Volcano Theatre premiered Century Song, as part of the second annual PROGRESS festival, taking place January-February 2016 at The Theatre Centre. Century Song is currently on stage at PROGRESS until January 23, 2016.
Century Song is a live performance hybrid created by luminous soprano Neema Bickersteth and Dora Award winning collaborators Ross Manson (direction) and Kate Alton (choreography). Inspired in part by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Alice Walker’s In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, Bickersteth seamlessly melds song and movement to inhabit a century of women whose identities are contained within her own. This unique show features music by some of the past 100 years’ most adventurous composers, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Olivier Messiaen, John Cage, Georges Aperghis and Toronto’s own Reza Jacobs.
Amidst rehearsals and the premiere, Bickersteth took a few minutes to answer a few questions. She shares some great details about the production; from its inception to its current incarnation. Take a listen.
Century Song looks at the past century in Canada from the perspective of a black Canadian woman – but it does so in an unusual way: the show is wordless. Composed entirely of classical songs on open vowels or nonsense words (vocalises) and projected animated artwork (developed by top German stage projection firm fettFilm), the show dismantles the usual approach to history (dates and names) and instead is a pure exploration of human emotion as expressed through art.
Through Bickersteth’s one-woman performance, we can gain an insight into the lives of some of the women who have been overlooked throughout history. Sharing the stage with Bickersteth are two of Toronto’s finest musical experimenters: pianist Gregory Oh, and percussionist and computer sound specialist Debashis Sinha.
Performances Continue from Thursday, Jan 21st to Saturday, Jan 23rd at 8.30pm (2pm Sat matinee). Tickets start at $20 Students/Senior/Artsworkers and$25 General Admission. For festival and box office information, visit thisisprogress.ca/tickets.