23 Dance and Theatre Shows
Montreal, Tuesday, March 22, 2022 — Spring is around the corner, and with it the 16th edition of Festival TransAmériques, reconnecting local audiences with performing arts from around the world and showcasing new work by artists from Quebec and Canada. From May 25 to June 9, the Festival presents 23 shows by artists from 18 countries, including 12 co-productions, seven world premieres, and nine North American premieres. In their first year as joint artistic directors of the FTA, Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill offer festivalgoers a programme of truly exceptional artistic work, fed by a deep curiosity for offbeat imaginary worlds.
“The heart of our mission is to seek new encounters, to project ourselves outward, to be uplifted. Our bodies need to move, to laugh, to dance, to wander off and find back home. The Festival is an extraordinary hub with the capacity to recreate community and give it meaning. For the artists we welcome here in Montreal/Tiohtià:ke, travelling is essential to their work. The Festival’s future, our participation in the beauty, complexity and richness of the performing arts around the world, depends on their mobility.”
— Martine Dennewald and Jessie Mill
The spectacular opening show from Nigeria, Re:Incarnation by the choreographer Qudus Onikeku, celebrates the artistic vitality of Lagos in an epic spiritual journey from this world to the next and back. Another leading figure from Africa’s dance and theatre worlds presented at the Festival, the Ivorian choreographer Nadia Beugré, challenges the western view of masculinity in L’homme rare. Traces – Discours aux Nations Africaines is a magnificent poetic and political monologue by the towering Senegalese intellectual Felwine Sarr, performed by the Burkinabe actor Étienne Minoungou, while Odile Sankara and Aristide Tarnagda offer a staged reading of the most recent Prix Goncourt winner, La plus secrète mémoire des hommes by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr.
Following up on the success of Titans in 2018, FTA audiences will be delighted by the Greek director Euripides Laskaridis’ wild theatrical fantasy Elenit. Those looking for more politically engaged work that’s just as brilliant and rigorous will be fascinated by Adeline Rosenstein’s Laboratoire poison, an exceptionally smart piece of documentary theatre, or The History of Korean Western Theatre by Jaha Koo, which marks the long-awaited return of another creator renowned for his unique take on historical realities that structure our present (Cuckoo, FTA 2019).
The FTA has long welcomed artists who push back the boundaries of their fields, and some will appear at the Festival for the first time this year. Ellen Furey and Malik Nashad Sharpe are creating their fantastical play High Bed Lower Castle between Montreal and London, while Andrew Tay and Stephen Thompson are orchestrating the subverted fashion show Make Banana Cry from Toronto and Nice. Naishi Wang, a dancer from Toronto with immediate access to his audiences’ hearts, offers a masterfully crafted duet, Face to Face, and Théâtre de La Sentinelle, defying the underrepresentation of BIPOC artists on Quebec stages, spotlights an outstanding cast of Black performers in M’appelle Mohamed Ali, bringing the work of the Congolese dramaturge Dieudonné Niangouna to Montreal.
The latest work by Catherine Gaudet, known for her intricate choreographies, is entitled Les jolies choses, while playwright Étienne Lepage and director Alix Dufresne are preparing Malaise dans la civilisation in their first collaboration ever; both shows will premiere at the Festival. Following a staged reading at FTA 2021, Pierre Lefebvre’s Le virus et la proie takes on a properly theatrical form, directed by Benoît Vermeulen. Them Voices (FTA 2021), a work on ancestry and transmission by Lara Kramer, will return in a new space, as will the spectacular result of a collaboration between Mélanie Demers and Angélique Willkie, Confession publique, created last winter.
A monumental aquarium installed for five days on the Esplanade Tranquille in the Quartier des spectacles, Holoscenes by the U.S. artist Lars Jan is a free performance that depicts humanity’s astonishing adaptation to the alarming effects of climate change. Altamira 2042 by Gabriela Carneiro da Cunha gives voice to a whole ecosystem put at risk by the construction of a massive dam in the Amazon rainforest, while another show from Brazil, Lavagem by the choreographer Alice Ripoll, tackles cleaning, whitening, and their social connotations. In a whole day of conversations around the subject, experts from different fields will explore the many aspects of our relationship with water.
Boundless and boundary-shifting, the 2022 edition invites festivalgoers to move between different times and places. The performance-installation Adventures can be found anywhere, même dans la répétition by the PME-ART collective will be presented for free at the Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen for eight days. A show combined with dance workshops, Save the last dance for me by Italy’s Alessandro Sciarroni, will travel between three Montreal neighbourhoods. La conquête du béluga, an entirely Gaspésian production by the multidisciplinary artist Maryse Goudreau and Théâtre À tour de rôle, will take place next to the river, in the morning or evening, on the Clock Tower Beach. Finally, Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Vinnie Karetak from Iqaluit will present a first version of their latest work in the laboratory performance Qaumma at Galerie VOX.