The Old Wolf and the Sacred Trout, presented by Arbez Drama Projects playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival, is a movement/dance piece that follows a wolfpack in the woods. The performers in the piece had such flawless beauty; I couldn’t even imagine moving my body in that way. With very few vocal notes, aside from a few sentences that weren’t in English, the piece was a stringent display of movement.
It was such a relief for me to see a show that told a narrative strictly through beautiful and seamless movement. After spending all day with words running through my ears from three other shows, this show provided the visual stimulation that my brain needed.
Although there wasn’t much of a story — unless it’s a metaphor that flew over my head, which is highly likely as I’m not well versed in dance pieces — it was very well choreographed and performed. Every single muscle was activated in the dancers’ bodies, particularly when it comes to Marvin Vergara, who played the title wolf who was injured. He made such a spectacle with the imposed ‘pain,’ I could see him feel it through every muscle.
The show could have used a sound designer, though, as the transitions ended up being quite jarring to watch. The music would sometimes get cut off in the middle of a song, and then at certain times nothing would play while movement happened. Or, the same song would be heard without any real connection to the last time it played. It just seemed like they had no other tracks to play.
I didn’t understand what the purpose of the ‘Sacred Trout’ was, or if the fish that was gutted in the first scene was the same as the savior in the end. There was also probably a bigger purpose for the helicopter sounds and human influences within nature that I didn’t pick up on.
Anna Braumberger, the mask maker, did a brilliant job on the wolf masks, really bringing the animals to life. It genuinely added to the entire show, which was mostly about the wolves, so I fully commend the production on their resources.
If you are looking for something that is not your normal Fringe play, I recommend this show — and this is coming from someone who has never seen a dance show in her entire life. The Old Wolf and the Sacred Trout filled the space of the Tarragon Mainstage, and was a surprising delight.
- The Old Wolf and the Sacred Trout plays at the Tarragon Mainspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- This venue is barrier-free. The designated accessible seating is in the middle of the auditorium.
- Wednesday July 5th, 06:45 pm
- Friday July 7th, 08:45 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 03:30 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 01:15 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 08:45 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 03:30 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 11:30 pm
Photo of Donald Molnar (l) and Alicia Payne (r) taken by Richard Yagutilov