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By Paris Spence-Lang VANCOUVER – VIFF is one of those perennial events that seems to get better every year. “It’s…

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‘Practices Of Everyday Life | Cooking’ isn’t your average dinnertime ritual

Thursday 16th, February 2017 / 10:28
By Maddy Cristall

Photo: Navid Navab

VANCOUVER — Practices of Everyday Life | Cooking is a rare, unique, and powerful interactive and multimedia performance that challenges our perception of everyday objects. Montreal-based Navid Navab is the artistic director, composer, and creator of this stirring idea.

Navab has an extensive history in composing music, visual art, and digital media, composing eclectic music in his early stages of adulthood. He was born in Iran, moved to Guelph, Ontario at a young age, and now resides in Montreal. The concept for Practices of Everyday Life | Cooking has been evolving over the past few years and is perpetually being finely tuned. Chef Tony Chong is the sole stage performer for this production. Chong uses food ingredients and utensils on stage, but handles them in a completely different manner than expected. For example, Chong uses a whisk slowly and passionately while contorting his arms in a modern dance-esque manner — his body tells us a story that is completely open for interpretation while he prepares delicious food that both smells and looks amazing. Nevab describes the scent emulating from the stage as “seductive and aromatic.” This is strangely disorienting yet completely beautiful to watch. This performance is accentuated by stunning visuals in sync with his action and haunting, visceral music.

Navab wants to “Stir the senses and change the way we conceptualize everyday objects.”  There is something extraordinary about bluntly confronting the monotony of everyday life. “This performance gives us the opportunity to give everyday tools a different meaning,” he says. “We get to detach things from being just utilitarian.” This concept could easily come off as sloppy and vague if it weren’t fronted by and in sync with such refined talent. The other two members of this production are Jerome Delapierre and Michael Montanaro — Delapierre conducts real time video responsive to Chef Chong’s actions and Montanaro provides the mise en scène, adding depth with beautiful and intuitive visuals.

Chong offers the audience the prepared food after the performance. With a tangible reward that invites the viewer into a world that otherwise seems surreal, Practices of Everyday Life | Cooking aims to experiment with perception. And isn’t that what theatre is all about?

Practices of Everyday Life | Cooking runs at the Western Front from February 23 – 24.

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