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Kidd Pivot / Crystal Pite

September 28, 2012

The Tempest Replica

Reviewed September 27, 2012

NAC Theatre, Ottawa

(Second performance Friday, September 28, 7:30 p.m. at the NAC Theatre)

If anyone could choreograph Shakespeare’s The Tempest for the dance stage, it would be Crystal Pite. A bold inventor, unafraid to play wildly with conventions, Pite has taken a tale of illusion, manipulation, magic, shipwreck, even romance and such alarming characters as a monster, a trapped spirit and an unworldly daughter and created a drama-dance that is anything but 17th century.

Season opener at the National Arts Centre and a Canadian premiere, Pite’s The Tempest Replica, two years in the making, rolls out on the stage as a creation to be reckoned with.

We are introduced to Prospero, the magician, before the performance begins as he sits stage front making paper boats.

The special effects of the storm, the clever lighting, the unique white-chalk costumes, the play of vocabulary on backdrop and even on characters’ clothing, the soundscape of howling wind, thunder, clang of swords and heightened whispering all hint of power and control, greed and revenge, love and desire.

While the set is simple, Pite uses billowing scrim, golden-washed silhouettes, and projected text to draw the audience through the story.

And while The Tempest is a complex story, Pite, nevertheless, has taken an innovative approach to its retelling. There are moments that are wanting, but overall the work is a masterpiece, the dancers’ perfection in the performance is riveting and the experience more than satisfying.

Pite is an award-winning Canadian choreographer with more than 20 years of experience under her belt. Her work can be dark and brilliant, reflective and haunting, but always a piece of art and always with just a tiny taste of humor. Choreographer she may be, but she never stops at movement. The drama that whirls in her brain hits the stage running, spirits her dancers to perform at their peak and leaves her audience with no doubt about her rare talent.

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From → Contemporary

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