Flowchart (Amelia Ehrhardt) 2014 SummerWorks Review

Flowchart

There are many ways to tell a story. From written odysseys to wordless pantomimes, humankind has chronicled countless tales using a full spectrum of sounds, sights and words.

Playing as part of the 2014 SummerWorks lineup, Flowchart is a production that combines mixed media formats to tell three distinct tales.

First of all, a bit of a disclaimer: this piece contains full-body nudity, and so viewer discretion is advised.

ACT 1 – multiform

‘Multiform’ is a celebration of the female form in its natural state. Uninhibited and free, Amanda Acorn bared her soul and her body in an interpretative dance set to somewhat ominous music. No words are ever spoken, but her movements did indeed convey much emotion. It was simply amazing to see how an entire narrative could be told with a simple wave of the arm or kick of the leg.

The choreography was clean, crisp and concise, with Acorn masterfully using the intimate stage to her benefit. Lovers of pure dance pieces will appreciate the amount of control and poise that was demonstrated during this 25-minute number.

ACT 2 – cinematic desire

Narrated by Bojana Stancic, ‘cinematic desire’ provided the audience with random musings about our society. The spoken word component was complemented by an image slideshow projected onto the screen. There was a little too much dissociation between what was being said and what was being shown, in my opinion. While this technique can often be a quite powerful storytelling device, the fact that the audio level was so low made Stancic’s words just sound like monotone background noise. Regarding the editorial value of what was being said, it was somewhat disappointing that much of the content was loosely paraphrased from existing information sources like Wikipedia and other bibliographical databases, as the dry regurgitation of facts without being tied to any real social commentary made this piece seem quite impersonal and unfortunately forgettable.

ACT 3 – Nighty night, sweet heart.

The most linear narrative of the night, Nighty night, sweet heart. garnered the largest response from the audience. In this act, Liz Patterson took us all on a dream journey, regaling spectators with stories of her past. My personal favourite of the trio, this piece had it all: flowing pantomime, a likeable protagonist and spot-on humour. Patterson was simply spectacular. The way she interacted with the audience was refreshing, and she quite successfully built a genuine rapport. If nothing else, Nighty night, sweet heart. makes Flowchart a SummerWorks must-see.

In general, some mainstream theatre audiences may find Flowchart a little too niche, but ‘different’ is what makes theatre exciting.

Details:

  • Flowchart played at The Theatre Centre’s BMO Incubator Space (1115 Queen Street West) on August 8th
  • SummerWorks performance tickets are $15 at the door (cash only), and are also available online at http://summerworks.ca, by phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, or in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth (located at 100A Ossington Avenue, first floor) from August 5th to the 17th, from 10 AM until 7 PM. (Advance tickets are $15 + applicable service fee.)
  • Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

Photo courtesy of Clutch PR