Sasha Ivanochko's The future memory heartbreak junction
There's something special about an audience that falls quiet before the show begins, and last night's premiere of Sasha Ivanochko's 3-nights-only solo piece, The future memory heartbreak junction, was like that. Even before the show properly began, Sasha, standing on stage as the doors opened, had brought us into her world of need and isolation.
Sasha's character, dressed in a red sequin dress and heeled fluvogs, teeters and totters between the linear spaces at the front and back of the stage. At the back, where the piece begins and ends, Sasha's character is isolated, leans against the whitewashed brick for a future lover, is filled with drunken regret. The front of the stage is defined by the mic stand she uses to engage with the audience, speaks directly to us, sometimes spurns us, sometimes laughs with, or for, us. These periods are rapid fire manic and depressed, packed with an empty intensity or sincere loveliness that ask, "how much of life can we laugh away?"
Sasha's character is repeatedly hitchhiking between men, sniggling her way into cars that stand as synecdoches for the men who drive them, where the cars are not beamers but jalopies. When she is beaten there is a sense of inevitability about it, but Sasha tells me afterwards that the striking is an internal force. So, evidently, is the sexual need that drives her nameless character to the floor. In these moments, repeated throughout the piece, she is part object and part corpse, her gently articulating ankles the only signs of life, much less enjoyment.
In direct opposition to these draining scenes is a single moment of personal intensity that, at the risk of being witty, has this wonderful Meg Ryan, "I'll have what she's having" quality to it. It's an easy winner as the most gripping section of the night, and serves to define parts of the character at centre stage that have been tactfully ambiguous until then.
The future memory heartbreak junction runs to December 13th at Dancemaker's Centre for Creation in the Distillery District.
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