Nearly ten shows in now at the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival, and it was time for something a little different. I love my one-person shows, my wacky comedies, my Little Orange Men, as I blather on about quite often. But sometimes you have to go to the fringe OF the Fringe, see some of the shows that are taking that creative envelope, treating it like the polite suggestion that it is, and then doing something altogether their own, outside of what anyone else might consider the rules.
For my opening weekend, that show was Elise Gauthier’s L’ARAIGNEE from Filament Theatre, a poetic/dance/theatre piece she’s been working on in various forms for the better part of a decade now. I’d seen a workshop version of the show last year in Gatineau, starring Gauthier herself and Catherine Boutin, and it was a beautiful thing. She’s worked it even more now, stepped back behind the director’s chair and gotten the insanely talented Chloe Tremblay to step onto the stage in her place, and created one of the most special experiences you’ll have at the Fringe this year.
Taking place in the Firestone gallery at Arts Court, the show immediately makes innovative use of staging, seating and light (the audience is actually encouraged not to stay in one place for the entire performance), as an almost Angelic Boutin guides us to where the story will unfold. A sparse set accentuated by ingenious lighting and peppered with mysterious sounds awaits, a few oddball and almost childish props laying in wait. Enter Chloe Tremblay, in one of the most amazing entrances I’ve ever seen in a show. Together she and Boutin embody this mythic, cyclical story of creation and destruction. And while the bulk of the text in the show IS French, the words are almost secondary t all the other gorgeous elements around us. Don’t worry about ‘following along’…be immersed in one of the purest pieces of creation you’ll see for a while. This is a wonderful gem of a show, and I’m happy to have followed it along to the place it’s at now. Which is a place you should get yourself to, and fast. Peace, love and soul,