State of the Arts: rEvolver Theatre Fest serves up Feast for the senses

The old green house next to The Cultch is being bulldozed at the end of June and Robert Leveroos wants to give its basement, which has sheltered numerous local arts companies, one last dash of magic and life before it disappears.

Itll be delightful and itll be a real treat to see something creative in this space, Leveroos said. Itll be an evening of theatre that people wont forget.

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The multidisciplinary artist and performer who moves between theatre, dance and visual art will perform two pieces in the basement thats been transformed into an intimate, 60-seat black box theatre as part of the rEvolver Theatre Festival, formerly the Neanderthal Arts Festival, for emerging and established artists, which runs until May 26.

Its been used in the past but its never transformed in this way, Leveroos said.

His first dance/theatre piece, Safe/Guard, features the sound of water being poured and light reflecting off glass bottles and jars.

I want to give it more of a tactile, visual experience, Leveroos said.

Safe/Guard, which he describes as a visual poem, was inspired by Canadian author Timothy Findleys novel Not Wanted on the Voyage and depicts a spider making its way through a storm.

Leveroos used a live tarantula when he performed Safe/Guard it in the past. But he turned out to be really, really docile, so there wasnt a lot of movement, he said. Now Safe/Guard features mechanical spiders.

The second piece, Feast, was inspired by a book of childrens science experiments, particularly a test of balancing a two-dimensional cutout of a head on the edge of a table.

It kind of spoke to me about my familys dinner table experience where they look almost like theyre going to bite each others heads off, Leveroos said. But theyre also just really delicately balanced. Theyre almost having fun.

He swapped family dinner table stories with dancer Mirae Rosner and they improvised and focused on rituals and everyday objects linked to their recollections to create a piece that sees them dance on a seven-foot-long dining table with old-world and everyday objects.

Its playful and its mean and I think its going to be a nice little treat, Leveroos said.

The 26-year-old grew up in Minneapolis, worked with the Childrens Theatre Company there, attended the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal and serves as youth program manager for The Cultch. He says hes nurtured his imagination since he was a child and hopes to do the same for audiences.

Safe/Guard and Feast merge visual art, dance, clowning and magic and include neither narrative nor text.

Stripping the story of its literal context, I feel like it opens it up for interpretation much wider so that you can experience the visuals and start building your own story onto something, Leveroos said. It lets them fill in the pieces and use their imaginations, because ultimately, thats what all of this is about, imagination and delight and seeing things in a new way, seeing things used in a new way.

Safe/Guard and Feast run May 21 to 26. For more information, see thecultch.com.

crossi@vancourier.com

twitter.com/Cheryl_Rossi

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