A quick shout-out to the program of SFU Contemporary Arts student directing projects on now through December 1st at Studio T, SFU Woodward's. Grouped under the collective title 10 Lies and a Truth, these 11 short works showcase the talents of the next generation of Vancouver theatre artists, giving senior students in the Theatre Program a chance to helm their own production.
Last night's pairing of one-acts featured two absurdist works of political theatre from the 1960s. The first was Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek's Striptease, about two similarly attired men trapped in a room, and forced to answer to a giant prosthetic hand. Director Sarah Bernstein handles the mix of humour and critique within Mrozek's irony with a sure touch, balancing physical whimsy with respect for the rhythms--linguistic and ideological--of the characters' speechifying. And lead performers Robert Andow and Marc Castellini have great chemistry.
Next up was Chilean playwright Jorge Diaz's Love Yourself Above All Others, a biting satire about class-consciousness whose central conceit is that the aristocrats--Carmine Santavenere as The Gentleman and Sharon Ramirez as The Lady--ride their servants--Kiki Al Rahmani as Placida and Wesley Rogers as Epifanio--like animals, all the while spouting rhetorically empty maxims about revolution and democracy. Layering on the Latin American stereotypes and iconography with wildly inventive theatricality, director Manuela Sosa creates a hot-house dance-musical (complete with breakout salsa steps and a climactic hip hop number) that doesn't let its knowing smirk get in the way of a clear-eyed presentation of some big ideas. Not the least of which are the representational and material inequities that continue to beset the relationship between the "West" and the "Global South." All the performers throw themselves into their parts with absolute abandon, and the entire piece is as visually and physically stunning as it is intellectually stimulating.
The Directing Projects continue tonight and tomorrow night at 8 pm, with offerings from Conor Wylie, Janelle Reid, and Sean Marshall, Jr.