Echoes, by Omnika In Motion, is a multi-disciplinary dance piece that reinterprets the classic trope of Jekyll and Hyde through props, shadow play, and genres as diverse as belly dance, jazz, hip-hop, and circus. Currently playing at Factory Theatre, the show represents a refreshingly plot-free, dialogue-free option compared to the more straightforward stories one might encounter at Toronto Fringe.
The performers — Alexa Papaconstantinou, Isabella Jade, Nikki Mae, and Rowynn LLoyd— pair off to represent the public and repressed sides of a self, one dressed in heavenly white, the other in black with spikes along their backs.
The show is composed of explorations of this light and dark dynamic characterized by complex choreography that’s big on rhythm and bust on setup. They don’t go much farther than establishing a conflict, usually nothing more than a shove and a look of disgust from one actor to another.
The focus is on the dancing. Set to contemporary electronic music from their native Vancouver, the cast’s moves are visceral, head-bobbing, and concerned with establishing a constant sense of communication between light and dark extremes. This relationship can be said to be Echoes‘ main thesis, that the unified self must be a negotiation between its opposing sides as opposed to either’s hasty rise to power.
The shadow play is a high watermark for the wonder it generates and how adept the performers are at silent acting. When the four of them are on stage, the level of frenetic energy they achieve approaches that of a worried mind, like an abstract painting come to life with millions of concurrent thoughts.
I regard this show highly for the tall order it sets itself, which amounts to staging the experience of being conscious. It’s an attempt that bears fruit with novel angles to cope with how there are things we all have to hide.
- Echoes plays at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. (125 Bathurst St.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Fog or haze effects; Strobe lights.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 6:30 pm
- Friday July 6th, 8:30 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 4:45 pm
- Monday July 9th, 3:15 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 1:45 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 11:00 pm
- Saturday July 14th, 1:45 pm
Photo of Alexa Papaconstantinou, Isabella Jade, Nikki Mae, and Rowynn LLoyd by Maia Anstey Photography.