The 10/10/10 Project, presented by Bismuth Theatre at Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, is based on a unique concept. It can be easy to feel lost when watching such a conceptual show, but once I accepted that and went along for the ride, I experienced a fascinating exploration of writing, music, and dance.
Ten writers were given the prompt “there’s something here that shouldn’t be” and asked to write pieces based off it. In turn, these written pieces were given to ten composers as the basis for ten musical pieces. The music was passed along to ten choreographers, who were asked to choreograph a dance to their assigned music. At the end, the writers came back and adjusted their pieces accordingly, and then the separate creations were put together to form the show itself. Nine performers round out the cast.
First of all, kudos must be given to director Aaron Jan for taking on the beast of a task that must have been connecting the dots of all ten pieces. As the beginning of a project that promises to continue and expand, I can imagine putting the first show together would be difficult, and he has done a commendable job in finding thematic connections between pieces and bringing them out to provide continuity throughout the show.
The final show seemed to end up veering from the original prompt a bit, and mostly explored the idea of human connections. Almost all the scenes brought to life the struggle of risking being truly seen by someone else, and to embrace those connections when they happen instead of shying away from them. While not what I had expected from the given prompt, these explorations tapped into the basic struggles of being a human, particularly in such a technological age.
The writing pieces seemed the least frequent of all the elements, and were sometimes lost in the volume of the music. I can tell the actors tried to accommodate this, a bit too often by yelling, and still it was too loud to hear them. What I could hear was extremely interesting, especially given the variety of voices due to different authors.
The music and dances melded together quite well, making use of technological beeps and buzzes, edited nature sounds, as well as traditional instruments.
What drew me in most about the dancing was the use of gestural systems, for example elaborating on the gesture of raising a hand, which was brought back multiple times. It made it more accessible and understandable for me, which I find is key in successful dance performances.
All the performers were engaged throughout the whole hour, and transitioned smoothly from acting to movement to more structured dance. They deserve congratulations for their work in creating their individual arcs, which were evident and held my attention through any unclear transitions.
Keep in mind when seeing this show that it is titled as a project. Not all the kinks have been worked out, but I think it is worthwhile to see the beginning form of what I truly think will grow into a completely original and possibly breathtaking multimedia experience.
- The 10/10/10 Project is playing until July 12 at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst Street)
- Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the peformance. Venue sales are cash-only.
- Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
July 04 at 12:00 PM
July 06 at 06:45 PM
July 08 at 03:30 PM
July 09 at 03:30 PM
July 11 at 02:15 PM
July 12 at 01:45 PM
Photo of Joel Edmiston, Sophie Dow, Zach Parkhurst, Julia Hussey, Celia Green, Cate D’Angelo, Samantha Raymond, Andrei Borrisenko and Callie Presniak, taken by Jordan Laffrenier