Nadine is a sexual health educator, a playwright, poet, burlesque performer, partner and parent living in Ottawa, Ontario. She enjoys candy, fashion and dreck television. She does not care for pants
WHAT’S HOT AT OTTAWA FRINGE (cross-posted on Nadine’s own excellent blog, ADORKABLE UNDIES!)
I’ll tell you what’s hot – the weather!
My sympathies to those of you who are sweltering in this heat wave. Personally, I live for weather like this! I’m toasty warm and having the time of my life at Fringe.
I always had it in my mind that I would do a blog review or two during the festival. Once I start Fringing it’s hard for me focus on anything else so I figured if I wrote about “sexy” shows, thus combining my mandate as a sex blogger with annual Fringe obsession.
Prior to the festival, I’d pegged one or two shows that seemed to fit the bill. But now that I’m the thick of it, it seems this whole dang festival’s gone straight up sexy. Even sweet, lovely Vernus has got some fire in the old loins! Here’s a little taste of what’s hot at this year’s Ottawa Fringe.
In an earlier post, I confessed that I had a big, fat bias because of my big, fat love for playwright J.P. Chartier.
I LOVE YOU J.P!
2020 is set in eponymous year 2020. Doctor assisted suicide is legal and pair of brilliant scientists have developed a method of extracting a lifetime’s worth of memories, thoughts and secrets from a patient seconds before they die.
As a person, J.P. is the living embodiment of optimism and joy. His script on the other hand, has a dark undertone. I’m always impressed with people who can tap into other parts of their psyche through their art.
Also? Dude can write some monologues! I can’t have a character speak more than four consecutive sentences before the whole thing falls apart. That’s why my playwriting is all banter all time time. But 2020 has some pretty rad speechifying. I was super impressed.
2020 also has some very intriguing ideas about marriage, infidelity, secrecy, death and the ethics around what is very literally intellectual property. It’s ambitious – perhaps a bit overly ambitious for a script confined to 60 minutes time slot. I hope J.P. continues working on the show. In a non-Fringe forum, he could expand the script and give his concept the room it needs to grow.
But solid performances, some neat AV effects, hot make-out scenes and some good old fashioned nudity make 2020 a worthwhile Fringe endeavour! Catch the final performance at The Arts Court Theatre this Saturday at 10 p.m!
– Dead Wrong
Oddly enough, I wish this particular piece of theatre had been less…well…theatrical. But that’s only because Katherine Glover excels at both writing and storytelling. Seriously, girlfriend is riveting. The lighting cues, costume changes were all (minor) distractions from the only thing I wanted – to listen to Katherine’s fictional interpretation of gripping and tragic real life stories.
Dead Wrong is the story of Megan Shephard, a woman who survives a brutal physical and sexual assault. After a harrowing trial which results in her rapist’s conviction, Megan is still left with the harrowing task of rebuilding her life. But just as Megan begins to find peace, new information surfaces, indicating she may have accused the wrong person.
There’s nothing erotic or pleasant about this one. It’s a deft script that manages to explore a survivor’s trauma, the psychology of memory, racism and the failings of the legal system. It’s thought-provoking, moving…and pretty disturbing. While my issues with the production elements are minor quibbles, my one major criticism is that there is no trigger warning in the Fringe program or the one I was given at the show. I was given the heads up through word of mouth and Twitter but I think a formal warning in print would be most appreciated.
Dead Wrong has one more performance this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in Academic Hall. It’s definitely worth seeing. Consider your emotional safety if you do.
I LOVE dance! There are people in this world who can twist and twirl and leap and lunge and not fall ass-over-tea kettle and that is AMAZING to me! I wish I were a dancer. I probably could have been a dancer if not for that thing where I’m an un-coordinated lunatic.
When I saw the video preview of Heterollectual and realized it was a DANCE SHOW, it went straight to the top of my must-see-list. Dance makes it good. I could even get on board with the Twilight series if it had a dance number!
Heterollectual is a bit like this blog. It’s about sex, love and relationships…but better because it’s a DANCE SHOW! Admittedly, the first ten minutes or so were a little unsettling for me. The movement was more subtle and subdued. Not at all the boogie-fest I was expecting But then…
They fully went for it! The six performers from Pollux Dance went balls to the wall for 45 solid minutes of DANCE SHOW epicness! These people are brilliant and gorgeous and HOLY CRAP, ALL THE WORDS FOR GOOD!
The dance is punctuated by recordings of people musing about their experiences with love, sex and heartbreak. There are funny bits, weird parts and heart tugging moments. Also, mannequins. Towards the end of the show, the dancers themselves have a few lines of dialogue. Some people have told me they found the sudden change in protocol jarring or baffling. I personally didn’t care. These people can do whatever they want because ZOMG, DANCE SHOW!!!
A quick aside for choreographer, Leslie-Ann Glen. It was a pleasure meeting you in the Courtyard yesterday. I wanted to speak with you but you made a DANCE SHOW and are therefore eleventy times cooler than me. I let my intimidation get the better of me.
Heterollectual a.k.a DANCE SHOW has one more performance this Sunday at 5:30 in Arts Court Theatre. Now on to the next review. I need to wrap this up so I can watch the latest episode of So You Think You Can Dance.
– Little Lady
I have to admit clown/physical theatre isn’t my favourite medium. I’ve got a bit of a lazy brain that tends to prefer straight up narrative to interpretive storytelling. So while I didn’t love Little Lady, that isn’t due to any flaw in the show – just my own personal preferences.
Sandrine Lafond has a body that won’t quit. And I’m not talking about her appearance (although she is cute as all get out). I’m taking about her exceptional physical control. She spends most of the 45 minute performance with in grotesque but impressive contortions. That in and of itself made Little Lady worth my time.
The story (I think) is about a Little Lady who growth into a full grown woman is affect not only by the biological changes in her body but by the influences of external imagery, social expectations and pressure. The results are sometimes painful and at other times delightful. Like I said, I *think* that was the story. The play itself is highly abstract, so I had to go away and think about it for a day before I settled on an interpretation.
Hmm…a show that made me think. That’s probably not a bad thing, is it?
Fringe veteran Brian Carroll asked me if I thought Little Lady was an appropriate show for pre-adolescent girls. I do. The form might be a jarring, especially for youth who haven’t seen a lot of theatre. But Sandrine Lafond is very engaging and the show isn’t long. At the very least Little Lady would be a new, interesting experience for a young person. At best it could provoke some valuable discussion about puberty, femininity and body image.
You still have three opportunities to see little lady at The Arts Court Library, Friday at 8:30, Saturday at 9:00 and Sunday at 4:30. (Pro tip. Come early. Sit up front.)
– Vernus Says Surprise
Still the best thing ever. I now find very old men sexy. Writer/performer Ken Godmere is a genius. Director Tania Levy is a master.
Vernus Says Surprise has three more performance at Studio Leonard Beaulne, Friday at 10:00, Saturday at 5:00 and Sunday at 1:30. Go see it. If you don’t, I will weep for your loss.