It comes in waves

iCiW_promoAs some of you may know, I’m currently working on a new and rather uniquely immersive performance experience on Toronto Island entitled It Comes In Waves (produced by bluemouth inc and Necessary Angel).

Over the course of the evening, audiences canoe to Toronto Island, throw a surprise party, sing a few songs, play a round of strip poker, and help prepare a man for the greatest journey of his life. It’s the kind of theatrical experience which, for the moment, I can only really describe as “…if Frederico Fellini had made an Elvis movie”.

We’re in the last few days of rehearsals now. I will be updating this  post in the coming weeks, looking at several aspects of sound, interaction and dramaturgical design as they’ve unfolded in this new work.

Until then…



It Comes in Waves promocard

Drumkit and live electronics

The drummer as front man: cover art detail from Sandy Nelson’s album “Drummin’ Up a Storm” (1962)

A performance for live percussionist and responsive computer music system this Friday evening (April 19th, 8 pm, $10) at Musideum (Toronto).

This is the latest incarnation of a solo project of mine exploring the physical activity and cultural imagery of the jazz drummer, juxtaposed with the gestural language and technologies of electronic dance music. It looks at how human and machine-made rhythms and systems can most effectively shadow and complement each other, while straddling multiple musical genres (electronic dance music, ambient/soundscape, improvisation, ‘microdubb’, and generative computer music).

Neil Wiernik, a.k.a. NAW and I will be sharing the evening’s festivities. Feel free to drop by and offer discussion or feedback afterwards. Full event details here.

nes setup detail

In studio this week

Some initial screen captures from experiments in generating MIDI-controlled video feedback using but a handful of Zeal‘s VIZZable VJ (Max4Live) modules. Part of the latest development period for bluemouth inc‘s next immersive theatre project.1 2 3 4 5

Cherry Blossom Promise 2012 Live Set

As spring approaches every year, the blossoms in the grove of cherry trees at High Park are carefully tracked. During their peak blooming period (a 2 or 3 day window) hundreds of people gather to take in the blossoms on the hillside. As if by magic, a sound system appears and a collection of no-beat ambient dj’s immerse the grove and its visitors in sound.

This ambient set evolves through the playing and then processing of vintage – and seasonally appropriate – tracks from my record collection.

Performed on Friday, April 13, 2012 in the cherry blossom hillside grove in High Park (Toronto)

DANCE MARATHON returns to Toronto World Stage Festival

bluemouth inc's Dance Marathon at Toronto World Stage Festival (May 18, 2012)
Photo by Tina Rasmussen
My (always) favourite audience participation moment of the show – YMCA. Photo by Tina Rasmussen

Dance Marathon London

Thank you London!

Dance Marathon at the Barbican Centre was a fantastic experience.

BBC London Evening News coverage of bluemouth’s Dance Marathon London
(I speak ever so briefly on the increasing popularity of immersive and participatory theatre work)


Swimmer (68)

Ker Wells in the evocative stage work 'Swimmer (68)'

Swimmer (68) is a one-man theatre performance which recently premiered here in Toronto earlier this month at the Studio Theatre. Created by writer/performer Ker Wells and director Bruce Barton — with video design by Cameron Davis and dramaturgy by Pil Hansen – this project was an opportunity to try and push at the use of digital media in performance and begin to formulate a deeper kind of conversation between an actor and the digital media – one in which a vocabulary of inter-medial gesture could be developed and tested. Imitative/mimetic exchange, video as light source and or as a character, experimental application of in-ear monitors and back-of-house video monitoring for actors.

The ‘holy trinity’ of theatre may always be the writer-actor-director collaboration. yet as time passes and ‘digital natives’ inherit theatrical traditions it may begin to seem ever more natural for digital media to exist in the theatre.

Dance Marathon Edinburgh

I’m about to head into my second week of Dance Marathon performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, presented in association with Traverse Theatre and Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. We (bluemouth) are getting some great responses and reviews while working with some really amazing and talented people. To follow all developments – including reviews, audience responses and photos, head on over to bluemouth’s Twitter and Facebook pages.


More photos to come…

Sleep. Dream. Study. Listen.

Above is a (slightly remixed) excerpt from the Rhubarb 2011 Festival performance of ‘Salle du Rêve / Centre for Sleep and Dream Studies’ with Angela Rawlings and Ciara Adams (voices) and myself (laptop). The first 3 minutes or so consists of an improv the three of us did at the end of the evening. The ‘sleep dream questionnaire’ heard throughout this excerpt was administered to individual audience members, one at a time, in an intimate setting next door to the bar/dance floor. Co-presented by Bluemouth Inc Presents last February (2011) at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto.

Dance Marathon Manhattan

Doing shows in New York is tough for independent theatre companies like Bluemouth Inc. Competition for audience is relentless, equipment rentals are prohibitively expensive (it’s often cheaper to just buy the gear outright), and with such minimal institutional arts funding, it’s really all about cultivating the rarest of warm, fuzzy long-term relationships with deeply-pocketed people who share your inspiration and passion for giving audiences the  wildest, craziest immersive experiences anyone can imagine.

Dance Marathon aspires to be that kind of experience. Manhattan is a tough market, so many thanks to Martin Denton for his review on (January 6).

Dance Marathon NYC was presented by Incubator Arts Project’s Other Forces festival and the Performance Project @ University Settlement. Dance Marathon was originally created with support from the Harbourfront Centre’s Fresh Ground new works commissioning program (Toronto, 2009)

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