Fringe Review: We’re All Just Projecting in “Multiple Organism”


Jessica Gabriel in “Multiple Organism”
(Photo Credit: Chloe Ziner)

Two women, two overhead projectors, two boobs painted like eyes — too many laughs to count. “Multiple Organism” is a fearless, clever, surreal, and delightfully funny multimedia puppet show about bodies. Mind of a Snail, the company behind the creation, is comprised of Jessica Gabriel and Chloe Ziner, whose backgrounds in visual arts, clown, and sound/music shine through in this playfully image-based piece. Their live performance is accompanied by an original soundtrack by Ziner, which is made freely available for audiences to download.

Together, Gabriel and Ziner create a cast of hilarious, uncanny, lovable characters. Ziner plays a cringe-worthy male artist, obsessed with his long, hard, powerful… paintbrush. Like the centuries of celebrated male artists before him, he paints the female body—or, at least, his fetishized perception of it. Meanwhile, Gabriel plays the artist’s muse, an art object faking pleasure, and ultimately wanting more. Both performers bring wonderful physical comedy to the stage, and very well rehearsed reactions to their immaterial surroundings. Gabriel’s acting is a riot when she engages in a threesome with toothbrushes, and Ziner kills audiences with her impersonation of a house fly, in a delightfully handmade costume.

Jessica Gabriel in “Multiple Organism”
(Photo Credit: Chloe Ziner)

Materiality is a fun, eye-catching element to this piece — not only the clever reappropriation of everyday objects, but also projected backgrounds hand-painted by Gabriel. Her collage and watercolour visuals are rich with colourful, textural details that provide the perfect support for the surreal story. Overhead projections create a multi-layered reality, where light, bodies, and objects interact in magical ways.

The duo brilliantly uses the naked body as a live projection surface, forming a human-puppet hybrid, an utterly unique character, and a provocative commentary on gender perception. They purposely play with the audience’s projection of gender onto objects and bodies. Gabriel and Ziner also focus on the contrast between the body in public and the body in private. They fearlessly and artistically illustrate private moments, such as peeing, masturbating, or dropping one’s toothbrush in the toilet.

The script is clever, rife with puns, silly in tone, and stimulating in content. It follows the comic timing and interactive humour of a children’s puppet show, though its puns and punchlines often point to larger social or political concepts. Script is often cleverly self-referential, as the narrator pulls an “internalized script” out of its vagina. While the show certainly addresses systemic issues (like women’s objectification, chrononormativity, and gender politics), it is, at the core, just one person’s heartfelt story of embodied experience and self-discovery.

This show is a must-see for anyone who wants to indulge in childish laughter, while also contemplating expanded puppetry, object theatre, embodiment, and gender. 

Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. presents “Multiple Organism”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 6 – June 15, 2019
Venue: 10 – La Chapelle
3700 Saint-Dominique, Montréal, H2X 2X7
Admission: $12 | Ages 18+
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)

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Check out all our other 70+ reviews 
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!

Celine Cardineau

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