A bridge, a grassy knoll, a big pond, trees, stumps with blankets, odd bits and pieces not normally found in this context, a curiosity, and a sense of mystery all added up to a rehearsal I witnessed two days prior to the opening of site specific show “Relapse” by And The Other Leg Theatreof Vancouver.
It is one of many onsite shows inspired by all the nooks and crannies of Granville Island, mentored by Kendra Fanconi, the Producing Artistic Director of the Only Animal, and the Fringe’s Executive Director, David Jordan. In 2011, the Only Animal began its exploration of onsite creations and for this year’s Fringe has collaborated with 14 companies to produce the onsite line-up. Each company began their journey into the unknown by attending workshops April.
It’s now opening time, and so far we are blessed with the promise of good weather. After seeing photographer/actor/creator Chara Berk and clown/actor/creator Kaeridwyn Newman’s gritty piece the other evening, I will pray for warm weather until closing night. And, that’s all I’m saying! See it…
Years ago, I recall the mysterious, titillating, almost religious sensation after I rose at 4:00 a.m. to drive to Two Jack Lake near Banff, Alberta to see the site specific piece “Princess of the Stars”. It was 1985 and I was working at the Banff Centre in costumes. People shook their heads at this “crazy” outdoor project based on Native myths that would commence with the dawn.
Well… it was a beautifully haunting experience that has remained with me: musical instruments and voices singing from across the lake, the respectful silence as we were ushered in the dark to our spots on the grass, winged creatures being canoed through the mist, and the big wolf.
The “crazy” idea was met with mixed feelings, but I can attest that being on location while creations simultaneously unfold can be very exciting. How will nature and man interfere and create an extra dimension. What gems may appear? The expected unexpected will occur keeping us on our toes.
Knowing that, I encourage you to take in some of the Fringe Onsite, and maybe even the same show more than once. Challenge yourself to see what will happen to you. What reactions you might have.
I mean, isn’t that why we go to theatre?
Break legENDS everyone at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival from September 6-16. See you out there!
Vive le theatre!
(Also writing for Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance)