Des-Echoes (Daniel Bear Davis and Caro Novella) / Fadeout (Anne-Flore de Rochambeau) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Photo of two dances facing each other wearing coveralls pulled up over their heads

Two contemporary works of contrasting themes are brought to the 2019 SummerWorks Stage. One humorous and intimate, while the other is isolating and eerie, Des-Echoes and Fadeout are strong additions to the festival.

Starting with only a bar of light highlighting the lower half of her body, choreographer and performer Anne-Flore de Rochambeau, slowly begins to articulate only her hands and fingers in Fadeout. The movement is pained and precise as if to slowly explore the space for the first time.

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Antarctica (Syrus Marcus Ware & Toronto Biennial of Art) SummerWorks 2019 Review

Antartica at The Theatre Centre with SummerWorks 2019

The climbing summer heat and accompanying global conditions are giving lots of people cause for concern. Weaving that social anxiety into a dramatic narrative, Antarctica is being presented at The Theatre Centre as a SummerWorks 2019 production.

This piece, set in 2045, is about a hypothetical future. People from various world nations – all born in, or connected to Antarctica in some way – are tasked with trying to build a sort of “second chance” civilization in the wake of the climate crisis eroding society as we know it.

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The Nine Brains of the Human Mind / those, on the surface (The School of Toronto Dance Theatre) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Emerging choreographers take the SummerWorks stage with a double bill of modern/contemporary dance. The Nine Brains of the Human Mind and those, on the surface are choreographed by Kari Labrentz and Tanveer Alam and produced/danced by The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. These work-in-process pieces are part of the SummerWorks Lab programming.

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Black Ballerina (Syreeta Hector) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Syreeta Hector in Black Ballerina by Jason Tse

 Black Ballerina by Syreeta Hector playing at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) as part of the 2019 SummerWorks Festival, is visual storytelling at its finest.

Syreeta Hector exploits and expands on ballet training in this solo dance performance. She explores the complexities of her Black, Indigenous identity manifesting within the confines of a highly traditional, Eurocentric art form.

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Cliff Cardinal’s CBC Special (Imaginary Force and Cutline) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Picture of Cliff Cardinal in Cliff Cardinal's CBC Special

Cliff Cardinal stuns as a storyteller in Cliff Cardinal’s CBC Special, now playing at the 2019 SummerWorks Festival. Presented by Imaginary Force and Cutline, the show delivers a melodic, soulful evening of powerful folk songs and stories, woven together with dark humor and expansive heart.

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Audible Songs From Rockwood (Fiver) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Simone Schmidt in Audible Songs From Rockwood by Jeff BierkDefinitions of what and who are “criminal” or “insane” have historically been tailored to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and marginalized. This fact is readily apparent as one watches Audible Songs From Rockwood at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival, a song cycle by Simone Schmidt (aka Fiver) based on the case files of ten women incarcerated at Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane between 1856-1881.

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Gender Reveal Party (Flamingo Rampant) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Picture of Chy Ryan Spain and S. Bear Bergman in Gender Reveal PartyGender Reveal Party, presented by Flamingo Rampant at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival, is a work-in-progress, much like the gender identities of many of its participants. Created by Mooney on Theatre senior writer S. Bear Bergman, it riffs off the idea of the “gender reveal party” that has become a major social media fad in the past decade, starting with a fateful 2008 blog post -which the blogger reportedly now regrets. In these parties, as a baby sits in utero, its parents, via the inside colour of a cake, piñata, or some other intricate ritual, communicate to their guests the assigned gender of the child. 

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Worry Warts (Convergence Theatre) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Picture of Julie Tepperman in Worry Warts by Aaron Willis

“Do you consider yourself to be an anxious person?” 

We live, as they say, in an age of anxiety. The daily stream of fear from world news means that we not only shoulder our own burdens, but those of billions of others. Worry Warts, presented by Convergence Theatre at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival, is a short, guided tour through our personal anxieties, helmed by a troupe of sympathetic listeners.

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