Felix Checks Out at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival

Felix Checks Out. Photo credit: Brendan Brown

Felix Checks Out. Photo credit: Brendan Brown

Felix Checks Out by Synaethesis Dance Theatre
August 18 – 21, 23 – 27 at Venue #18: Sugar Swing Ballroom

An interview with Leah Paterson.

Describe your show in one sentence.

Felix Checks Out’ is a dance-theatre experience that takes place in limbo… if limbo were an inter-dimensional hotel populated by dancers and awesome tunes.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description of your show?

Follow Felix, as he finds himself in limbo after an untimely (and largely inconvenient) death. He’ll confront his past with the help of the irreverent staff of an inter-dimensional hotel. Purgatory just happens to be full of dancers and sweet throw-back jams.

Why did you want to use humour to address the topic of death in Felix Checks Out? What drives the humour in this piece?

First off—I’m incredibly afraid of dying (knock wood), which is maybe why I wanted to explore the topic in a playful way. I think comedy is just another way to unpack a concept, even something tragic like death. The idea of purgatory is intriguing because it provides an opportunity to be other-worldly, exaggerated and sometimes a little weird—all things that pair well with the physicality of dancing. In the show, limbo is a hotel where you get one last chance to look back on your life. Each piece within “Felix Checks Out” represents an important memory or turning point, and the other dancers rotate between playing women that had an impact on Felix’s time on earth. I don’t ever want to give the impression that we are making fun of death. We’re just imagining what it would be like if what you found on the “other side” was totally unexpected. The piece is inspired by Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel”, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Lobster”, and Jaco Van Dormeal’s “Mr Nobody”. It’s a little quirky, a little dark, and ultimately a lot of fun.

What can audiences expect from the choreography of Felix Checks Out? What did you draw inspiration from?

The choreography of Felix Checks Out pulls from Broadway jazz, contemporary and ballet. My heart belongs to musical theatre, so I really wanted to showcase Broadway jazz in this piece, something I haven’t really done with Synaethesis before. There are Fosse references and a few jazz hands for sure, as well as some contemporary partner work and classical technique. The music is integral to the show. Audiences will recognize tunes from different decades, and hopefully, enjoy the music as well as the movement. Jason Hardwick and Brett Bowser both set numbers in Felix Checks Out as well, and I’m so thankful for the creativity they’ve brought to the project. The dancers in the show make my work easy. I’m so lucky to have this little group of superstars!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

The Show is only 50 minutes. The venue has air conditioning. You’ll be humming the music for days. What more could you ask for?

The 36th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 17 – 27. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca .

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