Fringe Toronto 2018--Nullius in Verbia


Nullius in Verba
Toronto Fringe Festival
July 4-July 14
Al Green Theatre

Reviewed by Ted Fox

Nullius in Verba is Latin for "on no one's word." In the program notes, Artistic Directors Robyn Noftall and William Hamilton ask their audiences to interpret their pieces however they want. And "find the power to trust your instinct and understanding."

It's a challenging, thought-provoking experience

Leaving Room
Choreography; Mateo Galindo Torres
Interpreters and Collaborators: Robyn Noftall and William Hamilton

A couple dressing after a sleepover (a voiceover states). Both together but isolated in their own spaces. She moves with wide, elongated reaching-out gestures. He has a much more limited body language. More like exploring and appraising his body.

As they begin to interact with each other there is an atmosphere of lassitude and coldness. Movements are more like carefully mechanized precise exercises in maintaining an image of themselves that plays an important role in who they want to be seen as.

At one point they take on an artificial fashion spread look--he bent over, with her astride him, in a casual sexual pose.

Toward the end, both burst out into a bout of wild elongated movements, swaying backwards, circling, both owning the space. Only to go back into stillness, standing facing each other. In fact, periods of stillness throughout this piece are wonderfully effective.

The soundtrack begins with the sound of flipping TV channels complete with static and unclear snippets of sound. This effectively suggests their bodies flipping in and out of their real selves.

That What We Do Not Know
Choreographer: Mateo Galindo Torres
Interpreters and Collaborators: Robyn Noftall and Raine Kearns

Torres is a Colombian-born multidisciplinary dance artist. Here he addresses the issue of those from other cultures adapting to their new home.

Two figures come on stage, faces and heads covered by bandages. No identity.

They break into a visceral, percussive tribal dance. Calls to mind indigenous dances and rituals. Highly percussive soundtrack, both from their feet and the music selection of Bruxo by Nicola Cruz.


What would you do?
Choreography: Robyn Noftall and William Hamilton
Interpreters and Collaborators: Raine Kearns, William Hamilton and Cheryl Chan

Two women and one man staring transfixed at a bowl sitting on a small table. One woman tries to to drink from it, only to fall to the floor. The other succeeds and drinks what turns out to be a magic potion. Empowered by it, she turns into a dominant, controlling superwoman figure. Her gestures become spells which she uses to manipulate the others.

It is clear from the beginning that we are in another dimension outside space and time. A score featuring howling wind suspends us in this fantasy zone. The texture, of shades of darkness, heightens this. Has a magical dreamlike feel to it.