Beyond anything, MacArthur Park Suite: A Disco Ballet is 100% fun. The colored lights production, playing at the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the 2015 SummerWorks Festival, is the brain child of lauded writer and performer Ryan G. Hinds and while it is also a love letter to Donna Summer, it is so much more.
Broken into two parts, the first begins with performers Nicole Rose Bond, Dylan Shumka-White, Cheryl Chan, Raya Facey, Shakeil Rollock, and finally Hinds himself explaining their beliefs on love, lust, and relationships. As each of them speak I found I was feeling their words and experiences along with them and also thinking about my beliefs on the subject. These mini-monologues on love shared an honesty and depth that carried throughout the show.
After a short break, the disco ballet begins and with it the laughs and appreciation for the talent on stage. Everyone deserved an ovation — and they got many — for their dance and movement abilities.
Co-choreographers Bond and Hinds put together arrangements that perfectly matched the feeling and lyrics of the music and also aligned with the words we heard during the first part of the show.
As Hinds explained in his director’s notes and also near the beginning when talking about love, this show was written in the aftermath of a break-up and how Donna Summer’s recording of MacArthur Park helped inspire the spirit of this show.
I love the transition of how Hinds went from feeling like a “cake left out in the rain” to being able to write something so fun. Throughout the entire second half I had a smile on my face, simply just enjoying the show.
He also goes on to say, “Donna’s music was epic, romantic, silly, honest, dramatic, funny, (and) bizarre,” and I feel those words capture exactly what MacArthur Park Suite became. It was inspired by a serious situation but doesn’t take itself too seriously, which was beautiful.
Costume Designer Trish Fedora deserves mention as her work played a great role in helping with the revelry. Also, Stage Manager Aidan Morishita-Miki kept the many transitions on point and seemingly no cue was missed in a show with a lot of moving parts.
I don’t wish heartbreak on anyone, but if this is what comes of it for Ryan G. Hinds, then please Ryan, weather the storm just a couple more times.
MacArthur Park Suite: A Disco Ballet plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst St.)
Remaining Show Times:
- Monday August 10th 9:30pm
- Wednesday August 12th 4:45pm
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series tickets are free – $20. Tickets are available online at summerworks.ca, by phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 4-16 from 10am-7pm (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows
Photo of Ryan G. Hinds and Nicole Rose Bond by Greg Wong.