Volume 92, Issue 58

Tuesday, January 12, 1999



Falling in love with Shakespeare again

Blue Rodeo colours Stratford theatre

Dancing the Quentin Tarantino

Dancing the Quentin Tarantino

Photo by Maryse Carrier

By Matt Pearson
Gazette Staff

The torrents of love and death were brought to life Saturday night at The Grand Theatre's presentation of LOVE, DEATH, and other details.

Montreal Danse presented the two provocative vignettes exploring the realm of these complicated experiences as a part of The Grand's 1998/99 Dance Series.

The first segment "Love Letter to Tarantino," a comment on film maker Quentin Tarantino's (Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs) view of society, was delicately choreographed by Paula de Vasconcelos.

Instead of mirroring Tarantino's individual films, the piece sought to evoke similar interpretations and relied on the symbolism of handguns. It wove an alluring and dramatic tale of infatuation, loss and desire. Working in partners, the eight dancers executed each movement gracefully and in perfect sync.

On some occasions, music did not accompany the dancers. Instead, the house was filled with the sounds of chirping birds. These few moments added an ironic twist as complicated emotions were set against the innocence and simplicity of birds at play.

After a change in music and the addition of a backdrop, a dancer portraying a bride entered. Reciting a poem indecipherable to most of the audience, the bride's role was unexplained and created a high degree of confusion. Before the abrupt ending, the piece remained doused in mystery as the bride explored independence, sexuality and other relationships.

If this letter was addressed to Quentin Tarantino, it got lost in the mail. Although it had moments of pure elegance, the piece failed to bridge the gap between Tarantino's films and the stage presentation. The audience's only real clue of the piece's dedication to Tarantino was the title and the use of handguns to communicate power and control.

The second piece, "Enter:Last," was choreographed by Jose Navas. Much shorter in length, this piece far exceeded the former. Chronicling an 82-year-old woman's transition from life to death, the piece brilliantly portrayed the struggle between a soul full of life and a body which is slowly dying.

Loud, throbbing beats provided the soundtrack for the final moments of the woman's life before she left her body. Manon Levac, representing the woman, was draped in a poppy-red gown while the rest of the cast contrasted her in stark black mesh costumes.

Far more engrossing than "Love Letter to Tarantino," "Enter:Last" was equally sensual and cathartic. Levac's portrayal of the woman conveyed a concoction of fear and anxiety, but also of deep serenity and readiness for death that the final moments of life bring.

Although heavy in content, Montreal Danse's LOVE, DEATH, and other details offered a thought-provoking, insightful journey into these life-altering experiences. Both pieces were well choreographed and beautifully danced. However, "Love Letter to Tarantino" remained shrouded in confusion, in comparison with the sombre, evocative "Enter:Last."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999