Now here is something special: a wordless chronicle of the ages. Co-created by soprano Neema Bickersteth, Volcano Theatre artistic director Ross Manson and choreographer Kate Alton, the show features a powerhouse performance by Bickersteth, a University of British Columbia-trained opera singer who has performed across Canada and Europe. The subject is nothing less than the 20th century writ large, and this work offers a truly original response to it. In this radical theatricalization of the recital form, Bickersteth uses her voice and body to move us through the decades. Against a backdrop of ever shifting visuals, she explores sonically the many identities that our history connects her to. The music ranges from Rachmaninoff to John Cage to a new commission by Canadian composer Reza Jacobs. All is surrounded by an animated environment created by fettFilm, one of Europe’s top projection design companies.
The show is inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens—writings that chronicle the evolution of female identity in innovative ways. Bickersteth’s voice does them credit with an astonishing range: from sweet lyric beauty to half song, half cry. She delivers a performance fit for a century of feeling: whimsical, powerful, riveting.
One of those companies that every great theatre city needs—bold, experimental and bubbling with ideas.