Edouard Lock: showman or shaman?

A presentation to the Royal Society of CanadaNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, November 19, 2004

© Max Wyman

In the late 20th and early 21st century, dance has been shaped by a few great artists with the vision and the audacity to exploit and explore the possibilities of the artform in a new fashion. Two of them have spent their careers working in Europe: Pina Bausch, who is German and works in the area of neo-expressionist theatrical modernism, and William Forsythe, an American also working in Germany, whose interests lie in expanding the expressive potential of classical ballet. A third is Canadian: Edouard Lock. Continue reading

A night of torrid tango

December 4, 1987: Always sensitive to the shock of the new, I make my way to Graceland—bare concrete floor, bare steel pillars, “Vancouver’s sleekest nightspot”—for Vancouver New Music’s Tango Cabaret: “a night of torrid tango nouveau.”

US pianist Yvar Mikhashoff, bushy-haired and bespectacled, has asked 100 composers to create tangos and he plays us some of them: one by novelist Anthony Burgess, very English and subtle in its decorations, another by the astrologer who played John the Baptist in The Ten Commandments. There’s a little nothing of a tango by John Cage, one by a composer who never wrote anything but this one piece, and one by a composer who didn’t actually know what a tango was. Continue reading

The truth is out there

In the 1990s Vancouver became a significant centre for TV and film production—for a time it was dubbed Hollywood North—and in the spring of 1997 our house-sitter Laura McFadzean, who lived down the road and helped run Liz Bell’s modelling/acting talent agency, mentioned that the movie people were always looking for new faces and suggested I try out for a cameo role on The X-Files. They wanted a defecting scientist with a thick Russian accent and Laura thought that because I spoke a bit of Russian I might fit the bill. Continue reading

European theatre festival at Pilsen, 2015

September, 2015: The curators at this year’s International Theatre Festival in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic, deny they intended to identify trends in the region or to present a series of plays contributing to a common theme. So it must be the spirit of the times—the zeitgeist, we might say—that created the sense of moral purpose, existential significance and joyous life-force that permeated this tumultuous week. Continue reading