By Max Maxwell
February 27 – March 7, 2015
CALGARY — What do you get when you cross Nietzsche with Lana Del Rey? Horrifying mental images of a german philosopher in a cocktail dress aside, you get the debut of Theatre Junction’s newest hit production on the rise, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. Courtesy of Theatre Junction’s artist direction, Mark “Cat Brain” Lawes and the same fine and friendly folks that brought us 2013’s Sometime Between Now and When the Sun Goes Supernova, Nowhere is the long awaited follow-up that picks up on the same dusty trail that it left us at the conclusion of their last production, resuming a long and twisted narrative about the American Dream gone wrong.
While the last production was chiefly based on Marshall McLuhan’s epic tome on media and culture, Medium is the Message, Nowhere has a familiar tone, though different source materials for inspiration. Drawing on Lana Del Rey’s innate ability to find beauty and feeling at the bottom of the bin of pop culture remnants, as well as Nietzsche nihilistic superpowers, Nowhere quickly opens in an apocalyptic desert wasteland. The narrative suggests the weight of the western world had somehow crumbled, leaving behind it a carnage of plastic shards of a once great civilization and the broken dreams and people that have been left in the wake of the tidal wave of its demise.
Standing naked and dimly lit, we find three such survivors trying to piece together their identities and make sense of everything that had brought them to this point. Through a series of manic and dreamlike vignettes, we are shown the stories of these three trying to make sense of themselves and their new world. Interpretive modern dance, projections, and music all lend a hand in helping draw out the emotions of the audience as they explore the oh-so relatable ideas of isolationist culture fighting against in-born human animalistic instinct.
Returning from the previous production, we find a familiar cast of characters to lead us along the twisted narrative, including co-writer and dramaturge Raphaele Thiriet, the charming and handsome Luc Bouchard-Boissonault, the always bouncy and vibrant Melina Stinson, as well as the addition of troubadour in the wings, Arran Fisher as the musical accompaniment for the evening. Overlaid by haunting footage, courtesy of filmmaker Kyle Thomas, the production leaves you with the feeling of being in a twisted and frightening dream world where all of our existential nightmares have come to life.
If you’re bummed about missing out on what could easily be called the highlight of the theatre season in Calgary and the headline of Theatre Junction’s killer line-up this year, all hope is not lost. If you happen to find yourself in Montreal, the production will also be showing at the Théâtre Aux Écuries in November and will hopefully be shown for another run in Calgary, as the last production was to help out those folks that missed it the first time around.AB, Alberta, Calgary theatre, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, live theatre review, Theatre Junction GRAND