Are you visiting Toronto for the Pan Am/Parapan Am 2015 Games? Or are you a long time resident looking for a fun night out among all the festivities? Well how about you check out PANAMANIA? All throughout the Pan Am games the arts culture of Toronto is alive with music, theatre, dance, art, fashion and even a circus! One of the many fantastic shows to come out of PANAMANIA is LEO. LEO is a piece of physical theatre and dance, from Y2D Productions and Théâtre français de Toronto. Performed by Tobias Wegner, and directed by Daniel Brière, this show takes the audience’s sense of reality and flips it on its head, or actually, its side.
This show is one of the most unique examples of physical theatre I’ve seen in a while. It makes use of live recording and onstage projection in conjunction with a sideways stage and really messes with the audience’s eyes. Instead of having a traditional, up-right set, designer Flavia Hevia and creative producer Gregg Parks decided it would be a fun idea to put the set on its side, and live project it onto a vertical screen right next to the live performance. This very, very cool effect allows the audience to choose between two different realities. On the right, they have their own reality where they can see Wegner moving on his sides and back, or they can look into LEO’s reality on the left, where Wegner is the master of physics, and nothing is impossible. Visually striking and engaging, this separation reality can’t help but wow the audience.
As for the performer himself, Wegner is captivating. It takes someone truly disciplined to be able to pull off those precise movements on a traditional stage, but the fact that he was able to pull off these acrobatics on a set that was sideways is something of its own class entirely. He kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the entire 65 minutes of the performance. There were moments of pure slapstick comedy that had the audience roaring with laughter, and there were moments of abstract dance. All in all, Wegner had the audience afraid to blink. We did not want to miss a single moment of his performance.
LEO is playing at the Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre until July 19. If you miss it, be sure to check back there next week for Théâtre français de Toronto’s Timber.