Pretty Little Fringe 2011 Nightcap

So there I was, pretty grim and disshevelled the morning after the Victoria Fringe festival ended.  I was hurting fromthe drink like I hadn’t hurt in a decade, most of my new and old friends had already fled town for Vancouver or beyond, and it was goddamn labour day so most everything was closed.  What was a Visitor to do?

Thankfully, one of my fav’rit shows of the Fringe, LITTLE ORANGE MAN, provided me with the answer.  Star Ingrid Hansen had  hepped us to the existence of a special one-off performance of Snafu Dance Theatre‘s piece, PRETTY LITTLE INSTINCTS, that she and the troupe performed at the Summerworks festival this year.  It sounded like a tailor-made way to cap off the Victoria Fringe, so I headed out for the 8pm performance.  After some trouble finding the place (I probably should have looked at, you know, a MAP first), I made it to the Victoria landmark that is Point Ellice house on the waterfront for the special outdoors performance.  Met a few of my new Victoria mates there, especially director Kathleen Greenfield, and volunteer/superfan Janis, enjoyed some live music aforehand, then got led out back for the show.

A group of elegant, black-clad ladies with powdered white faces awaited us, dancing slowly in a circle before politely noticing our presence.  They flitted among the crowd, tucking people in and just generally being helpful, when the bell rang, the show began in earnest, and they took their own seats in a semi-circle on the grass.  Strange silent rituals began then…an elegant tea ceremony, constantly interrupted by music and repeated, again and again.   More rituals began, and ended strangely, events twisted, behaviours took dark, violent turns.  The group turned on their own, shouts and primal screams echoes here and there, until…

Photo credit - Gordon Lee

…Look, there’s just no real lucid way to DESCRIBE this wondrous piece of dance theatre from SNAFU without unintentionally ruining the whole damn beautiful thing.  It’s lyrical, playful, elegant and evocative, mythological and allegorical, and lots and lots of other big words that don’t do it justice.  I can only imagine they ate it up at Summerworks, and hopefully my peeps in Ottawa get a chance to see it someday, too.  Snafu put on a haunting and unforgettable show, and I couldn’t be more pleased that I stuck around in Victoria that extra day to catch it.  Much obliged, gang…and I hope to see some of you again soon.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

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