Created and Directed by Samuel Tétreault

Choreographers: Marie Chouinard, Victor Quijada, and Marcos Morau 

Bluma Appel Theatre, Toronto

November 15-November 19 2017


Reviewed by Ted Fox


Triptyque is a presentation of The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts), a prominent circus company in Quebec. For this show, company Co-Founder/Artistic Director Samuel Teheault intergrates dance with circus by inviting choreographers Marie Chouinard, Victor Quijada and Marcos Morau to create work with Doigts performers.

In Anne & Samuel, choreographer Marie Chouinard follows up on her 2005 production of Body Remix/Goldberg Variations, in which she experimented with gravity, using medical crutches to restrict dancers' movement. These appendages elongated arms and legs, transforming her dancers into alien-like creatures.

Chouinard features two circus performers in a duet, that begins with Anne first appearing hanging strapped like a slab of meat from a bar hanging between two ropes. He takes her down, attaches crutches to her, and then interacts with her. The crutches imprison their bodies, creating an inhuman barrier between them. In the end, he removes material from his face that gave him a satyr-like look, and later they liberate themselves from the crutches, after turning round and round on their bodies as they copulate together.

Choreographer Victor Quijada is co-founder of the breakdance company RUBBERBANDance. In Variations 9.81, his performers are eight hand balancers who, face down, grip wooden pommels atop movable poles. They skillfully move them from hole to hole which are scattered across the stage. The performers move the stands seamlessly as they switch poles or double up on them. Their legs, whether straight up or at an angle, act as if detached from their bodies ,undulating like insect antennas or like the fronds of underwater flora moving with the currents.

Choreographer Marcos Marau begins his piece Nocturnes with a woman lying in bed asleep, then abruptly awakening. She is clothed in white as are the white uniformed figures who appear suddenly from under her bed and encircle her. The realization comes that she is in a hospital. Or hallucinating at home in her own bed? Is she mad? Reacting to her medications or off them? The bed sheets and pillows are white, too. Very cold and clinical. She encounters a variety of creatures. Among them-- a unicyclist, a crystal ball juggler, a few jogging as if suspended in air, and fish creatures dancing in a chorus line.

Snowfakes fall. The bed becomes somewhat like a magic carpet floating upward and hanging suspended. At another point it is lifted up and facing us so we look down at it, in a nightmarish segment where hands come out of the mattress and grope and molest her. She reacts by twisting and turning.

The overall effect of this is like watching an animated film, like those Betty Boop cartoons featuring shape changing characters that turn into a variety of creatures. The lighting and visual designs are quite cinematic. The hyper frenetic movement increases in intensity as we watch.

Triptyque is fascinating, visually striking and expertly performed.