. More’s text flows with a melodic cadence, possessing an almost lyrical quality.
Creating a one-hour, one-woman show about 10 days of silence seems like a fools errand, but Devon More has successfully created a quirky, fun show. She convinces me of the merits of silence and mindfulness, and I felt affected by the show.
As I left the theatre, I suddenly had no desire to look at my phone or connect back to the outside world. I felt that I learned something new about meditation during the performance. More’s descriptions of her struggles with mindfulness makes the concept more accessible for those who have never had a successful or positive experience with meditation.
More’s show, Silent Party Interlude is an unexpected indie hit, and opens up the world of meditation to her audience in a fresh, humourous way.
Silent Party Interlude will be playing at Robert Gill Theatre (214 College St. 3rd Floor)
July 04 at 7:30 pm
July 05 at 11:30 pm
July 09 at 9:30 pm
July 10 at 12:00 pm
July 11 at 6:15 pm
July 12 at 12:00 pm
July 13 at 9:00 pm
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online , by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Devon More by Madhava Photography