Porno Death Cult at the Firehall, Take 2

My fellow attendee and guest reviewer has his interesting review here. But as with Hirsch, this is a work that demands further consideration.

We are warned of the water haze when we get the programme. And the theatre set is indeed hazy as you walk in to claim your seat. The work begins with some music that I am hardpressed to describe, but gave the impression of marching and motion. An arch is set up at back center stage, with a collection of interesting paintings and images. As the work starts, a spotlight beams down from above on what could possibly be stained glass, evoking a cathedral. The imagery was not necessarily sacred; there were some skulls among the paintings. But the effect was unsettling, a bit creepy, and it definitely served the purpose of taking the viewer to a different world.

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg began with several minutes of twitchy dance that could be interpreted as movements arising from a neurological problems. I started worrying, just a tiny bit, that maybe the whole performance would be like this. Her hair completely covered her face. With the white pants suit she was wearing, she could have been a male hippie just as easily–I felt she was conveying gender ambiguity and possibly evoking Jesus, so often portrayed with long hair.

Soon Tara takes the voice of Maureen, a 41-year-old Irish woman who is somewhat of a busybody, and Maureen is first met in church. But seamlessly, Maureen changes into other female characters, including most notably a yoga instructor. For Vancouver audiences, I suspect the yoga instructor character is much more a part of daily life than a fundamentalist preacher or a psychic medium, who were a couple of other characters. Now, I can’t be sure if Maureen was transitioning among all these different characters, or if they are all separate.

Tara is absolutely a comedian, and if you are not accustomed to modern dance being interspersed with standup comedy, now’s the time to see that. She also evokes sadness, uncertainty, fear, and guilt, although the humor is what I will most remember.

As a dancer and yoga practitioner, Tara is capable of amazing moves and flexibility, but more importantly she conveys the story with her body.

Tara takes so many personal influences, along with her pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, to make this work. It was a joy to see the workings of a creative and unbound mind.

The previous review already showed the promo video, so I’ve attached an introduction to the Camino de Santiago, a bit tangential, but yet not, to this work.

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