Putting the pieces together

U of W’s Devised Theatre class prepares their experimental collaborative experience Fragments of Whispers and Secrets and

The University of Winnipeg’s fourth-year Devised Theatre class rehearses for its upcoming performance. Cindy Titus

The University of Winnipeg’s fourth-year Devised Theatre class is promising theatre-goers a unique experience with its latest production.

Fragments of Whispers and Secrets, their collective creation, was born out of a variety of influences.

Devised is a form of theatre where the show is created and sculpted by a body of collaborators, and never quite set in stone.

In this case, Kaitlin Aiello, Joshua Balzer, Rachelle Bauer, Tatiana Carnevale, Katherine Dow, Gabriel Hurley, Rachel Smith and Jordan Yvon-Moreau serve as both the creators and performers. Carol Borody, their professor, will be taking her seat in the director’s chair as the show begins Tuesday, March 16.

“It’s very ‘Brecht’ in certain elements. The setting is very industrial, but playable,” Borody explained.

The hard-working members of this Honours course may not necessarily be the envy of their fellow students, as they have been rehearsing four hours a day, five days a week, all on top of their regular schoolwork. But it’s more about the experience that comes with the show, not the marks.

“It’s a full-time job unto itself,” said student Joshua Balzer.

The group of eight is infectiously enthusiastic about their work, which makes the extra time spent less of a chore.

Fragments hopes to take the audience beyond the traditional sphere of theatre by incorporating many different mediums, including movement, text and visual projections. On top of this, the performers will never leave the stage and never fall out of character. Everything is completed before the audience’s eyes, involving the audience that much more.

The show’s name is fitting. In the end, Fragments will be made up of just that, pieces of stories that focus on themes that can affect anyone at anytime. War, isolation, mental illness and loss are just a few of the recurring themes that act as the connecting line between the different selections.

The intention of the show, and the class, is to emphasize the importance of experiencing devised theatre as a medium. The experience is intended not only to change the way one thinks, but also the way one feels towards theatre.

Fragments of Whispers and Secrets will be running from Tuesday, March 16 to Saturday, March 20 at the Canwest Theatre Centre. The show is entirely free of charge, making it a risk-free bit of experimental theatre.

All they ask is that you come with an open mind.

For ticket reservations to call 786-9152.

Published in Volume 64, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 11, 2010)

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