Montreal Fringe: Non-conformist jugglers, Mrs. Pirandello, and intense performance art

0 Posted by - June 18, 2015 - Features, Performance, Reviews

The New Conformity, from Vancouver circus troupe Cause & Effect, is on its most immediate level a direct commentary on contemporary corporate culture.

The performers, clad in identical grey suits, use juggling and physical comedy to tell the story of one man’s rebellion against imposed monotony, which begins with the revelation that he is wearing a bright red boutonnière under his jacket. As the show progresses, he gradually wins the other two over to his flashier, freer-thinking ways, and the performance becomes a tightly choreographed juggling extravaganza.

The juggling and physical comedy are excellent, and the performance as a whole is cohesive and energetic. While the show is most definitely a crowd pleaser, it also subtly raises the question of whether this alternative, anti-corporate way of being has itself become, as the title suggests, a new conformity, seen for example in the countless identical, mass-produced, pseudo-vintage signifiers of cool seen in shop windows on the way to the venue. Either way, it’s still a fun and impressive juggling show for all ages. (KK)

 The New Conformity runs until June 21st at Studio CirQus, 4247 Saint-Dominique (the ceiling is low, watch your head). 




In Search of Mrs. Pirandello, written by Michaela Di Cesare and directed by Christina Cugliandro, is one of the glossiest pieces at this year’s Fringe.

An attempt to reconstruct the relationship between the influential playwright and novelist Luigi Pirandello and his wife, Antonieta Pirandello,  the play sheds some light onto the forgotten woman behind the illustrious man.

The playwright, Di Cesare, plays a young, modern woman disillusioned by the vapidity of the 21st century social media world, and by the absence of Mrs. Pirandello from her husband’s recorded history. Using shifting perspectives and points of view, the play explores the relationship between husband and wife, but more importantly, between creator and muse, and the inherent complications which arise from such idealized objectification of one’s Other, one’s better half.

With strong performances across the board, inspired directing by Cugliandro, and a beautiful space, Di Cesare’s play and performance must be seen. (FGB)

In Search of Mrs. Pirandello runs until June 20 at the Rialto Studio, 5723 ave. du Parc.

Tuesday Seeds of War: Draft 1: The Hunt is essentially a performance piece by Leah R. Vineberg.

Though sparse, the dialogue hints at the relationship between being and becoming through the body itself. Gender, identity, growth, decay, expectations and disappointment are corporally present in the one-person show. In fact, it is a piece meant to be felt, rather than analyzed or interpreted. It is more contingent on affect than on cold rationalization, on emotion than on thought. In this sense, the performer’s intensity was necessary to fill the otherwise empty stage and page, as the audience is forced to follow her gaze into herself.

The continued silence accented by briefs attempt at connection, even across the fourth wall, only further emphasized the intensity of the performance. An interesting piece, it is theatre at its most minimal, and yet effective. (FGB)

Tuesday Seeds of War: Draft 1: The Hunt runs until June 21 at Espace 4001, 4001 Berri. 

Felipe Gomez Bonilla is an experimental filmmaker, philosopher and critic from Los Angeles by way of Bogota.  He is currently working on a hybrid film/play which details his experiences moving across the American continent over the past 20 years, and is excited to become reacquainted with the Montreal theatre community as a critic for the Fringe Festival. He can be found @kinosophist across social media.

Kristi Kouchakji is, among other things, a contributing editor at Art Threat, and can be tweeted at @badyogi (misogynists and MRAs need not apply).

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