Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Poetry at the Enpuki-ji Zen Centre and a new theatre piece

I love going to readings at different kinds of spaces: former bath houses (St-Michel, where Infinitheatre  has their main space), strip clubs, drag bars, gardens outside, brunch places, even metro cars. The space itself informs the readings in very key ways and the audience relates to the readings in very different ways as well.

Before the reading: the Enpuki-ji Zen Centre
The other night I saw a reading at the Enpuki-ji Zen Centre in Montreal. The space is amazingly simple and very beautiful. And I've seen events here in the past though this was the first reading I've attended here.

The readings were by writers I know and whose work I know as well. Asa Boxer, Gabe Foreman, Darren Bifford. And a writer I didn't know: Talya Rubin. What a wonderful evening! Each poet read a mix of older published work along with work which they are still developing. What stands out for me is the simple uniqueness of each voice: Boxer is a confident, incredibly intelligent reader whose work needs to be seen to appreciated, where one can linger of his images and the juxtaposition of language he excels at. Despite his play with language, he's a physical poet in many ways, focusing on tangibles and the concrete. Foreman is funny, also intelligent, but with a view of the world that is uniquely his own (his collection from Coach House a couple of years ago, A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Kinds of People is one of my favorite most recent poetry collections). Bifford's work I am less familiar with though I've seen him read in the past (a great interview with him on his work here).

Talya Rubin's collection comes out in the spring from Signal Editions, Véhicule Press's poetry imprint. But more immediately, Rubin has a theatre piece about to take the stage at La Chapelle. The piece is called Of the Causes of Wonderful Things (see a trailer here). The show toured all over Australia and Rubin is bringing it to Montreal for the first time (the first time in North America, in fact).
The premise is this (from the Theatre La Chapelle site): when five children mysteriously disappear in a small town in the American South, their aunt begins a search to find them that leads her underground, literally. The work is an installation theatre piece for a limited audience of 50. Immersed in a noir atmospheric world, Of the Causes of Wonderful Things weaves dark comedy with tones of Faulkner and the Southern Gothic. This deeply human, visionary solo work examines the redemptive power of confronting darkness.

I love theatre and the last few years, it's become a major part of my exploration, both in terms of possible Festival events but also personally. So this piece is definitely a  must see for early November. It shows at La Chapelle from November 4 - 9, each performance limited to only 50 seats.

Yet again, Montreal shows its amazing innovation and variety of events and artists. I travel a lot and see artists (writers, dancers, performers) all over the world, and Montreal is up there with some of the best cities to see art. We should all be out taking advantage of it whenever we can!

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