Fringe Review: Touching Gratitude and Candid Storytelling in “Love So Far”

2019 MONTREAL FRINGE FESTIVAL COVERAGE


Photo Credit: Blaze Wiradharma (Blazeworks)

“Love So Far” is a surprisingly sophisticated performance for such a simple premise: a reflection on his most meaningful experiences with love.

On a small stage, maybe ten by fifteen feet, performance artist Anto Chan delivers his autobiographical piece with touchingly candid and uplifting conviction. Through his articulate combination of storytelling, poetry, and stand-up, Chan shares both the deep and the lighthearted moments that taught him what love truly looks like. 

With immediate charisma, Chan casually introduces himself and remarks how race jokes were popular when he was a kid. Slowly you realize this casual conversation with the audience is the art. Intimate and candid, as if around a campfire, his storytelling pulls you in. His thoughtful reflections are interspersed with stand-up jokes, not so much as a necessary release of tension, as another layer to his joie de vivre. He also shares his personal poetry, simply saying, “I’d like to share one of my poems with you.” No dramatic transitions, and yet the piece is beautifully curated. His poetry, comedy, and storytelling are equally meaningful and rich with imagery. 


Photo Credit: Blaze Wiradharma (Blazeworks)

Chan puts into words what many people experience: How one beautiful person can change your perspective of something; how relationships crumble because of our preconceived ideas of love; how relationships bring out people’s traumas; how people stay in relationships because they are scared to be alone; the fear that “maybe it’s not supposed to all work out”; the feeling of guilt, of not being worthy of love, of being “so excited to have it, but so afraid to hold it.” 

He shares with deep gratitude the moments that taught him that love is not the same as romance. He describes unlearning—as everyone has to do—that Spin The Bottle, spontaneous swims, public declarations, and saving the damsel in distress are not the foundation of a loving relationship. Chan does not present the realization, that life is not a romantic comedy, as the tragic shattering of an illusion, but as the process of discovering that there are other types of special moments of serendipity that they don’t show in the movies. His nuanced and honest portrayal of life lessons is refreshing, and his perspective is admirably positive. In his revisiting of special moments, both beautiful and painful, Chan exhibits a gratitude for all life’s teachings about love and chances to grow. He explains the purpose of sharing these stories: to go back and understand why these situations happened the way they did.


Photo Credit: Blaze Wiradharma (Blazeworks)

Chan’s stories are not limited to romance. His meaningful experiences with love extend to his grandfather, who taught him how to give and to receive love in the face of pain. He describes the simplicity of children’s love, the funny moments in life where all one can say is “I love you and I don’t know why,” and the extreme emotions of letting go of someone you still love. The title does not curtail his story at “Love,” but “So Far…” implies the ongoing nature of his story, including the very moment he shares with the audience and whatever love might be in the room.

Chan generously lays himself bare, as he intimately describes his most beautiful memories, deepest desires, and hardest challenges. His candid performance is touching to the core, as both he and the audience tear up. Needless to say, his delivery and his message reflect his inner light, as he spreads love and self-worth to anyone who listens to his story. 

“WHO IT’S FOR”
This show is for anyone looking for an uplifting, casual, lighthearted, and touching storytelling experience. Get ready to laugh and cry, as you listen to your new friend’s life story and take a moment to appreciate and accept love. 


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PunFu Productions presents “Love so Far”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 6 – 16, 2019
Venue: 03 – Le P’tit Impro
3713 Saint-Laurent #202, Montréal, H2X 2V7 
Admission: $10 – 12 | Ages 16+
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)
boxoffice@montrealfringe.ca 
www.montrealfringe.ca

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Celine Cardineau

2019 Fringe Reviewer at Montreal Theatre Hub
Celine D. Cardineau is an interdisciplinary artist, production designer, creative director and writer from Santa Rosa, California. She recently graduated from Concordia University with a BFA in Theatre Design and Studio Arts.

Driven by her passion for contemporary art and writing, Cardineau pens reviews, interviews, and analyses informed by her own multidisciplinary practice. She formerly held the positions of Head Writer and Online Editor for Yiara Magazine, a feminist art and art history publication. She is excited about what this year’s Fringe Festival has to offer, especially in the context of theatre and politics today.

Find out more about Cardineau’s recent projects and upcoming exhibitions/productions at cardineauceline.myportfolio.com
Celine Cardineau

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