Having achieved immense success in many previous Fringe festivals, it is this reviewer’s belief that SNAFU needs no introduction. However, for those of you who have spent the previous Fringe seasons living under a rock or cryogenically frozen, I will elaborate: SNAFU Dance Company is a largely acclaimed Victoria-based theatre group created in 2006 by Ingrid Hansen (this play’s sole performer), Victor Dolhai, and Sarah Jane Pelzer. Since then, the company has toured all across the country, picking up countless awards along the way. Currently, they are on their second leg of a tour across Canada participating in 8 Fringe festivals with their 2 shows: Interstellar Elder as well as the The Merkin Sisters – both of which have made a pit stop here in Montreal.
Interstellar Elder is precisely what it sounds like: a story about a 96-year-old lady traveling through outer space, the sole caretaker of what’s left of the entire human race after a terrible planetary disaster. Our custodian and protagonist, Kit, treats the cryogenically frozen audience – the last of humankind – while trying to keep sane. She’s spent her whole life waiting to go back home, Making some friends along the way, and has a precious cargo to protect.
At this show you will inevitably roar with laughter, but what you might not see coming is the immense heart and powerful imagery behind the performance. Ingrid hits another home run with this brilliant piece of physical theatre. The use of the audience and the way this play is set will forever change the way you see theatre and its possibilities. SNAFU is no stranger to audience interaction in their creations; in this production, however it is taken a step further as each audience member truly feels like an important part of the narrative.
In this piece, Hansen shows what it really is to be a master of your craft. Her precision of movement, expressive face, abundant artistic enthusiasm, and immense talent make for a mesmerizing show. From the moment she takes the stage to its exciting conclusion, we cannot help but cheer on our intrepid maintenance worker with great fervor. In the hands of a different performer this hectic story might’ve been hard to follow, but rest assured – the play is well taken care of.
The set, while sparse, is utilized with great efficacy; no piece is left behind. Everything from a box of Kleenex to Kit’s bed is used in multiple and inventive ways all whilst helping to drive the story forward. The performer herself even took to lighting small portions of the stage or set pieces with a head lamp in order to focus the audience’s attention on to details that would later be crucial within the storyline.
Having already been reviewed to extraordinary critical acclaim so many times, it is difficult to find something to say about Interstellar Elder or anything SNAFU has done that hasn’t already been noted. With that in mind, make sure you catch this show (as well as their other piece at the Montreal Fringe, The Merkin Sisters) before they move on to delight their next batch of fringe-goers Toronto. You will be sorry you missed it!
Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe Contributor David Hudon
SNAFU presents “Interstellar Elder”
When: June 12 – 18, 2017
Where: La Chapelle, 3700 Saint-Dominique
Duration: 75 minutes
Tickets: www.montrealfringe.ca | 514.849.FEST (3378)
Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival