Reverie proves a great end to Ghost River’s season
By Bri Turner
Ghost River Theatre’s latest masterpiece, Reverie, made its flawlessly executed public debut on May 19th, and it seems inevitable that this unique and arresting production will leave an indelible imprint on its Calgary audiences. With Reverie’s undeniably talented cast and crew, led by creative directors Eric Rose and David van Belle, success was imminent, and yet nobody could have predicted results quite so breathtaking.
Rather than utilizing storytelling, Reverie communicates in emotions. Act one, or ‘Side A’ examines the life of a modern young woman, artfully played by Ava Jane Markus, who exists in an apparent state of apathetic detachment; a dead-end job, meaningless interactions with the equally misguided individuals around her, mindless substance abuse, and emotion and experience conjured solely from within the confines of a set of headphones. In ‘Side B’, headphones are abandoned, and a tale is spun of revolution as it envelopes all and annihilates all possibility of disconnection. What is truly interesting is that Reverie somehow makes the menial frivolity of everyday life seem altogether more jarring than the plight of justifiable rebellion. This juxtaposition of circumstance begs an interesting question about whether complacency is more terrible than its alternatives.
In bringing this experience to life, the minimalistic set served to enhance Reverie’s stark contrasts. Digital imagery provided a soft but effective backdrop, with the production’s choreography in perfect harmony with the set. The choreography itself was sometimes flowing, often tinged with a sort of artistic discord, but always brilliant.
While it is virtually impossible to elect a standout element from Reverie, the music comes close. With original music composed and performed live by Calgary indie-scene fixture Kris Demeanor in collaboration with Matthew Waddell, the lush melding of organic and inorganic sounds is liable to firmly place you in a state of rapture. The thought of perhaps never hearing some of those songs again is certain to leave audiences with a profound sense of mourning. It’s that good.
Reverie is an exercise in stimulation. Every nerve responds as each element – cast, choreography, digital effects, dialogue, music—comes together to assault the audience. Not to be defined by the musical theatre catch-all, Reverie is truly an experience.