I just wrote up a five paragraph review of tonight’s Prairie Theatre Exchange’s Carol Shields Festival of New Works. Then, somehow, with my MFA-artist-trained hand-eye coordination, I hit a the Refresh button and deleted the whole damn thing.
Jesus Christ, what a dope. Here’s what I wanted to say:
- Tonight was a phenomenal introduction to some of the best theatrical, dance, and performance talent in Winnipeg. I loved watching these performers. Every one of them.
- The entirety was inspired. The directors threaded the multiple performances with overt, and sometimes covert, little narrative threads.
- I saw ballet dancers perform three song-stories that I think I actually understood. One, the very first one, was about a young man witnessing his life construct his own failure through love. Maybe I didn’t understand it at all. But I liked it.
- My friend, Donna Lewis, performed her Leotard Cohen piece, wherein the long lost (and lost) sister of Leonard Cohen comes out of her darkly lit shell. It was hilarious.
- I missed a lot of references to Canadian culture. But, as an outsider going on two years, I recognize that Canadian artists, to a large extent, have the luxury of not being burdened with the turgid, violent history that American artists do. It’s not that Canadian history is one of clean hands and squeaky feet; rather, the utter racial and economic pain that many American artists bear does not, thankfully, affect most artists here, nor should it. I may be utterly wrong about this and I’m willing to be raked over the coals, if I have to be, on this one. But my point is that the unstraining humility and self-conscious humor that Canadian artists tend to show is perhaps derived from a less contaminated historical narrative and a less tortured personal aesthetic.
- Winnipeg is a small big place. During intermission, I ran into two performing artists I actually know. This is, to me, still shocking.
- Coming back to the first point, I consciously realized tonight that I quite literally fall in love with those performing on the stage. I mean, I really, truly start to love the performer. It’s a fleeting love, thankfully.