LUMINATO Festival Toronto Virtual 2020 (day one)

by Lynn on June 12, 2020

in The Passionate Playgoer

Friday, June 12, 2020. CIUT FRIDAY MORNING, 89.5 fm. Luminato Festival Toronto Virtual 2020.

Good Friday Morning.

It’s Theatre Fix Time with me, Lynn Slotkin.

The theatres may be close because of COVID-19 but that hasn’t stopped many inventive theatre companies from creating works that can be viewed on line.

I mentioned several last week.

This week I’m talking about the virtual LUMINATO Festival Toronto 2020.

LUMINATO is a festival that puts a spotlight on Toronto’s performing arts scene.

It lasts several days and takes places in venues all over the city.

This year that’s not possible so Naomi Campbell, the Artistic Director of the festival, has partnered with the Festival of Live Digital Arts to present a three day virtual festival that began yesterday (June 11) and will conclude Saturday June 13.

The line-up of events is eclectic, artistic, whimsical and thought-provoking.

Naomi Campbell and Mayor John Tory began the festival by welcoming its virtual audience.

Except for a few tense moments when the Mayor was “frozen” on screen and muted, the evening of events was smooth sailing.

Naomi Campbell handled it with calmness and good humour (saying it was good to get the glitches out of the way initially).

Here We Are, a reimagined, re-embodied land acknowledgement will begin each day of Luminato’s programming.

Adapted from The Election, a play by Natasha Greenblatt and Yolanda Bonnell with the company, Here We Are is written and conceived by Yolanda Bonnell and Natasha Greenblatt, in collaboration with filmmaker Amy Siegel.

The filmed land acknowledgement is both beautiful and sobering.

After the land acknowledgement, the next segment was THE SINGING SALMON And edible performance with Meesha Bruggergosman.

We were welcomed into the kitchen of renowned singer, Meesha Bruggergosman as she made supper—a decadent affair involving a whole filet of salmon, bacon, yogurt, a lot of spices and fiddleheads—(she lives in Nova Scotia and got them from a neighbour).

While the fish was baking, Bruggergosman sang the traditional spiritual song “There is a Balm In Gilead.”

The juxtaposition of watching this gifted artist prepare supper with wicked humour, little attention to measuring the ingredients, the gusto with which she mushed up the ingredients and slathered it over the salmon with her hands and  joke with her young son and then hear and see her singing this song with such quiet, intense emotion, was magical.

It gave us a look at another side to this artist.

We were told that the recipe would be on Bruggergosman’s home page next week.

Ceviche with Quique Escamilla.

Food factored into the segment with award winning singer-song writer Quique Escamilla as he made a Mexican ceviche shrimp dish and of course sang as well.

 Field Notes from the Future is an examination of climate change by celebrated science journalist, Alanna Mitchell.

She created Sea Sick which looked at how the oceans were being destroyed, and presented it as a one person show at the Theatre Centre that produced it.

Mitchell was scheduled to performe Sea Sick at the National Theatre in London, England but was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Field Notes from the Future is an adaptation of Sea Sick and a continuation of her findings and thinking.

She discussed various questions with Kai Chan, a professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and Allie Rougeot, a PHD student and activist at the University of Toronto.

The pandemic has forced us to stay indoors and given us the time to think and reflect.

Will we act the same when we are out of quarantine?

Kai Chan refers to New Edges of the Possible.

Both Professor Chan and Allie Rougeot believe we will have new awareness about our world.

Both ponder what will we give up to create a better, healthier world.

Alanna Mitchell wondered how do you think it will all end.

She sounded pessimistic but wanted to be optimistic.

Professor Chan posed a question: what would the world look like in 2050?

Something we all should think about.

Alanna Mitchell has a keen curiosity; both Professor Chan and Allie Rougeot are thoughtful thinkers who emphasize the urgency of the questions and concerns without being loud and overbearing.  

Professor Chan questions whether he needed to travel so much for his work, and could the same work be done without the carbon footprint.

Since the discussion affects us all it left us with a lot to think about.

There were works in progress, one called THE MUSEUM OF WATER—that asks if you could keep a body of water, what water would you keep.

The question will be explored over the three days of the Festival.

R. Murray Schafer, Past and Future: Schafer’s Labyrinth and Apocalypsis

A preview of Barbara Willis Sweete’s Schafer’s Labyrinth, a work-in-development which will eventually feature all of Schafer’s 13 String Quartets.

Performed by Montreal’s Molinari Quartet, the film includes footage shot over 4 seasons at Schafer’s farm, with choreography and animation developed from Schafer’s inimitable scores and drawings.

The short film will be followed by a screening of R. Murray Schafer’s theatrical oratorio Apocalypsis, 

And from the Luminato vaults is part 1 of Schafer’s monumental work: APOCALYPSIS.

Part II will be shown tonight (Friday, June 12) at 8:30 pm.

A full schedule of the events of the Virtual Luminato Festival Toronto 2020 is at:

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