Anderson Street Space until Oct. 28
Poetry left me behind somewhere around Yeats but picked me up in a big way at the Electric Company Theatre’s experiential installations on Granville Island. With its always ground-breaking inventiveness and eye-popping theatricality, the company presents three theatre pieces based on the poetry of Jennica Harper (What it Feels Like for a Girl), Elizabeth Bachinsky (God of Missed Connections) and Marita Dachsel (Glossolalia).
Dachsel, credited as the playwright, together with ECT’s artistic director Kevin Kerr and resident designer Naomi Sider as well as the creative minds at Boca del Lupo, lifts the words out of their slim volumes, puts each into a distinctive space and invites us to walk through. So peaceful, so beautiful was one of the little rooms, I could have spent hours watching the wind ruffling the white curtains.
Like a meditation, Dachsel’s Glossolalia explores the life of six of Latter Day Saints founder Joseph Smith’s 37 wives. Do read, while you’re waiting to move to the next venue, the poems from which the excerpts are taken. Those wives had plenty to say—some of it downright subversive and funny.
What it Feels Like for a Girl explores the budding sexual curiosity of adolescents Jen (Jennifer Paterson) and Angel (Emma Lindsay) while we, the audience, look on like so many peeping Toms. Paterson is so natural, so real it’s almost painful watching her watching Angel who has so totally bought into the sexualizing of young girls. Absolutely chilling in view of recent events.
God of Missed Connections deals with Chernobyl in a swirl of imagery from the red boots of Ukrainian dancers to buckets of radioactive waste. Colleen Wheeler, Haig Sutherland and Wendy Donaldson guide us through this sad, fouled landscape. Jonathan Ryder lights this show; prepare to be dazzled.
Directed by Anita Rochon, the Initiation Trilogy adds a whole new dimension to poetry. It should always be this sublime.