Thursday, May 16, 2013

Safe/Guard & Feast

I was invited into The Greenhouse Basement on Monday for a chat with Robert Leveroos – the creator & performer – of Safe/Guard & Feast where I had the fortunate opportunity to experience some of the work in the beginning stages of rehearsing and setting up for their first audience next week.

Specifically requesting to perform the pieces in The Greenhouse Basement rather than the Culture Lab or Historic theatre at The Cultch, Safe/Guard & Feast are perhaps not what you would describe as typical theatre performances. These pieces are a blend of visual storytelling, dance, physical theatre and clowning. There is no script and no speaking. The performers convey the stories and ideas through movement and/or manipulation of everyday household objects.

Feast is a playful battleground about what can happen when families sits down to dinner together and let their imaginations run wild. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they play and sometimes both happen simultaneously. Leveroos and his collaborator, Mirae Rosner, perform a delicate dance that explores the literal and metaphorical balancing act between fighting and playing. Rosner, a local dancer who is also currently working with the Karen Jamieson dance project CONNECT, says that “maybe for a dancer it would seem like theatre but for a theatre person it would seem like dance”.

Safe/Guard on the other hand while still playful in its exploration has a much darker feel. Based on inspiration from Timothy Findlay’s novel Not Wanted on the Voyage - a retelling of the Great Flood from the Book of Genesis – the piece explores the theme of creation vs destruction. Leveroos has taken old umbrella wires and rubber gloves – to name a few - to create for the audience a ritualistic sense of the elements. Equally important to the piece is his collaboration with the lighting and sound designers, Kyla Gardiner and Elliot Vaughan, which are integral components to the creation of the piece. I won’t give all the tricks and secrets away but let’s just say light is used to create objects, and single objects are used to create a much larger apparatus that at one point spins. Sounds are created from objects themselves and then played as part of the soundscape of the performance. Leveroos, a graduate of The National Theatre School, describes himself as being a “visual artist as much as a theatre artist” has built many of the props used in the performance himself.

How you try to define Safe/Guard or Feast probably depends on what your personal context is when you come to the piece. Do you come from a dance background, or a visual arts background, or a theatre background?! Whatever your background is there is something for everyone. Just let yourself be swept up in the fascinating and surprising moments of physical & visual poetry.

Safe/Guard & Feast are part of the Revolver Festival taking place at The Cultch right now until May 26. Performances of specifically Safe/Guard & Feast run May 21-26 at various times. Check the website for times and to buy tickets:

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

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