Turning Point Ensemble's Imprint

Dates and Venue 17-20 June 2010 @ 8pm, & mat. 2pm 19 June| Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU Woodward’s, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Music, dance, opera and technology in Vancouver’s newest theatre in the heart of downtown! What a treat! Premieres by some of Canada’s top artists Rudolf Komorous, Linda Catlin Smith, soprano Phoebe MacRae, Penelope Stella, Owen Underhill, and Henry Daniel made this event quite memorable.

I'm not too much into modern dance and music, but for some reason, I liked this show. There was something not too annoying about this contemporary mise-en-scene of opera, "new age" music, dance and the use of space.

I congraulated chreographer Henry Daniel afterwards for not only the choreography of Imprint, but the use of space. He had musicians playing in the balcony, dancers coming from diffeent dimensions, using Alan Storey's wood and glass cublicles--all properly handled with the discipline of dance the way it should be. He also said that two of his dancers were his students, but the others were professionals.

The first part of the programme was Rudolf Kumorous' "Minx", a recent composition, played by the Turning Point Ensemble and conducted by Owen Underhill. It was a short 10 minute composition. The next progamme which I found a bit long was a 25-minute composition by Linda Catlin Smith, taking the text of Elizabeth Browning and soprano Phoebe MacRae singing and acting out her angsts as she composes her sonnets.

The second part, the dance portion, (Imprint II) is a sequel of Imprint I, which premiered at the UBC Museum of Anthropology. As dancers danced in and around their cubicles, Composer Underhill used Kwak'wala narrations with voices speaking in Romanian, Cantonese, Farsi, Mandarin and German through an octophonic surround-sound system. The music parallels his 1994 opera, The Star Catalogues, inspired by Johannes Kepler, analyzing the universe in harmonic structures. He uses nine-note chords, a typical Keplerian construct.

This was an eventful evening and it was interesting to see the new theatre at SFU Woodward's. It's almost like the TELUS Chan Studio, but apparently bigger -- the kind of theatre you could stage anything on, from Shakespeare to flying acrobats.

© 2010 Ed Farolan