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 national pick is Devon More Music’s Silent Party Interlude.
If you’re one of those people whose attempts at meditation have been foiled by an ever-busy mind, you’ll understand Devon More’s plight just fine. A self-described “feisty, hyperactive, overeducated, underemployed, borderline alcoholic, mildly aggressive party-animal”, More decides to plunge into her own self-consciousness feet first at a 10-day silent meditation retreat. This involves absolutely no outside contact, no electronic devices, no reading, no writing, no music, no conversation, no gestures, no body language, and no eye contact! Of course hilarity ensues but so do some lessons about her innermost self, all of which she’ll be sharing in this hour-long show.
What I Liked About Silent Party Interlude
I’m a fan of folk songs because of their ability to tell stories. Added to that, More’s songs are ultra-catchy and polished. I will even predict that this will be the strongest musical show at the Fringe this year, and given that the line-up includes Les Cherries and The Peptides, that’s high praise indeed. I certainly hope More will be selling CDs after the show.
Speaking of music, in our interviews we asked artists what the theme song of their show would be. As a musical, Silent Party Interlude already has one: Losing Your Mind. More describes it as “about searching for your place in the world and just feeling like I don’t fit in to this rat race or I have different priorities than what’s out there and so where is the space for me to express myself?” That’s a question many of us ask and I’m excited to find the answer in this show.
I’m also excited to hear a story I can viscerally understand. I too struggled as a meditation-newbie recently and while my anecdotes are not nearly as humorous as More’s true tale, I like that someone is sharing that experience. This is a story not told by an expert. To use an analogy, as much as it’s awe-inspiring to have a yoga teacher who can bend her legs over her head, it’s much easier to relate to one who sometimes shakes in her Tree pose. Plus, More will be showing us how she fits into a meditation box which sounds intriguing.
Many people would be hard-pressed to find an effective way to tell a story about silence. After all, meditation is not exactly a spectator sport. Using original music to tell the “behind closed eyes” portions of More’s story seems like a creative, non-obtrusive way of showcasing both her conscious and subconscious experiences. Merging her background in theatre with her love of singing (and the ukulele) plays to More’s strengths and suits her material well.
Lastly, I liked the writing. More promises clever word-smithing and in the excerpts of her show I’ve seen, she does not disappoint. I particularly enjoy the almost spoken word rhythm she can get into.
For more information on Silent Party Interlude including show time and how to buy tickets, visit the show page on the Ottawa Fringe Festival website: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/silent-party-interlude/
For more information on Devon More including a taste of her musical talent, visit her BandCamp page: http://devonmore.bandcamp.com/