We sat down with any company/artist presenting at Ottawa Fringe (starting June 19th!) who wanted to chat about their upcoming shows. We gave them three minutes (approximately) to make their best case as to why we should pick them. We called it speed dating. From now through the day before Fringe starts we’re choosing one local, one national, and one international artist from those we talked to and previewing them here. Today’s local pick is Filament Théâtre’s L’Araignée.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful world lovingly created on a tree by a little spider. Suddenly, a dog came up to this tree and rubbed himself on the bark, destroying the whole world in the process. L’Araignée tells this tale of destruction and reconstruction through dance and poetry, thirteen years after Élise Gauthier first had the story in mind. Anyone who has seen Ottawa Stilt Union (OSU) perform is familiar with Gauthier’s creative work and physical prowess. Though she’s not acting in L’Araignée, she is its writer which suggests that this will be a strong artistic piece.
The rest of the creative team is just as talented as Gauthier: Rideau Award nominated Catherine Boutin and emerging artist Chloé Tremblay will be performing, supported by Melody Louie (lighting), Alix Sideris (choreographer), Alex Zabloski (musician and a fellow OSU member), and Marie-Claire Saindon (composer). That’s a good team indeed!
What I Liked About L’Araignée
I predict that L’Araignée will be the most cutting-edge offering of this year’s Fringe Festival and that it will be a whole new experience for most patrons. Mixing rhythmic poetry, sound, and movement in an unconventional theatre space (an art gallery), Gauthier and her team present a French story of “being lost in a world that’s been destroyed and trying to figure out what to do”.
The story, says Gauthier, is mostly a vehicle for the greater message behind her work and for bringing audience members into her imaginary world. Forget the fourth wall: in this show, the actors will be moving in the same space as the audience is sitting. Obviously, this is not your typical “sit, watch, and leave knowing that something happened” play but it’s not an off-the-wall, audience participant based, high-energy show either. It sounds to me like mutual exploration of a new and delicate space. Whether I’m right or wrong in this interpretation, this is sure to be a memorable experience for everyone.
Perhaps most of all, the experience will be memorable for Gauthier and Boutin who have been yearning to share this story with audiences since 2001. After many adaptations, rewrites, workshops, and changes, L’Araignée finally has its chance to be presented albeit without Gauthier as its star.
What’s most intriguing about the show’s journey to the Fringe is how it’s come full circle: the production team recently found tapes of Gauthier and Boutin telling the story back in 2001 and will be using that narrative soundtrack in this version of the show. I also understand that there will be LED lights in use and that this show works both as a theatrical experience and an art installation in and of itself. That all sounds experimental and exciting to me!
Though the show is in French, L’Araignée’s reliance on movement-based expression makes it accessible for audiences of all ages and linguistic backgrounds. The actors’ skills in portraying complex and varied emotions combined with the sounds and rhythms of the words should bring this metaphor-rich experience to life for anyone with curiosity and an open-mind.
For more information on L’Araignée including show time and how to buy tickets, visit their show page on the Ottawa Fringe Festival website: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/laraignee/