Dancing with Demons at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Dancing with Demons
Academy at King Edward (8525 101 street) August 14, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24
More information: shanacordon.com

An interview with Shana Cordon.
Describe your show in five words. 
Delightfully demented. Wickedly fun. Epic.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
Dancing with Demons: A Fractured Fairytale is just that: a fairytale shattered, a Hero’s Journey gone awry. A writer sets out to tell an epic story with a host of archetypal characters and events. Everything is knocked off course when the villain “escapes” and takes over. In the absence of the writer, the expected narrative disappears and the characters must fend for themselves.

It’s both funny and poignant, philosophical and pop. It’s a multi-character adventure story utilizing dynamic physical theater, humor, music, and dance to subvert classical storytelling genres. It is by turns laugh-out-loud funny, downright creepy, and contemplative. And there’s disco.

Dancing with Demons: A Fractured Fairytale subverts the fairy tale genre – what’s so fun or interesting about playing with that particular genre?
Fairytales are endlessly complex and archetypal. They’re open to interpretation, but they also deal with things that are traditionally taboo or difficult to discuss. Through fairytales we get to explore the best and worst of who we are, perhaps even more so as adults. The Grimm’s Fairytales, for example, aren’t kid-friendly by today’s standards—they go places most contemporary stories just won’t go, and that can be entertaining and disturbing and enlightening all at once.

Your show uses physical theatre to tell its story. What does the physical theatre form in particular add to this show? From your biography, it seems a lot of your work uses physical theatre – what is it that attracts you to this form?
There are many definitions of physical theater, some of which are specific to pedagogy: commedia del arte, Le Coq, De Crux, mime, or dance theater. I’m using the term to envelop all forms that rely on the human body to tell a story and ignite the imagination and emotions.

What attracts me to utilizing physical theatre in making work is the surprise I find in circumventing the intellect and following the impulses of the body. This leads to rich, deeply embodied characters, with stories that are weirder, more profound, and far more interesting than anything I could create by just thinking about it.

As an audience member, I am thrilled to observe the stories that are expressed in different bodies and physical forms. When one completely embodies a state, such as curiosity or sorrow you can see and feel it just by looking at the person. If text arises, it’s supported by an experience that is already there. And that’s just magical. That’s theater

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

One reviewer called the show, “great, silly fun, but also smart” which I just love. It’s very playful and ridiculous, along with some deeper, darker moments. While this is a fairytale, it does deal with adult themes. So it’s not the best choice for little folks. But teens love it, if their parents are ok with a few f-bombs.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?
I am happy to be here with a posse of friends and collaborators from Boulder, Colorado. Firstly, I want to call out the exceptional Gemma Wilcox. She has been a friend and a collaborator for years. In 2007 she invited me to co-direct Shadows in Bloom, the sequel to the show she is performing in Edmonton this year, The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over. She introduced me to the world of the fringe in Orlando, and has been a constant source of inspiration and support.

The Awkward Art of Flying is another show I’d like to shout out. It was created by my director Claire Patton, who is a bad-ass Le Coq physical-theater ninja. She created the show with Lucia Rich, who is one of the most poetic and emotionally charged dancers I’ve ever seen. The show is quirky and just plain lovely.

While I haven’t directly collaborated with Bradley Span, we were in grad school at the same time and are among the same creative community. We also share Claire as a director. Me and My Monkey is his coming of age story in south-central L.A. in the 1970 with three sisters, a single mom, a detached dad, and yes, a monkey. What more could you want in a narrative?

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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