Exterminating Angel

Exterminating Angel
Choreographer: Alysa Pires
Dancers: Dora Nominee Ryan Lee, Kelly Shaw, Colleen Snell, James-Thomas Papandreos, Andrea Gregorio, Damian Norman, Matthew Vautour, Sierra Chin Sawdy, and Michaela Reichenbach 
Toronto Fringe Dance Review  
June 29-July 10 2016

Choregrapher Alysa Pires' dance theatre show Exterminating Angel was inspired by Luis Bunuel's surrealist film released in 1962.
Well-heeled guests attend a formal dinner party. Initially they are decked out in formal wear. Their manners, body dress, and body language indicate their status. The dancers' hands mime drinking and smoking so well we can almost see the actual glasses and cigarettes.
Gradually their genteel facades crumble, and barbaric behaviour takes over and just gets worse and worse. They cannot control their constant eruptions into maniacal laughter.
One male guest appears to die. His female companion sobs hysterically. A male guest makes creepy moves on a female guest. She slaps him. A very violent strikingly choreographed fight scene ensues, so realistically that a woman near me winced. 
A darkness surrounds them threatening to take over. It's like being in a tension-filled twilight zone where events occur for no rational reason. The guests, for example, perhaps psychologically, are unable to leave. 
The lighting design creates a cinematic look by zeroing in on some of the guests, brightly exposing them before all. It brings out interesting textures of light on the dancers as they move through physically intense movements. All is made more intense by the soundscape by Adam Sakiyama.
The ending has the look of being in the aftermath of a war.
This work is abstract, tightly directed and choreographed, visually cinematic and beautifully danced. Anyone seeing it will interpret it differently than me. All will connect with it, putting it in the context of the turmoil in today's world.