Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: (Toronto) Imprints

TOP TO BOTTOM: Cosette Derome, Conor Green, Kat Sander 
(Photo credit: Michael Cooper)

Provocative Ideas, But...
Gargantua offers a new work at Factory
by Beat Rice

Last week Michael Spence’s play, Imprints, had its world premiere at the Factory Studio Theatre. The play explores the idea of one’s ancestry being passed down in more than just a physical way. That one’s person is made up from all of those that came before them. The idea is really interesting and opens up a lot of points of discussion. Unfortunately the play, directed by Jacquie P.A. Thomas, failed to do that. 

The physical work by the ensemble was impressive...

IMPRINTS tells the story of a woman named Lily, who is in the hospital. As the anesthesia takes over Lily goes into a state that not only befuddles her, but audiences as well. In her comatose state, she enters a dream-like world where she encounters members of her family’s past. 

Theatre Gargantua is known for their highly physical style of theatre. The physical work by the ensemble was impressive, and there was a lot of energy, but the text was all over the place. Transitions from one ancestor to the next were done by gasping and lighting changes. It became tiring after the first 20 minutes. It was unclear who Lily was encountering and why it was important, or what they had passed on to her. The entire show felt like a nonsensical trip of encounters. 

There was some very good use of projection in the show, including live projection. There were also different surfaces that images were being projected onto like faces, handheld screens, and transparent sheets. 

The themes behind the show have potential to be provocative, but this play left me with nothing but confusion.

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