If all the world’s a stage, then the 6th edition of Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques is a scale model of the world, or at least the stage-based world of cutting-edge theatre, dance and performance art. The FTA is an international showcase for contemporary performance that comments – through drama, humour, shock and pure celebration – on the state of humanity, with multi-lingual events taking place at arts and cultural venues around town, May 24 to June 9…
The festival opens with free event/installation X-Fois Gens Chaise (May 24-27) from Cologne-based duo Angie Hiesl and Roland Kaiser, who transform the ordinary into the extraordinary by affixing white chairs to the sides of buildings 20 feet above the sidewalk on St-Denis Street in the Latin Quartier (between Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve) – on these chairs sit senior citizens, knitting, folding laundry, eating. Brazilian-Swiss choreographer Guilherme Botelho’s Sideways Rain (May 24-25 at Place des Arts) co-opens the festival with a similar stance on the sometimes strange joys of real life, with 14 passionate and energetic dancers.
Technology meets dance in Dana Gingras’ Heart as Arena (May 29-21, Agora de la danse), as 30 vintage radios broadcast on stage while dancers challenge the laws of physics. Mokhallad Rasem’s Iraqi Ghosts (May 25-27, Théâtre Prospero) is a high-action performance piece, replete with rock n’ roll, about the disasters of war in Iraq. Pacifism and a fighting spirit confront each other in Enrico Casagrande and Daniela Nicolò’s Too Late! (Antigone) Contest #2 (May 30-June 1, Espace Libre). And the legacy of Yugoslavia’s civil war comes to a head in Oliver Frljić’s Maudit Soit le Traître à sa Patrie! (May 31-June 2, Theatre Rouge).
The human body and personality identity are the inspiration for many FTA dance pieces, including Isabelle Van Grimde’s Le Corps en Question(s) (May 28-June 1, Galerie de l’ UQAM), Clara Furey and Benoît Lachambre’s Chutes Incandescentes (May 25-27, Agora de la Danse), multi-choreographer piece (M)imosa: Twenty Looks or Paris Is Burning at the Judson Church (May 25-26, Place des Arts), Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s Medieval-music-inspired En atendant (May 29-30, Usine C), and 14th-century-based dance and vocal performance Cesena (June 1-2, Place des Arts). Turkish choreographer Taoufiq Izeddiou shows his pioneering ways in Aaléef (June 4-6, Theatre Prospero). And amazing, often shocking artist Julie Andree T. Is back with Nature Morte (June 4-6, Espace Go).
English-language theatre takes several different stances at this year’s FTA. Seeds (June 7-9, Theatre Aujourd’hui) tells the David-and-Goliath story of a farmer who fights back against multinational Monsanto. Ann-Marie Kerr’s solo show The Debacle (May 29-31, Theatre Prospero) unveils a woman’s childhood memories and the resulting emotional chaos. And Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska stretch the bounds of theatre with Life and Times – Episode 1 (May 30-June 1, Place des Arts), a mash-up of theatre, reality TV, conversation and music.
Get in on the performance yourself at Dance with Me (May 15-June 7, Place des Arts, L’espace culturel Georges-Emile-Lapalme), a multimedia spectacle of YouTube videos, music and dancing. Drop by the FTA Headquarters to participate in discussions, meet artists and other festival-goers and, since this is Montreal, go to parties – it’s all free of charge (except for the bar, of course, but your ticket stub gets you a discount), throughout the festival at the Agora Hydro-Québec Du Cœur Des Sciences De L’uqam (175 Président-Kennedy). On May 28 at 10:30 p.m., check out one-of-a-kind Montreal event Wants & Needs Danse’s Short & Sweet showcase, a series of dance pieces that clock in at less than 2 minutes.
A series of performance-related films will also be shown at the Cinémathèque québécoise during the festival.
Festival TransAmeriques 2012, May 24-June 9, 2012