Ryan G. Hinds’ MacArthur Park Suite opens with an honest question: "What does it truly mean to feel love?"
As the cast assembles in a rhetorical conversation with the audience, we hear personal stories of love, loss and the perpetual longings that follow.
Nicole Rose Bond opens with an engaging and thoughtful introduction that was sadly not upheld by the rest of the ensemble, minus Ryan G. Hinds, prior to the ballet ensuing. The questions were there, the format was excellent, but the expression lacked understanding. I heard words where I wanted to feel emotion.
Cue the Donna Summer remix and the emotion begins to spill. In what appeared to be the first act, each performer channeled these questions through solo performances. Their movement and expression, most notably that of Raya Facey, was excellent in conveying their personal frustrations, anxiety and confusion.
The second part of the performance opened with the keenly awaited Summer hit, "MacArthur Park." Channeling the 1970s, the ensemble advances the stage through immersive hits that explore and reflect both culture and substance. Hinds’ appearance on stage was continually entertaining and reflective of his role in the creation as a whole. The flow and choreography of the piece worked well, leaving me longing for an "I (heart) Donna" tank.
While I keep this show on my picks, the connection between the first and second parts weren't quite clear. This production brought me many smiles, and yet I remain perplexed in the translation from exploration to party. But, whatever - life's a party. Who doesn't love Donna Summer?
MacArthur Park Suite: A Disco Ballet runs until Aug. 12 on Factory Theatre's Mainstage. Visit www.summerworks.ca for tickets and more information.