Vogt C shapes up

The final installment of this year’s Vogt theatre series brings together four plays that only have a stage in common

Pulse is dominated by dance sequences, despite the actors not all having dance backgrounds.
Pulse is dominated by dance sequences, despite the actors not all having dance backgrounds.

It’s the circle of Vogt, and it moves us all.

As soon as audiences walk through the doors to the theatre they’ll know why the third and final instalment of this year’s Vogt studio series is titled Vogt comes full Circle. Vogt C takes on the challenge of performing in the round — the actors are surrounded by their audience on all sides.

“It’s really pushing the bounds of what Vogt is used to doing,” publicity producer Rebecca Flynn said. “The shows don’t have a cohesive theme; the only thing that links them all is the shape of the stage.”

The challenge is met successfully as all four shows cater to every corner of the performance space, with no part of the audience feeling left behind.

One thing to note about this showcase is that it’s full of fresh blood across the board, from actors to directors to designers. Rookie lighting designer Joel Marcus praises this effort.

“The great thing about Vogt is that it really embraces first-time designers, first-time directors,” he said. “You feel really comfortable and confident, and it shows in the work.”

The night starts with the absurdist piece Do Not Pass Go, directed by Kelsey Jacobson and Adeline Van Galen. The play follows a slew of historical figures ranging from Hitler to Edgar Allen Poe, all grappling over a box and whether or not to open it.

While the cast’s performance is strong, the show itself can be confusing to follow, particularly for those who aren’t familiar with absurdist theatre. Regardless, the ensemble is bonded enough to keep spectators, albeit confused, entertained throughout.

The first movement piece of the evening, Pulse, is co-directed by Olivia Groleau and Mitch Munro and explores evolution.

“We decided right from the beginning that we weren’t looking for dancers, necessarily,” Groleau said. “A couple of our actors have dance experience but most don’t.

“I primarily come from a dance and choreography background rather than acting so it was something that I really wanted to bring to Vogt.” Between the phenomenal choreography and the impressive makeup concept, audiences should expect to be entering intermission with a dropped jaw.

The Fifth Wall, directed by first-timers Daniel Gold and Tom Yeates, is stylistically the most light-hearted of the evening and includes elements of improv and audience involvement. Gold, who wrote the piece, embraces the spontaneity.

“This is a play written and directed by non-drama folks, for non-drama folks — for those folks who pay four bucks to do their friends a favour,” Yeates said.

Audience members willing to embrace the lack of structure and awkward humour are in for a unique treat. Last but most definitely not least is Vivre à Danser, the second movement piece of the night, devised and choreographed by Isabelle Siciliano and Simone Smith. Personal and seductive, the cast shines as a narrative is told entirely through dance of all types, from the tango to the waltz.

“It’s based on the story of my grandmother,” Siciliano said. “No matter who you are, you will be able to relate to this story. It’s really a story about family.” From the first note to the last, audiences should expect to be magnetically drawn to the passion and heartache of protagonist, only referred to as Girl, embodied by Sue Del-Mei.

Fans of Rent and Chicago will be delighted by a tango number that stands out not only in Vivre but the showcase as a whole.

Vogt comes full Circle plays until Saturday with shows at 6 and 8:30 p.m in Vogt Studios.

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