Archive for the ‘Alisha Stephen’ Category
written by Becka Viau
It was the middle of the night when Marie Fox first approached me about a possible collaboration with this town is small. A model lay still, chained to a bed. Painters painted the surreal scene surrounded by a captivated audience. Imaginations were buzzing and I could feel energy starting to spill out of people’s heads, through their mouths into inspirational and creative conversations. Swimming about the atmosphere I soon found myself shaking hands and locking eyes with the electric Ms. Fox, and so the story of Iris begins.
After a quick meeting with Marie, I began the search for possible collaborators. This can be a daunting task in a city packed full of creative minds, hands and spirits however, the lead creative team came together like a flash of lightening: Marie Fox, John Mackenzie, Jenn Richard-Coupland, Kelly Caseley and I. By the end of July a tentative list of all collaborators was written, the date was booked at the Alibi and notice of the event was sent to the Buzz. Time to start creating.
written by Allison Cooke
On Thursday, This Town Is Small presented an extremely unique artist collaboration. The Alibi Lounge was gracious enough to transform their space into another world, filled with dark lighting and woodland props. The audience mingled about in anticipation, each discussing the possibilities of the evening ahead of them. Even while two players in leather fox masks entered to simply set the scene, the audience found themselves captured, waiting patiently to see the creation take place. Curious bodies began to fill the room, all with the same plan. To let their imaginations run wild.
Following artist Marie Fox’s vision of the passage into change and wonder, 12 local artists donated their various talents and “Iris Mercurial : The Passage of Night” was born. Stunning costumes, unique set designs, poetry, theatre and video all joined hands to create this collaborative piece. Taking cue from Marie’s idea to create living, moving sculptures, the artistic team came together to engage the audience in an evening of wonder, beauty, and creation through the use of their bodies, imaginative minds and voices.
As an audience member, “Iris Mercurial : The Passage of Night” allowed me to feel as though I was entering a fantasy world. These 3 dimensional portraits that Marie Fox presented us with (plaster molds of the players faces) somehow gave me the desire to dream, to be transformed, to transcend my personal limitations, or become renewed in some way. The artist’s vision came to life before our eyes and showed us a compelling and enduring form of artistic expression.
The costumes, produced by both Marie Fox and Kelly Caseley, were incredibly striking and detailed. When Iris first emerges onto the stage she stands very still with only slight, graceful movements. We the audience are then able to quietly absorb this beautiful living sculpture. The use of fabrics, paints, nature, and of course the plaster masks themselves, allowed the players to be transformed into dream like creatures, both elegant and dark.
The sets, mostly made up of nature from PEI’s woodlands, pulled the audience directly into Iris’s world. But the piece that seemed to transform the entire room was the unique and compelling video work of Mille Clarkes. Its dark imagery set just behind the crowd seemed to give the entire room life, which allowed the audience to be placed in the middle of the performance, feeling as though they too were assisting in developing the artist’s vision.
The writing, collaborated between Overman, John Mackenzie and Kimberly McIntyre was both poetic and moving, dark and gripping. This was an important piece of the puzzle, along with the drastic distinction between John’s haunting narrative and Kimberly’s soft, delicate tone as it gave the players life, motive and movement.
Marie’s ability to cast the roles of the various players was perfect. Iris was portrayed Trish Goguen and Alisha Stephen, who carried themselves both delicately and elegantly. They were greatly contrasted by Andrew Hercules, whose tall and dark figure portraying the trickster was able to engage and entice the audience by furtively and slyly moving throughout it.
The aim of This Town is Small is to encourage collaborations between all art forms while creating public awareness and understanding of contemporary art. This performance did just that. While the artists gave their time and talents to the piece, we the audience were lucky enough to feel as though we were a part of it all. This performance reminded us to reignite our imaginations, and for that, all of the creative and talented artists involved in this production should be incredibly proud of the beautiful work they allowed us all to share.