okay.odd at Uno Fest 2016. An interview with Milton Lim.

okay.odd at Uno Fest 2016. An interview with Milton Lim.

okay.odd is being presented May 27 and 28th in a double bill with Laissez-Faire (by Freya Björg Olafson) at Uno Fest 2016.  I had the opportunity to interview Milton Lim

What sparked the creation of this show?  Can you speak to your collaboration with the other artists mentioned?

Practically speaking, I created a short-length version of okay.odd. last June for a modular arts event call Back Away, Slowly — it was commissioned by Theatre Replacement and Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. Along with 5 other emerging experimental performance/theatre companies (Resounding Scream Theatre, A Wake of Vultures, O, o, o, o., the Jamie and Sarah Experience Project, and Zugzwang Media), we were asked to make a work based generally around the theme of curiosity. Around that time, I was in heavy discussions with a friend of mine about digital media, screens, constants flows of information, and unconscious identity building, so that prompted me to consider the persuasive use of language and ubiquity of screens. I also wanted to create a piece that did not rely on the life performer as the carrier of content.

Hong Kong Exile is an ongoing collaboration between dancer/choreographer, Natalie Tin Yin Gan; composer/new media artist, Remy Siu; and myself (theatre creator/designer). For this show, I also brought on my good friend Aryo Khakpour as a performer and concept dramaturg. Aryo has been my primary sounding board and co-creator on this project — his particular eye for text and clown has been invaluable. Natalie has been the dramaturg for the piece; her general perception and detailed knowledge about internal sensation has been leading us in our articulation of affect. Remy Siu is the most proficient with new media in our company and he has been guiding me as I develop my skill set in this area, his expertise has transformed how I’ve constructed the show.

Laissez-Faire-okay.odd-1008x756Laissez-Faire/okay.odd  Photo: Intrepid Theatre

Is it based in or informed by previous work?

Aesthetically, the piece draws heavily from my projection design for another of Hong Kong Exile’s works, NINEEIGHT. It’s a multimedia dance theatre work that explores social anxieties following the handover of Hong Kong, through the particular cinematic lens of mo lei tau (absurdist) cinema. We used text and projection to offload all the dense political information at the top of the show so as to focus more on the physical affect in the rest of the piece. For that show, I drew from the the works of Japanese manga artists like Nisio Isin, visual artists such as Barbara Kruger, and Hong Kong cinema trailers for movies like Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. Natalie Tin Yin Gan choreographed NINEEIGHT, I performed, and Remy Siu implemented and completed the design.

What do you hope to inspire in your audience?

I hope to inspire resonance and residue.

Who will be interested as a potential audience member?  What would you say to entice someone to come?

Anyone who looks at screens would be a potential audience member, as would anyone who is interested in what alternate versions of meditation could look and feel like. I would invite anyone with a sturdy sense of curiosity, challenge, imagination, and play.

You mention that okay.odd is “part spiritual retreat”?  In “performance” has it been difficult for the audience to enter into this aspect of the work, or have they willingly engaged?

I often think that theatre is already a charged site of ritual. You sit down, sometimes beside strangers, the lights go out, you surrender yourself to anonymity, and (sometimes) something ephemeral happens around/to you. In certain ways, we are making visible this particular apparatus of the theatre space.

In speaking to the level of engagement, it heavily depends on the audience member. Much of the show is tailored to the tangential thought of the individual, which is out of our hands, though we do have a very particular form that we’ve created.

What’s next for this work? Where does it go from here?

okay.odd. has had a few presentations over the last two months (Simon Fraser University Alumni showing, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s FUSE, the full-length premiere at the rEvolver Theatre Festival). After Uno Fest, the newest short-length iteration will be at the Risk/Reward Festival (Portland) in June. Following that, we don’t have any immediate plans for the show, as Hong Kong Exile has a few other projects on the go, but I hope it travels to a few other festivals in the future.

Hong Kong Exile (Vancouver)
Created by Milton Lim with Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Aryo Khakpour, and Remy Siu
Performed by Aryo Khakpour

May 27, 8:30pm May 28, 8:30
Metro Studio
Tickets $20. May 27th is also Pay What You Can.
Uno Fest passes are $85 for 5 shows.

Unless otherwise noted, tickets available at Ticket Rocket, 1609 Blanshard Street (at Fisgard) or by phone 250.590.6291, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm.

About @lacouvee

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