Wednesday, June 11, 2014

News: (Toronto) SummerWorks Launch Event (Report)

Launching SummerWorks: 
The countdown begins
by Lisa McKeown 

SummerWorks started, in the 90s, as a Fringe Festival, transitioning to a fully juried Festival around the turn of the century. It also now features predominantly new Canadian works, and is a great breeding ground for all kinds of Canadian artists working in dance, theatre, and performance art more broadly construed. Last Friday was their annual Launch Party for the Festival, comprised of the VIP portion in the early evening, and followed by a Pay What You Can dance party. 

Michael Rubenfield, the current artistic director of the Festival, was one of the hosts of the evening, amusing the crowd with his spontaneous humour. Peppered around the surrounding gates were the posters of the upcoming Festival's lineup, and throughout the evening the guests were treated to a sampling of some of the performances and exhibits that will be a part of the Festival in August. A Maracatu band (from the upcoming Maracatu You!) started off the night with drums, singing, and dancing. Passers-by on Queen Street even stopped to watch the band's lively anthems.

Then there was an interactive group dance with Benjamin Kamino, in anticipation of the six-hour performance dance piece he will be performing with his father. There was also an installation by Caterwaul Theatre, giving a glimpse into the world of their piece Unintentionally Depressing Children's Tales. The first part of the evening closed with a reading by Patrick J. Adams (of "Suits" fame) of an excerpt from a new Ukranian play by Natalya Vorozhbit. Adams charmed the small audience crowded into the top floor of the Campbell House, explaining that only a section of the piece has been translated into English at this point, and apologizing for the fact that he was about to read what is actually a woman's role in the play. "But I'm pretty sure I'm gonna nail it," he joked self-deprecatingly, before plunging into what was a vivid and rattling retelling of one woman's perspective of the recent political upheaval. 

August 7 - 17

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