Surreal puts on a show

Photo courtesy of NACC Christine Fellows, left, and Shary Boyle will be in Hay River this month to present their collaboration - commissioned by the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre - called "Spell to bring lost creatures home."

Photo courtesy of NACC
Christine Fellows, left, and Shary Boyle will be in Hay River this month to present their collaboration – commissioned by the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre – called “Spell to bring lost creatures home.”

This Friday, Hay River will play host to a show unlike anything residents have seen locally before.

Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home is something to behold, according to Marie Coderre, artistic and executive director for the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC).

“It’s a special technique,” she explained. “Shary Boyle does painting on an overhead projector live and Christine Fellows plays music… it’s really an experience you don’t want to miss.”

The show is part of this season’s community tours and is one of the more surreal performances of the year, in a season billed as “outside the box.” While NACC often commissions shows to be produced in Yellowknife, Coderre said it’s a rare opportunity when a show is created specifically for the organization to take on the road.

“It’s not folk art, it’s a mix of visual, theatre, and music… something really special,” she said. “It’s all live and it’s about sharing stories and our collective humanity.”

Terry Pamplin, an artist based in Yellowknife, will be joining Boyles and Fellows on stage with his supporting performance of Let the Children Be, an autobiographical play. He said that although his own contribution to the headlining show of the night is minute, the experience of being able to rehearse with the two women has been incredible.

“It’s been mind-blowing,” he told The Hub. “It’s an amazing show to see and experience.”

This will be a first foray into performance art for the painter Pamplin, who calls the journey he took to get to this point a “serendipitous mistake.”

“I was looking for funding to tour my traditional paintings and sculptures,” he said, adding that a friend told him about the mentor program offered by NACC.

The program offers a stipend, allowing artists to pursue their work. Pamplin said he expected to be asked to paint live on stage, and was bowled over when Coderre asked him what his play would be about.

“It was a shock, but I saw it as an open door,” he said. “The only question is whether you’re going to walk through it or not.”

Pamplin said his reasoning for bringing his own story of becoming an artist to the stage came from his career up until this point.

“I only paint what I know, so I decided I could only write what I know, and that’s me.”

The performance is scheduled for Oct. 17.

-Sarah Ladik