What is behind the wall?
Taking inspiration from The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allan Poe’s fascinating tale of boundaries, contagion and mystery, Phin’s artists have personalized and conceptualized a new, contemporary fairy tale where suspicion, freedom, anonymity and desire reign.
In Poe’s tale, Prince Prospero orders all his favourite friends and courtesans into his castle, barring the doors with iron and steel to keep the contagion of the Red Death out. Inside the castle they celebrate their cleverness in defeating the pestilence by having a wild masquerade party in seven opulently appointed rooms as the countryside remains in the throes of the terrible plague. As the deep boom of the castle clock strikes to mark the passing of time, an uneasy chill begins to shroud the revelry. At the strike of midnight it is revealed that one grotesquely masked reveler is in fact not masked at all - it is the Red Death himself. One by one, the merry revelers meet their horrible end.
In Grand Hotel, movement, poetry, and live music tell a story of boundaries and mystery within the architecture of a complex set. With this work we ask, What do we hide behind our own great castle walls? Is the very thing we fear the most within us all along? The non-self represents a terrifying mystery, but is the mystery of the self any less frightening?
The action unfolds in seven rooms of a vertical wall-like structure. The players are confined in the structure … or are they? What is the cost of remaining where they are? What is the cost of tearing it all down?
Conceptualization: Phin Performing Arts
Choreography: Lisa Phinney Langley
Performance: Sarah Rozee, Miriah Brennan, Nicolas Labelle (dance); Ardath Whynacht (spoken word); Colin Matthews, Catherine Little (cello); Lucy Hayes Davis (soprano); Norm Adams (recorded cello)
Musical Composition and Sound Design: Sandy Moore (assisted by Donny Walls)
Poetry: Ardath Whynacht
Set Design/Decor: Peter Dykhuis
Lighting Design: Robert Tracey
Costume Design: Elise Chase-Sinclair
Technical Direction: Robert Tracey
Additional Artistic Collaborators: Andrew Turner (dancer), Vivika Ballard (apprentice/understudy)
Commissioned and Co-Produced by Live Art Dance Productions as part of its 30th Anniversary Celebrations.
Created with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, Arts Nova Scotia, Dance Nova Scotia, and Halifax Dance.
Full Video available on request