Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: (Montreal) Little Orange Man (WildSide)

(photo by Al Smith)
Remembering When...
by Aleksandra Koplik

Remember when you were a kid? How sense of coordination and controlling your walking speed never really came to mind? How every little question or curious thought was processed through your imagination, and came out in what at the time seemed like the perfectly logical conclusion? What glorious and forgotten days: when any uneaten vegetable or food could be used as a prop for play time and every toy could tell a story. Kathleen Greenfield and Ingrid Hansen 's Little Orange Man is an escape to childhood through the eyes of Kitt (played by Hansen), a little Danish girl who is directing a dream experiment with the help of volunteers from Craigslist (the audience). As a child diagnosed with ADD, this smart handful is having trouble making friends and she really misses her grandfather, who recently fell into a coma. This story is about Kitt trying to communicate with him through her dreams.

What surprised me, was how easy it was to have been completely submerged into this kinder world. Kitt was so believable in her speech, her movements and young-girl attitude of being a freak-show among her peers. She is alone in her performance but she's so active and unbelievably charismatic that the play is complete.  Hansen uses a variety of simple, yet effective props that propel the story forward. The lighting and musical components were quite impressive. Lights were used for shadow puppetry and projection effects. It's not very easy to pull off puppets these days since there are so many other options available, but Little Orange Man's humour is so clever, witty and interactive (that's right, the audience participates almost every step of the way) that the puppets just work their magic. Few set decorations are needed for this piece. Just like Kitt, the audience uses their imaginations! The use of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales come in handy as well. Who knew (or remembered) that most of his stories were pretty gruesome?  

At first, you really don't know what to expect from this show, it takes a while before the adult wall crumbles and you start to let the story in. Once you get past the stages of introduction and complete sensorial annihilation, it all comes together. This play is  funny and light, it's a story that any one of Danish or non-Danish origin can relate to because it takes us back to a simpler time. A true pleasure that I would recommend to anyone who has become a  little too familiar with reality. 

Little Orange Man is at WildSide


  1. Hear, hear! Far and away my favourite of the festival for the joyful naïveté of the character, and the playful energy of the performer/character.


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