Festival TransAmériques entertains in unexpected new ways in its 8th edition, May 22 to June 7. With 30 performances by Canadian and international dancers, choreographers, actors and directors, this year’s FTA stands out once more as a reflection of the wider world of innovative, avant-garde art…
(art for all) In the spirit of publicly questioning the status-quo, Festival TransAmériques holds free interactive performances along with must-see theatrical and dance shows well worth their ticket prices. The FTA opens a public swimming pool in the Quartier des Spectacles, yet rather than water, it’s filled with 25,000 balls inscribed with quotes from Stoic philosophers. Called Les Thermes (Socrates at the Spa), the installation opens at noon every day May 22-27 and encourages strangers to converse on the issues raised on each ball. While Le NoShow challenges artistic and cultural taboos by pitching tents outdoors in the Place des Arts esplanade, creating a real-time work of theatre determined by public text messages.
(dance moves) Montreal Dance Prize award winner Benoît Lachambre greets the festival with Snakeskins, a work involving feathered serpents, latex-wearing heros and long cables stretched across the stage. Lisbon-based Marlene Monteiro Freitas returns to the festival with her subversive and surreal Paraíso – Colecção Privada, playing a Machiavellian goddess in a torero costume. American dancer-choreographer Meg Stuart rummages through the iconic art and music of Western civilization in Built to Last. Festival favourite, Toronto’s Ame Henderson, returns with Room With Sticks, her newest poetic and experimental work on presence and performance, created with composer Charles Quevillon and choreographer Tedd Robinson. Choreographer Paul-André Fortier unpacks the good and the bad of love in comedy-drama Misfit Blues, all under the gaze of coyotes created by the Amerindian artist Edward Poitras. And acclaimed Brazilian artist Marcelo Evelin startles with De Repente Fica Tudo Preto De Gente (Suddenly Everywhere Is Black With People), populated by five naked bodies smeared in a black substance.
(theatrical flare) Actors sensually stride down a gender-bending fashion catwalk in NYC-based Trajal Harrell’s Antigone Sr., a inventively queered, pop-culture version of Sophocles’s Greek tragedy of rebellion. French contemporary literature fans look forward to Les Particules Élémentaires (Particles Seeking Partners), an adaption by French director Julien Gosselin of writer Michel Houellebecq’s introspective novel The Elementary Particles. Spanish writer and director Angélica Liddell arrives in Montreal with All The Sky Above the Earth (Wendy’s Syndrome), a story of solitude, Peter Pan and the imagination. Genre-crossing French artist Nicolas Cantin suspends time to closely examine how life is lived these days in Klumzy, a dialogue-free work that merges the fantastical and the real. Balkan artist Matija Ferlin presents two English-language shows in his poetic yet explosive Sad Sam series. Beirut-born artist Lina Saneh and Rabih Mroué presents two multimedia shows, 33 Tours et Quelques Secondes, created with Lina Saneh about the Arab Spring, and The Pixelated Revolution, based in Syria during street protests and clashes with the authorities in 2011, when demonstrators used cameras and cell phones to record the violence they witnessed. And more politics is on the agenda in Hate Radio, Swiss director Milo Rau’s visceral glimpse of Rwandan genocide via a telling 1994 radio-show broadcast.
(parties & more) The festival celebrates performance off stage as well, hosting parties, discussions on the performing arts, and informal performances at the Quartier Général Du Festival at 175 Président-Kennedy Avenue, near the 21 Swings interactive art installation. Opening night celebrations on May 22, merge into an evening of karaoke and YouTube videos on May 24 and a May 28 flashback to the festival’s first year in 1985, while on June 5 at 10:30pm, Wants&Needs Dance presents their popular event Short & Sweet, a showcase of three-minute dance performances – this year, more than 20 artists perform contemporary “covers” of other artists’ work. Festival TransAmériques closes on June 7 with an informal tribute to influential outgoing FTA artistic director Marie-Hélène Falcon. Adding even more shows to the scene, the OFFTA festival of living arts introduces emerging artists in affordably-priced shows at small venues city-wide – many of them sure to show up on FTA main stages in years to come.
Festival TransAmériques 2014, May 22 to June 7, 2014
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