THE WORLD ACCORDING TO LEO A few degrees can make a world of difference. An unstable table can change the mood of an intimate meal, a house off-level can be a house that falls apart, but being in a situation a few degrees off–kilter can also be magical.
The world of LEO is a full 90 degrees off centre. A stage, occupied solely by performer Julian Schulz, is juxtaposed with a giant video screen that projects the stage offset by 90 degrees. What is sideways becomes upside down, level becomes upright. In this world, light becomes heavy, heavy becomes light. Like a great magic trick the world is transposed, the mind goes right while perception goes left.
Circle of Eleven’s production of LEO is nothing less than enchanting. Inspired by Fred Astaire’s famous gravity-defying dance routine in Royal Wedding, the premise is simple, but as with Astaire’s routine, everything is not quite as it seems. The audience is introduced to a character alone in a room with a suitcase. Projected on the screen, up quickly becomes down and gravity disappears into the weightlessness of it all as Schulz discovers the topsy-turvy world he inhabits.
Able to watch the actor and the projection simultaneously, the weight of the production sets in. In this piece of physical theatre, what looks effortless is a strenuous feat for Schulz, and what looks difficult is simple. This production is weightless and heavy at the same time.
Initially light with the sense of discovery as the actor plays with his new environment, the production eventually turns mysterious, heavy and dark. Simple becomes complex and the audience is drawn into the fray.
LEO is lighthearted and yet masterful — a wonderful piece of physical theatre.
GUEST BLOGGER: Ian Chiclo has been an active spectator of Calgary’s arts scene since the mid-eighties. He was the founding editor and then publisher of Fast Forward Weekly. He is currently the Director, Digital Marketing for Tourism Calgary.