Show # 3 of my first night at Montreal Fringe, and this one was happily just around the corner from my previous venue, so no running. In fact, I even ran into Montreal kingpin Al Lafrance, and had an Ingrid Hansen sighting through my Second Cup window! These omens boded well.
The next show was GRAVITY: A TRAGEDY at the LaChappelle studio, from 9th Life Theatre, and starring the multitalented Chilko Tivy in a show she wrote herself, with some choreography by Krysteena Demarco.
Tivy stars in this semi-musical tale of a figure no less than the Queen of the Universe, who at the dawn of existence falls for a fundamentally bad boy, namely Gravity. Things go well enough at first, sparks fly, planets form…but then, the Queen starts getting dragged down into Gravity’s rather deep wells, landing muck-deep on Earth, where she has to become a regular old person to try and get along. All the while, unable to shake her consuming attraction to the big G, and sinking lower and lower into the mess they’ve both made of things. As she sings soulfully, “I never wanted you…but I need you”.
GRAVITY is an amazing showcase for the talents of Miss Tivy, who does the work of a whole team of actors, singing, dancing and creating a self-contained world for her character to create, and subsequently get painfully lost in. There are indeed a decent amount of songs in the piece, and you’ll have your fav’rits…the opening, sultry number is a nice start, accompanied by great onstage visuals. And the later rap-styled ‘doing my job’ number is definitely a highlight. There’re a few staging problems throughout, and it looks like the show could’ve used a stronger directorial hand. Too many times the lighting and blocking was such that we couldn’t even see Chilko’s face, and there were a few awkward transitions along the way. But the talent on display is hard to argue with, with some seriously tough and poignant moments coming in the second half. There’s a ccollapsing into herself moment that I absolutely LOVED, and I bet you will too. It’s a very cool script and story, and I’d love to see it get the streamlining it deserves. As it stands, it’s plenty worth a look AND a listen…Miss Universe has a helluva voice, yo. Do yourself a favour and hear what she has to say. Peace, love and soul,