What do you get when you mix dance, poetry, projected images and interactive improvised performance? Well, you get Fujiwara Dance Invention’s latest piece Eunoia, playing at the Harbourfront Centre. Eunoia is the Greek word for well mind or beautiful thinking, and this title could not be more appropriate. Beautiful thinking turns into beautiful images with this incredible adaptation of the poem of the same name, written by Christian Bök. This poem is broken into five separate chapters, each of which represent one of the five vowels (sorry Y, you’re not a real vowel). Each chapter is written under the constraint that only the single vowel can appear in said chapter. While this may seem problematic to you or I, Bök succeeded in creating five well woven and incredibly coherent stories.
Major kudos goes out to the performers and choreographer Denise Fujiwara. Not only did the dancers have to learn the rigorous choreography, but they also underwent vocal training, and it really paid off. The performers hold on to the audience with a hypnotizing charm. However, what they say isn’t the only thing to be impressed by. Fujiwara decided to integrate Bök’s literary constraint into the movement of the piece. This means that for each chapter, the performers can only initiate movement from parts of their bodies which are spelled using that specific vowel. For example, in Chapter E, performers can only move from their neck, spleen, temple and knees.
The kudos doesn’t stop there. Let’s talk about the other elements, primarily the use of costuming by costume designer Andjelija Djuric. Each performer undergoes five costume changes from chapter to chapter. Not only does each costume accentuate the story that is being told in the chapter, but each follows a very specific colour scheme, as well. Chapter A is black, E is white, I is red, O is blue and U is green. Created deliberately to evoke specific emotions during the chapters, the result is outstanding.
The lighting design by Roelof Peter Snippe and the video design by Justin Stephenson work harmoniously together to create beautiful images. Snippe manages to keep the focus to where it is required, and keeps the audience attentive with his ever-changing lighting. Stephenson, under the constraint of only being able to animate letters and words, knows when to keep his images in the background and when they should be front and center. This provides balance for the entire piece.
In short, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS! At a one hour run-time you will not regret viewing this engaging performance. Make the trip down to the Harbourfront Centre and treat yourself. It is a beautifully designed and executed piece. It’s witty, charming and an overall great time.
Eunoia is playing at the Harbourfront Centre until March 22nd. For tickets and more information visit http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage/eunoia/.
Photo credit: Jeremy Mimnagh