Last night a friend took me along to the Thousand Faces Festival, which explores myths from around the world in a variety of performance media. We attended two events, a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and a Mythic Poetry Brothel.
Macbeth is a familiar enough story, full of archetypes and supernatural elements and sayings that have entered common use, that it fit easily into the theme of myth. This production was not the most compelling one I have seen, but it was fast-paced and had some good moments. Macbeth was played by Elliot James, who I last saw as a worse-than-archetypal asshole cop in Dirt. He had some of that character’s swagger, and not very much regret. Bobbi Goddard, a BFA Acting student at U of A, was Lady Macbeth (while also playing in When the Rain Stops Falling this week). Other familiar local actors were also involved – Oscar Derkx, Mat Simpson, Lianna Makuch – but there were no printed programs and the headshot display in the lobby was incomplete and didn’t identify roles. I also don’t remember who directed it and can’t find that information anywhere today.
The Mythic Poetry Brothel, a coffee-house style event, started in the beer garden behind the Alberta Avenue community hall but migrated smoothly into the hall when the night got cool. Local poets (including Colin Matty and Tim Mikula) read or recited their work in character as various deities, and additional entertainment was provided by MC Morgan Smith and an interesting collection of musicians and dancers. The “Brothel” part of the event title probably referred to the opportunity to get private readings by making a donation to a poet. Sort of like table dances I guess.
The Thousand Faces festival resumes next Friday evening. I love living in a city which has such an assortment of arts festivals, including small ones like this with admission by donation.
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