When last we saw her, Kitt, the ginger headed outcast, was recounting grisly Danish folk tales using food and found objects as the dramatis personae.
In so doing, she made people laugh, cry, shake their heads and give her awards; Little Orange Man, the production for which Kitt was created, took home top prize at the 2012 Ottawa Fringe Festival.
SNAFU Dance Theatre, creators of Kitt, took it home and added it to a crowded mantle that included well-earned hardware from Montreal to Vancouver.
Home for SNAFU is Victoria, B.C., where the multidisciplinary company collaborates on a regular basis with other companies as part of a small but supportive arts community, helping SNAFU hone a style it labels “West Coast whimsy.”
West is meeting East yet again this month, as SNAFU – and Kitt – return to the Ottawa Fringe as part of summer-long seven city tour, with Kitt and Jane: An Interactive Survival Guide to the Near-Post-Apocalyptic Future, a new show delving the souls of today’s troubled teenagers.
“Kitt and Jane came out of conversations about what it might be like for teens today as they step in to inherit a pulverized planet,” explains SNAFU co-artistic director Kathleen Greenfield. “It was a different world when we “– we being Greenfield and partner Ingrid Hansen – “were teens in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Global warming was a conspiracy theory and only hippies recycled. Now, there is clear evidence of the face that we are entering into a new age where we have to take responsibility for our over-consumption and its impact on the planet.”
It’s all part of SNAFU’s mandate to shed light on communities and individuals whose perspectives aren’t being heard, an edict they fulfill with imagination, charm and plenty of audience participation.
Don’t expect to go to one of their shows and have a passive experience. When you purchase a ticket to SNAFU, you sign up to play a vital cog in an ever-whirling wheel. Having said that, the company is fully aware of who’s in charge. “We don’t want to terrify our audiences with threats of improvisation or ‘on the spot’ dance numbers,” explains Greenfield. “We’ve developed a method that frames the whole audience as a character in the show, making participation a non-threatening but necessary action.”
And after Kitt and Jane – and their audiences – save the planet, what then?
“We recently did the first round of the creation of a new family-friendly show,” announces Hansen proudly. “Imagine 1970’s sci-fi meeting Dr. Seuss, to a soundtrack of classical music.”
Sounds like SNAFU Dance Theatre to me.