The Dream Collectors by Impulse Theatre April 19-22, 2017. A review.

The Dream Collector(s) by Impulse Theatre April 19-22, 2017. A review.

Impulse Theatre has been enchanting and confounding me since 2012.  I remember watching Andrew Barrett and Mathilde Cobanli performing in Light on Our Feet (Holly Vivian’s sadly departed fundraiser featuring dance artists from around the region), thinking “I must meet these young people, they are doing ground-breaking work”.  Now in their seventh season, Impulse Theatre was founded while its principals were still in university.  With a remarkable list of new work to their credit, they continue to deep dive to create worlds mixing myth, magic and metaphor.  Tapped into a zeitgeist where everything old is new again, they are not afraid to invest the time and energy necessary to create cohesive, rich, technologically complex and beautiful realms for an audience to ponder and reflect upon.

Once, humans lived in a world of reality that rubbed against the world of fantasy almost daily—the membrane between the two allowing for seamless transitions between here and there.  In modern-day life, dreamscape is relegated to sleeping hours, the time when every day cares fall slowly away, allowing people to float, in and out, glimpsing flashes of what might be, revisiting the past, hoping for the future.

The Dream Collectors initiates the audience into a waking dream, peopled by mystical beings performing mysterious rituals, all the while murmuring barely audible incantations.  There is order and then, as suddenly, there is not.  Sequences morph from one into another, or end abruptly to begin in a jarring new episode. Dressed all in black, their white faces (a signature Impulse Theatre effect) glimmering in the faint light, they draw attention with graceful and universal gestures—grief, pain, perplexity, anger. Where once the company was content to let movement speak for itself, allowing viewers to create their own narrative, more recently text has been added.  Sublime moments follow one after the other.

Special effects are created with a utilitarian tarp—a rushing river, the lapping of ocean waves on the show, a subway train, the dress of a gigantic creature, a sheet. At times the dream collectors huddle beneath, becoming an amorphous blob.

Small globe lights hang suspended—pulsing on and off with slow energy at key moments (lighting design Emma Dickerson). There’s a certain murkiness to the atmosphere, heightened by haze and fog and Carolyn Moon’s evocative sound design—notes tinkle, rocks creak and grind, trees split, birds twitter. Theodore Sherman’s set design upends the small black box theatre of the Intrepid Studio, creating an intimate and womb-like space—the feeling is visceral and immediate.

With great care and attention, the ensemble embodies the hopes and fears of humanity—from guilt, shame, doubt and jealousy to joy, love and peace.  Director Andrew Barrett’s mantra has always been “bring what you want, take what you need”—it’s a particularly bold statement at a time when people seem to prefer pre-digested stories with a linear explanation.

Allow yourself to be carried away; let go and live in the unique experience and world of The Dream Collectors. Watch as moments unravel and reveal layer after layer of meaning. It’s definitely a show that can be seen more than once.  Impulse Theatre’s genius lies in creating pieces that elicit a profound personal reaction, while remaining accessible to everyone.  Imagine—the story I walk away with will not be yours. How incredible is that?

the dream collector(s) is an exciting, new work from Victoria’s sweetheart, Impulse Theatre. Using their unique blend of theatre, dance, and design, they have created a piece that follows a group of mystical beings that have been collecting for centuries. This all changes when the eldest inadvertently unleashes their collection upon reality. With dreams as the fuel, the ensemble will lead the audience through a vibrant world where things aren’t always as they seem.

The Dream Collectors by Impulse Theatre
April 19-22, 2017
Intrepid Theatre Club

created by the ensemble
directed by Andrew Barrett
featuring Tony Adams, Randi Edmundson, Kathleen Greenfield, and Jess Amy Shead
sound design by Carolyn Moon
set design by Theodore Sherman
lighting design by Emma Dickerson

We acknowledge the support of the CRD Arts Development Service through the participating municipalities of Esquimalt, Highlands, Metchosin, Oak Bay, Saanich, Sidney, Victoria and View Royal in the presentation of this production.

November to June 2015/16 – ECD Project: Workshop
November 2014 – Intrepid Theatre’s Theatre Under the Gun

Special thank you to Sarah Cashin, Lucas Hall, Jenson Kerr, Samantha Lynch, Sarah Murphy, Kathleen O’Reilly and Imogen Wilson for their talents and contributions.

The development of this project was made with the support of the BC Arts Council and Province of British Columbia under the mentorship of Britt Candide Small.

Disclaimer: I attended a preview of The Dream Collector(s) as a guest of Impulse Theatre.

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