Review: things near and far, Firehall Arts Centre (until December 6)

things near and far, Firehall Arts Centre  until December 6: http://firehallartscentre.ca/onstage/things-near-far/

It’s perilous to read other reviews before one has written her own. But I couldn’t resist reading Allyson McGrane’s (I know Allyson from Fringe reviewing) masterful piece, and I’m very much inclined to just say go read that!

One wonderful thing about live performance is that it can serve to quiet and focus the mind. You are sitting in a room with dozens or hundreds of others, and (one hopes) with no devices to distract you. But still, the cacophony of my mind as a software release draws near, combined with somewhat unwanted but hard to shut down ruminations over various relationships and friendships (near and far, as it turns out), as well as collections of mundanities and obligations, made concentration difficult for me, at least for a time. I then gradually started to give in to the flow of images and thoughts that the dancers, the music, and the light produced.

What were these images and thoughts? Evolution (well, that’s my fellow attendee’s thought), lack of connection, urbanity, dystopia, crossroads, crucifixion, WorkSafe BC, enclosure, housing, prison, the music of power tools.  Two women, one man, communicate, separate, work together, work apart.

photo credit Chris Randle

Ziyian Kwan, Anne Cooper, Ron Stewart (things near and far)–photo credit Chris Randle

Humour and grace and agility and humanity pervaded throughout.(And I have to admit, I started thinking about going back to yoga, as I admired their moves.) I was surprised at times (no, I won’t say what or why). Even though I cannot say I understood this piece (although intellectual understanding is often not the point), I felt it and admired it. Actually, there are two pieces, with an intermission, and each piece, although quite different from the other, is called “Dwelling”. I’m still pondering that.

The music adds greatly to this work. I’m not sure how to describe it, although I see “electroacoustic” used. But that’s not sufficient.

Reading the Georgia Straight article and Allyson’s review will give you some background information that you might find helpful. Go and see what you think or feel when you see these dancers performing. You can be sure that their work will not be boring or predictable.

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