Review by Michael Piscitelli
Doing your research for a play is crucial when performing. Doing your research for seeing a piece of theatre; not so much. But I’ve been known to be wrong before. Going in to a show blind can be either a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, you could end up experiencing a fantastic plot, with dynamic visual designs and action. Or you could end up witnessing something that may leave you confused and unsure of why you came in the first place. Or worse, wanting your money back.
Dollhouse, conceived and performed by Bill Coleman, is a soundscape and interpretive dance piece meant to give the performer the ability to solicit and explore unconscious and involuntary movement while performing very specific actions. Yes, I know it sounds a little contradictory, but that’s the nature of art. The piece moves from different styles of dance like moving through a dreamscape. At times, slow and methodical, and others jerky and unpredictable. It’s a bit of an assault on the senses but that is, for the most part, the point.
A large part of the performance is that all the sounds are created on stage with little to no recreation or use of loudspeakers created and designed by Gordon Monahan. From a design and practical perspective, this piece is great for sound designers to gain inspiration and think of different ways of utilising space and every day objects to create different auditory experiences for the audience and the performers. The use of boiling water and large metal bowls to create, well, sounds not easily described by text, was a clever use of house hold objects that can be learned from.
For my first time; ever, I am going to say this is not something that I would recommend to everyone. Some may see it as a little too self indulgent for their tastes, and truly, it is an art piece intended for the art community more than anything else.
Dollhouse is a limited engagement piece at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley St. Theatre for 5 days only.