Centaur Theatre’s Wildside Festival Warms Hearts on the Coldest of Days
I think we can all agree that making your way outside on a frigidly cold night is a feat in itself. Motivation is required, especially when temperatures reach an arctic low.
If it weren’t for Centaur Theatres’s 21ST Wildside Festival I, and many others would have happily stayed home in bed wrapped up tightly in blankets. As most of us know, hibernation mode in Montreal means that you become this weird burrito/hermit. It’s a unique crossbreed only found in the coldest of cities and no, they are not a friendly species.
However, after being given an insider look during a special media preview; on behalf of Curtains Up and Centaur Theatre, I knew that a temperature of below 40 was not going to stop me from attending an amazing array of shows.
More than ever, we need plays that expose the fragile state our world is in. Wildside Festival chose an exceptional line-up this year that touched on a platitude of serious and current subjects like:
· Legalizing gay marriage
· Gender labelling
· Human equality
· Traumatic events
· Cultural assimilation
· And much more.
However acute and serious these themes are, the playwrights delve into these topics with so much humour and wit that the audience finds themselves laughing aloud to seemingly inappropriate issues. These plays open up the door to a dialogue that most of us are afraid to approach and the actors and comedians embody their characters so flawlessly that is very easy to get lost in the moment.
From ‘one person’ shows to ensemble casts and choreographed musical numbers, The Wildside Festival really went all out this year.
Although all of the shows were amazing, there are a few performances that deserve extra recognition …
A heavy show that includes topics like: identity, domestic violence, family, tradition and assimilation. It is craftily written and the dialogue is biting at times. It is an opinionated and honest story that focuses on a family who has immigrated to Canada so that their children can lead happier lives. The writer Ke Xin Li pits tradition against freedom of choice and questions the notion of leaving culture behind in order to pursue happiness.
PLUCK’D will have you thinking about true identity, and whether it is based on where we come from or who we choose to be. Is tradition dangerous? It’s a brave outspoken work that is beautifully delivered by talented actors. Funny and disturbing at times, the show, presented by B.A.A.P (BALD ANGRY ASIAN PRODUCTIONS) is insightful and leaves a lasting impression.
The Morning After The Life Before
The Morning After, is a hilarious and true story that stars Ireland born Ann Blake (who also happens to be the playwright.) The tale takes place in Ireland, as Ann recounts how the morning of May 24th changed her life forever, when her country becomes the first in the world to support Gay rights and Marriage.
This is two women show, and it is so well done, you feel as if you’re eaves dropping on two friends. These talented women are bold, entertaining, funny and so natural. This has to be my favourite piece.
First of all, the music in this show is outstanding. It is loud, raw and powerful.Idiot wants you to be confused. The inspiration? Iggy Pop. Creator, Helen Simard has generated this uniquely dreamlike place full of idioms and nonsense. It feels as if you’ve been thrown into a Dali painting. Nothing is what it seems and yet everything you know is wrong. The play’s surrealism has this haunting effect, and the utilization of the performers physical movement in accordance to emotion is eerie.
The play focuses on the anxiety that indecisiveness and uncertainty causes, and embraces it. Fabricating, in the process a moving and artistic coming of age piece. If you love rock music, you’ll love this strange angst ridden love song of a play.
For more information on Wildside and Centaur Theatres upcoming productions checkout their Facebook page and website.