The standout: choreographer and Action at a Distance artistic director Vanessa Goodman dancing in a square of light, in cloud-like billowing clothes, the square of light on its side like a diamond. Suspended overhead: cloud-like shapes. On the screen behind her: a projection of a bird's-eye view of topographical features (rivers, trees, valleys). The projection sometimes made the cloud-like shapes look like whirring planets. The visuals for Floating Upstream were created by Loscil, a Vancouver multimedia artist who also composed the music. Described as an "exploration of having one’s head in the clouds where everything is simultaneously possible and impossible," the piece seemed to argue a physical relationship between humans, gesture, clouds, landscape, and interiority. The Vancouver dancer was the only person onstage during her twenty minutes, and she captivated the room.
Also unforgettable: Waxie Moon, following a funeral, sobbing in Victorian dress (designed by Mark Mitchell) while it rained and thundered, before the scene became a pornographic shadow play.
The unsettling one: Eight Abigails, by Kaitlin McCarthy, "a dance about a girl teetering on the edge of sanity," inspired by the teen villain from Arthur Miller's The Crucible. A guy stage left played trombone and percussion into a looping machine as the women danced in gray dresses with hoodies, got frightened en masse, laughed en masse, etc.
The one that made people walk out: Nikola Tesla Projekt's The Light, which for very confusing reasons involved someone in drop-crotch pants playing Prometheus, and Zeus saying things to Prometheus like "It's all good, bro!" Also, a very, very large cast. Granted, it was only two people who got up ten minutes into it and made their exit, but... they were not wrong.
Tonight is the last night to see these pieces, 8 pm, mainstage, On the Boards. Next weekend of the festival will be all new works.