contributed by Jill Groening
There's something magical about being in the Gas Station Theatre when it's raining outside.
Lise McMillan is rehearsing her first ever full-length work, featuring dancers Alexandra Elliott, Samarah McRorie, Elise Page and Tanja Woloshen, while the echo of rain slapping tin reverberates through the theatre. The women face each other in a close circle, their bare feet scratching on a large circle of astro-turf.
“Find what feels comfortable for you, what you enjoy,” McMillan calmly says to the dancers as they take turns tumbling to dip their fingers into mini-fishbowls full of water. As one reaches towards a desired bowl, the rest smoothly shift to support the curious ones weight.
The work, titled Current See, explores organic imagery juxtaposed with the industrial, ahem harmful, aspect of human existence. McMillan utilizes an intelligent stage set up as well as a myriad of props, such as a luminescent chicken wire cloud and a sculptural tree-dress, to illustrate her well-thought out concepts.
Presented as part of the Young Lungs Production Series 2014, Current See features the live music of composer David Graham. His subtle, looped instrumentations run parallel to McMillan's themes of naturally occurring cycles, the ebb and flow of life.
McRorie is alone on stage now, statuesque and balancing one of the fishbowls of water on top of her head. Reminiscent of some sort of water deity, her expression is concentrated as her toes grip the floor. You half expect to feel droplets on your shoulders as it continues to pour.