Julian Richings in I SEND YOU THIS CADMIUM RED. Photo by John Lauener.
I SEND YOU THIS CADMIUM RED is an ambitious, unique performance by Art of Time Ensemble in association with Canadian Stage.
Unfortunately it was so inaccessible I didn't care about any of it.
I consider myself a pretty ideal audience member. I sit in my seat and am a blank slate. I have no judgement (ok, very little judgement) and I want to love what I'm about to see so I can support the thesis of this blog. Soooooo, it takes me some time to admit my negative feelings about a performance...and in both pieces in this show, I was bored silly by the end and extremely frustrated that I was.
The initial piece is a 20 minute pas-de-deux with choreography by the fabulous James Kudelka - I looked at my watch after 10 minutes. The second piece is a dramatization of the correspondance between artist John Berger and filmmaker John Christie, feauturing the talents of Julian Richings and John Fitzgerald Jay - I looked at my watch after 15 minutes and every 5-7 minutes thereafter. The performers, including the small orchestra on stage, were amazing; really very talented. But ultimately I didn't understand why Andrew Burashko (Artistic Director of Art of Time Ensemble) thought it important enough to do these pieces now. He came out at the beginning of the performance to give a verbal description of the show and explain his passion for them, but I was still left wanting. I took away from his explaination that he was compelled to do these pieces because he personally felt very passionate about them, but I still felt like I was at the whim of his theatrical indulgences and that his production was more about pleasing his own artistic and aesthetic vision, than about providing an evening of engaging theatre for an audience. Being an Artistic Director of a company allows you, to a certain degree, to create art at your whim because you are the authority who deems it worthy, and no, you can't please everyone. But I really felt like he didn't care about his audience enjoying the show and so I felt totally omitted from his vision. Thank God for the colourful and pretty projections in the second performance. I could zen out and meditate while watching them (and I did.)
I respect Art of Time Ensemble's mandate and their ambition. I do. I think they're attempting to cross boundaries and create innovative theatre. I hope that they succeed but don't alienate a mainstream audience in the process. Theatre's a tough business to be in and if you alienate a portion of the already too-small community of theatre goers, there isn't much business left to be had.
I SEND YOU THIS CADMIUM RED is on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley St. ) from now until Oct. 22. For tix visit canadianstage.com