Review: This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours (Progress Festival / Broadleaf Theatre)

Picture of Miwa Matreyek in This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours
This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours is playing as part of Progress Festival, co-presented by SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre.

This is a double bill, with This World Made Itself (2013) performed first, followed by Infinitely Yours (2020), with no intermission.

Los Angeles-based animator, designer, and performing artist Miwa Matreyek created both shows. Her background clearly informs the works she has produced here – both shows are live performances featuring Matreyek’s shadow interacting with projected animations.

This World Made Itself is a completely enthralling sensory experience. The performance begins some 14 billion years ago with the birth of the universe. From there, it journeys forward through the history of the earth, eventually entering our current period in time.

The animations are breathtaking and deeply rich, reminiscent of a Terrence Malick film. The changing nature of the visuals as the narrative enters the 20th century is unshakably grim: green becomes grey, land becomes monetized, animals become assembly lines, and life itself falls to the feet of capitalism.

This may sound bleak, but Matreyek’s performance is staggeringly beautiful and powerful. Her eye for the expansive history of the universe, and the degradation of our current age on the sanctity of the earth (the air, the water, the land, the creatures) is resoundingly clear.

Infinitely Yours goes deeper still into the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch of our current times. This performance explores the deafening impact of our more recent human activity on the earth. Here too, the animations are surreal and ever-expanding, leaving me breathless and stunned.

The silhouette of Matreyek’s shadow is a force of nature, too. In both performances, she interacts masterfully with the projections. Her movements are physical, strong and intricate. She uses the full expanse of her body at times, and more delicate movements of her fingers, toes and eyes, at others. She is well-practiced, clearly, and fully in command of the rapidly evolving visual narratives.

This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours is a dazzling, urgent double bill. Matreyek has created two very clear visual displays on the current state of our world. Visuals that I don’t imagine I’ll lose sight of anytime soon.

Details

  • This World Made Itself & Infinitely Yours plays until February 7, 2020 at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West).
  • Shows runs Thursday to Friday at 7:00PM.
  • Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online, in person at the box office, or by calling 416-538-0988.
  • This is a double bill show that runs for approximately 60 minutes, with no intermission.

Photo of Miwa Matreyek by Ahrum Hong

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *