Thursday, March 14, 2019

Shannon Litzenberger's WORLD AFTER DARK

from Harborfront events website;

World Premiere!

Night is electric, immersive, rejuvenating, and disarming. It demands to be met by the intuitive, sentient body. Its mysteries offer respite from the drama of the day. The nights of our generation are aglow with artificial light. What trace of darkness is left on you?

Inspired by Christopher Dewdney’s award-winning book Acquainted with the NightWorld After Dark explores our relationship with the physical and metaphorical night. From the three stages of nightfall to the science of the cosmos; from the birth of nightlife to the empire of dreams; from the biology of nocturnal creatures to the mythology of the night sky, Dewdney’s compelling poetic reveries and scientific explanations journey us on an epic voyage through the mysteries of night.

With an outstanding, multi-disciplinary creative team and ensemble of performers, World After Dark invites us to reclaim the night within us – a metaphor for the sensual, the embodied and the feminine.
Choreographed and Directed by Shannon Litzenberger





"I have been acquainted with the night I have walked out in rain-and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light."
Robert Frost

ILove NIGHT. SOME of my earliest memories are of magical  summer evenings, the excitement I felt night's arrival, its dark splendor. Later, when I was eleven, there were hot summer nights, especially if the moon was bright, when I felt irresistibly drawn outside. I'd wait until my parents were asleep and then sneak out of the house, avoiding the creaky parts of the wooded stairs and the oak floors in the warm night air. A bolt of pure electric joy would rush through me as i stepped into the bright stillness of the moonlit year." 

Shannon Litzenberger's World After Dark, inspired by the words of Christopher Dewdney, is an eclectic blend of abstract modern dance and the Broadway gestural tones of a Bob Fosse'esque 'fabulous extension'  tone that dazzles with emphatic direct movement and sharp characterization. The semi-cabaret like moments are enhanced by a spectacular black sequinned costume worn by a central dance 'character.' 

Character is the primary aesthetic signifier in the overall performance from the get go as Linea Swann enters, enwrapped in aforementioned luscious Liza-like garb (costumes by Alexandra Lord) with enhancing shafts of light, setting the tone for a diverse program of evocative solo and ensemble work. Swann takes on a host-like quality and joins the 'cast' as actor as well as dancer. At times she approaches the audience with an assessing eye that both attracts and challenges the parameters of audience subjectivity.

The spoken aspects of the evening are superbly performed with standout moments from Swann and Louis Faberge Cote. Nikolaus Markakis has elegant and robustly provocative man-bun moments, letting his hair down and taking centre stage for palpable demonstrations of gently sensual masculinity, while Emily Law, Syreeta Hector and Kathia Witttenborn add their own distinct brands of ensemble and solo character to the overall piece. Irene Pauzer and Dan Wild provide varied and engaging narration throughout the performance.

There are soft'ish kick line/in sync moments interspersed with nuanced, less glitzy enterprise that effectively varies the overall evening. In the end, this delightful panoply of blended, seamless vignettes beautifully captures Dewdney's efforts to explore night time in all its complex moods and moments - from  the "magical summer evenings" to "the dark splendor" that Dewdney speaks so eloquently of. Shannon Litzeberger has taken all of this, and with the support of her collaborative ensemble and production team, including dance dramaturgy (Gerald Trentham) and Creative Advisors (Trentham and Marie-Josee Chartier), crafted a beautiful, invigorating, and concise tribute to both Dewdney and the many variations of the night. Absorbing projections and interactive video designs by by Elysha Poirier frame the action and provide a stand alone aesthetic aspect that elaborately adds a wonderful layer of  nocturnally induced rapture to this multi-facted event.  

This is choreography and dance theatre that concisely responds to language as it delivers Dewdney's "pure electric joy"as well as his love for "the bright stillness of the moonlit yard" that occur and re-occur throughout World After Dark, giving onlookers literary, choreographic, and performance elements to enjoy and marvel at.



FROM MARCH 6-9, 2019

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