I walked into a full house for Wildlife at the 2015 SummerWorks Festival at Artscape Youngplace. This is always a wonderful thing to see. Even more impressive was how many young industry professionals I recognized in the audience. The room was buzzing and full of energy and I was eager to see what all the hype was about.
Performance art is not for everyone. It’s the type of theatrical experience that happens organically. It can seem conversational with smatterings of improv. You get a sense of its informality as it defies space and time. It employs lights, sound, music, movement and a myriad of other mechanisms to aid in its overall effect. It can sometimes feel like looking at contemporary art in motion, with narration. With that in mind, I proceeded with a really open mind.
What’s really neat about Wildlife, is how each of the performers find their own unique way to express their views. They each tell their stories in what I felt was a voice/medium that was most comfortable to them. As a result, you get a pretty eclectic variety pack of entertainment that includes poetry, movement and storytelling.
This is collaborative performance that is written by Amy Lam and Liz Peterson with Hannah Cheesman, Lindsey Clark, Onyeka Igwe, Sean O’Neill, Aliya Pabani and Matt Smith. This is a group of very smart and introspective actors who push the boundaries of performance and perception through experimentation. It was an interesting mix of social commentary and parody.
I enjoyed each of the actors’ solo moments. There was one in particular using a computer and projection to tell the story that really stood out and had the audience laughing. When the whole cast was together on stage, the energy they were feeding off of was contagious. They had us all in stitches.
See a show like this if you want to put your thinking cap on and dig deep into the meaning of things. Like when viewing art in a gallery, no two people will have the same experience.
Performance art can be frustratingly confusing, or hilariously obvious, but a hundred percent entertaining. It might even take awhile to sink in, but I guarantee you’ll leave there thinking about what you just saw and that’s a pretty cool victory.
Remaining Show Times:
- Thursday, August 13th 8:00PM
- Friday, August 14th 8:00PM
- Saturday, August 15th 8:00PM
- Sunday, August 16th 8:00PM
Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series tickets are free
$20. Tickets are available online at www.summerworks.ca, by phone at 888-328-8384, Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, in person at the 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 provided by SummerWorks Festival