Mainstage Event at SFU Contemporary Arts Opening

People waiting outside the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre for the Mainstage Event

The SFU Contemporary Arts Grand Opening (September 24-26th) is being celebrated with a number of events and performances. Earlier yesterday I saw the breathtaking Firebelly Aerialists, and later in the evening, I attended the Mainstage Event which was held in the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre. It was an hour long program featuring five shortened acts by SFU alumni and faculty. Here is a brief overview of the performances:

1. Luffness & Tsu Don/Adosatoni

Presented by Meringstone, composed by Micheal O’Neill & performed by Micheal O’Neill and Boyd Grealy. (There were four performers but these were the only names listed on the program)

The ensemble of bagpipes, flutes and taiko drums was pleasing. The innovation in this group lies in the unexpected paring of western and eastern instruments, the effect of which is to highlight to the audience the instrument they know least. Of these instruments, I am more familiar with flute and drum and so for me, the bagpipe is accentuated. I don’t know how someone more familiar with the bagpipe would interpret the flute and drum, but in the quick pipping notes of the bagpipe last night, I heard the sounds of the erhu (二胡) more popularly known as the “Chinese violin”. It is always a pleasure to be provoked to consider instruments anew. Bravo!

2. Highgate/Westgate

Choreographed & Performed by Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg.

This excerpt of a solo performance was billed as “a morbid romp through Victorian funerary culture”. It was spoken word and contemporary dance. I could not take my eyes off her. Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg was electric in facial expression, enunciation and gesticulation. I did not expect her to break out in dance because she was wearing what appeared to be a stiff 19th century dress but to later, to the delight of all, we found out that it was not! I’ll just leave it at that. Remember her name and go see her when you get a chance.

3. Clark & I Somewhere in Connecticut

Presented by Theatre Replacement and performed by James Long.

From the program:

The piece is about a chance occurrence. In 2005 James Long found five photo albums and two travel journals in an alley behind his home. He decided to try to use these books, complete with photos, letters and detailed captions to create a theatre piece about memory and in the process ran into a number of legal and moral quandaries.

James Long cannot legally say the names or use the images of the family that he has based his performance on. He uses images of faces that are blurred out and instead of names, he assigns one gesture to represent each person. Many people are mentioned and so as he traces the family lineage, he stands there moving through an array of physical motions. It is a smart and creative solution that highlights visual storytelling and performance.

The theme of memory is inherent in the subject matter but also embedded in the performance itself. Audiences participate in acts of memory. For the performance to make sense, we must remember the correlation of gestures to the unknown, and unseen faces. Well done!

4. Love in Public

Composed by David MacIntyre, piano played by David Boothroyd and sung by Robyn Driedger-Klassen.

Love in Public is based on Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s forty-four sonnets written in 1846 as series of poems on her romance with Robert Browning. The poems are set to music and sung. The full version is a 90 minute long with 4 singers. Last night I heard four sonnets (1,2,3 and 43) which included the well known How do I Love Thee?

5. Extra Extra

Presented by Dancers Dancing, choreographed by Judith Garay, performed by Jaezila Crittenden, Cai Glover, Vanessa Goodman, Robert Halley, Eloi Homier, Janine Kamonzeki, Jessie Kwan, Felicia Lau, Erica Mitsuhashi and Benvin Poole.

From the program:

Extra Extra uses material sourced from mass print media to magnify and reflect perceptions of our fractured contemporary lives. The piece resonates with the same frenetic energy that drives our fast-paced world.

The evening’s performers take a bow. Bravo!

More events happening this weekend:


Public Dreams Society
Cordova Courtyard, 1pm – 2pm; 3pm – 4pm

Bleeding Horse Express
2nd Fl, Patio, 1pm & 3pm

Michael O’Neill: Bagpipes & Taiko Drums
Cordova Courtyard, 2:30pm – 3pm; 4pm – 4:30pm

Warrior Boyz, NFB Documentary
South Asian Film Education Society
NBC Universal Canada Screening Room, 3pm


Work with
Visual Art Faculty Exhibition

Audain Gallery

Works in Progress
First Year visual arts students
Visual Arts Studio


The following performances will take place in rotation on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.

A rotation of SFU Contemporary Arts videos and short films will be shown in the Djavad Mowafaghian Art Studio and the NBC Universal Canada Screening Room.

Dancers Dancing, Studio 4525
Five dance presentations in rotation, Studio D
SFU Contemporary Dance Alumni, Studio D

Madu Sari Gamelan, Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Studio
The Coat Cook Trio, Studio 4350
Voices of the Drum with Dancers, Studio 4750
Alumni of SFU Ghana Field School, Studio 4750
Fringe Percussion Group, Studio T

Sound-activated image organ, Bentley Multimedia Galleries/Rix Family Multimedia Commons
Green Screen Demonstrations, Sound Stage

Fever by Radix Theatre, Studio 4390

via SFU Woodward’s

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply