Directed by Leelee Oluwatoyosi Eco Davis
Produced and directed by Leelee Oluwatoyosi Eco Davis, “refracting giants” is an extraordinary performance made up of ten vignettes that are interpretive, experimental exercises in sound and dance performance.
The audience is first introduced to the five cast members during a casual pre-show where they mingle about stage in various states of play. The opening scene features Merlin Simard who moves about the stage with a VR set strapped over her head while the colourful graphics she paints are projected onto a large screen behind her. From this point the performances bring us on a journey covering everything from unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning to eating ass, all tied together by stunning lighting by designer Emerson Kafarowski.
The show’s semi-autobiographical text comes directly from the artists themselves and grew out of a Toronto Dance Theatre residency that lasted two years, giving birth to this conceptually impressive work. Outstanding moments include “Orange You Glad” by Jordan Campbell who skillfully deconstructs the act of playing the piano while the rest of the cast gather round decked in sequins, and brawk hessel’s extraordinary robot/alien costume and monologue.
Anna Malla’s dance in “Time” is mesmerizing and beautifully crafted, while isi bhakhomen weaves together two works about their childhood, both involving stories centred around their childhood misunderstandings surrounding Santa, gift-giving and a grandfather named Jesus. A feast for the eyes, “refracting giants” is a conceptually bold, gritty and glittery romp through the hearts and minds of some incredibly gifted artists.
Toronto Dance Theatre
Until October 7, 2023