Bringing Sparkling Imaginations to Life

Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) constantly navigates the power differential between adults - who create plays and performance environments - and young audiences. Adults can impose their values within the TYA work they create rather than, for example, encouraging imagination and play. They can also deliberately or inherently set behavioural expectations for children watching live theatre, limiting their ability to naturally engage with it. (Think, the school-gym setting.) 

Enter Most Imaginary Worlds. Created by artists with disabilities in collaboration with children with disabilities, this sparkling new work overcomes power differentials. The play brings to life worlds which are free of barriers as imagined by its young collaborators. The vignettes, images, and characters living and thriving in these imaginary lands speak to the Social Model of Disability, which asserts that ‘disability’ is caused by the way society is organized rather than a person’s impairment or difference. They contain hope, hilarity, battles with equality, and triumphs of the human spirit. Ultimately, the production gives voice to the most vulnerable in our society and creates successful outcomes for its young collaborators.

The performances will also be relaxed, meaning kids can be themselves in the audience.

Most Imaginary Worlds is created and performed by Inside Out Theatre’s resident company, the point of view ensemble, and directed by Col Cseke. It is yet another brilliant example of Inside Out Theatre’s holistic ethos and progressive approach to creating and discussing equality in our society.

Presented by Quest Theatre, performances will take place on May 3 and 4, 2019 at cSPACE King Edward, and are best suited for children, ages 8 and up. Information is available at questtheatre.org.

The Rave Reviews Are In!

We who engage in the arts should take pause when a production like Ghost River Theatre’s Giant premieres. Giant is the cumulative result of established, innovative collaborators David van Belle and Eric Rose taking time over four years, securing Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter funds, and engaging an amazing cast and creative team around them, to bring their magnificent vision of Giant to life. I’d like to take this moment to appreciate their collective genius and achievement, by sharing quotes from each of this week’s reviews!

 From Lori Montgomery, Theatre Reviewer for The YYScene:

“This is everything I love about theatre — it doesn’t try to be the stage version of the HBO biopic. It’s oblique and elliptical and leans heavily on metaphor.”

“…the concept is executed with passion and energy that makes it impossible to look away.”

From Jonathan Love, Theatre Reviewer for CBC Radio:

 “…genius stagecraft…”

“…Ghost River was able to exhibit size and scale in so many creative ways, it was mesmerizing.”

 “…what was over the top amazing was the wrestling.”

“…what I appreciated was the creators’ ability to give it the time and the space that it needed, and the full force of the entire team’s creativity to find the right way to tell the story.”

“It’s the story of a man who didn’t fit within society told in a way that doesn’t fit within conventional storytelling.”

“…I really marvelled at how the scale and talent really hit home just like a pile driver. This was a singular production just as André was a singular human.”

From Louis B. Hobson, Theatre Reviewer for The Calgary Herald:

 “From concept to execution, Ghost River Theatre’s Giant is an awe-inspiring achievement.”

“…a show that dazzles with its inventiveness, originality and theatricality.”

 “(Van Belle and Rose) keep amazing with their innovation.”

“It is an achievement worthy of its title.”

Amen to that!!

World Premiere of Ghost River Theatre's Much Anticipated GIANT

I have looked forward to the world premiere of devised theatre company Ghost River Theatre’s Giant since I first heard about this latest epic by award-winning collaborators Eric Rose and David Van Belle. A boisterous alternative to the traditional biopic, the show tracks the life of wrestler André the Giant from his discovery in France to his rise to stardom in the early Coke- and cable-fueled days of the World Wrestling Federation, simultaneously examining his struggles with gigantism and otherness.

True to their aesthetically-driven points of view, the creators invite audiences to experience the spectacle and raw physicality of a wrestling match during the show. They masterfully integrate stunning imagery, as well as animated objects in an exploration of scale in composition. Calgary’s strong wrestling and puppetry cultures - unlikely bedfellows - will be merged!

During the process of working through André’s life and the hyper-masculine world of professional wrestling, it became apparent that a female lens, including the narrational perspective of André’s daughter, would best capture a multiplex view of André’s extraordinary life. Ultimately, Giant casts five female actors.

Recipient of a Canada Council New Chapter grant, Giant is the third GRT production in a loose trilogy, so to speak, of epic storytelling exploring ambition, tragic flaws, and what it means to be extraordinary, by Rose and Van Belle – following The Highest Step in the World and The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst. Anticipation of Giant within the theatre community is evidenced by the many presenters trekking to Calgary to see it and the keen previews appearing in local publications – here are a couple which highlight different aspects of Giant:

Preview and Interview with AD Eric Rose, by Louis B. Hobson in the Calgary Herald

Preview by Global News with video

Ghost River Theatre’s Giant runs March 12-24 at the Grand Theatre in Calgary, presented by the Festival of Animated Objects.