Yolande Ramsay for Curtains Up
Mental illness is a big and important topic.
Individuals with mental health issues are encouraged to discuss and open up about their illness. This can be easier said than done- and how do you express what seems to be overwhelming and unfathomable?
“Project X Performance Part 1” uses dance, music, and theatre to tell personal stories of depression, anxiety and eating disorders, and crippling fears. Performers Mercedeh Baroque, Jacqueline Van de Geer, Lyne Labrie, and Ilana Zackon bring fierce, powerful honesty to their stories. They use the body to physically express the pain, shame, and terror of a condition beyond their control and the struggle for help. Each scenario demonstrates how mental illness can have different effects on the individual. As the stories accumulate, the show builds to a surprising and compassionate denouement. There are no eureka moments or perfect solutions. The struggle continues but with a greater understanding and support.
The open space of the gallery allows room for the performers to move in a square space and yet still feels intimate. Simple props such as flashlights, candles, and art work are used to support the stories. The atmosphere seems spartan but it allows the stories and performances to shine.
Talking about mental illness and seeking help can be a struggle unto itself. “Project X Performance Part 1” shows that all stories have worth and people can start helping by listening.
“Project X Performance Part 1”: Presented by Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montreal. Written and created by Project X Performance. Directed by Ilana Zackon. Show times are June 11-13 at 8 pm and June 17-19 at 8 pm; Gallery Bliss, 3845 St-Laurent. Tickets $10. Call 514-849-3378 or go to www.montrealfringe.ca . Tickets are also available at Fringe Park (corner Rachel and St-Laurent) and at Gallery Bliss one hour before show time. There will an interactive discussion with the cast and production staff after the show. “Project X Performance Part 1” is in partnership with art therapy centre, Expression Lasalle. For more information go to www.expressionlasalletherapies.ca