Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Review: (Toronto) I send you this Cadmium Red

Julian Richings (photo credit: John Lauener)

I am Thankful
Simple is beautiful but never stagnant
by Beat Rice

I cannot say that I have ever spent a Thanksgiving evening in the theatre. This year, I am thankful that I did. I send you this Cadmium Red previewed Tuesday night (October 10), to a healthy sized house in the Berkeley Street Theatre. The two-part show is part of Canstage’s 2011-2012 Season. 

What ties the acts together is the music composed by Gavin Bryars. The first half is Canadian choreographer James Kudelka’s Soudain l’hiver Dernier set to Bryars Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. The loop of the folk song is mesmerizing, as well as the choreography.  The dance consists of two male dancers in a beautiful duet that shows us a very special and personal relationship. The pairing of dancers Michael Sean Marye and Luke Garwood works perfectly, although the casting switches out with two other dancers during the run. Kudelka’s choreography is presented in collaboration with Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie. The instrumentalists of the Art of Time Ensemble give life to the ever-evolving chord progressions of Bryars’ score. 

The second half of the show is excerpts from the book I send you this Cadmium Red. The book is a compilation of letters passed between John Christie and John Berger where they use colour as a starting point for many poetic discussions and observations. Their words personify colour and with the aid of projections, allow us to see colour in a new way. The images, created by Bruce Alcock, are beautiful, but the words from the text did not need to be projected. Reading the part of Berger is Julian Richings and reading the text of Christie is John Fitzgerald Jay. They are directed by Daniel Brooks. One poignant moment is after a certain kind of blue is described, and lighting designer Glenn Davidson lights the audience in a blue wash, allowing us to simply be in the colour for a few moments. 

The show, in its entirety, shows us that simple is beautiful, but never stagnant. As the fusion of live orchestration, dance, poetry, projection, and theatre develop and move, so does the audience, and it makes for a truly memorable experience. I will never see the colour red in the same way. 

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