Joe Laughlin is the founding Artistic Director of Joe Ink. I’ve only been to one other show where the performer takes a long moment at the start of the show to take in the audience. He stood in front of us in silence (although there was some sound bleed from a nearby venue that was slightly distracting) and made eye contact with us for a significant amount of time. If you’re not used to that, it might make you uncomfortable because it’s not often that we go somewhere to see something, and find ourselves being seen. Perhaps that’s why people are hesitant about the theatre.
Joe: A Solo Show is a very personal piece, and if you’re looking to be fed a story or narrative, the closest you’ll get to it is the voiceover components where the choreographers (Amber Funk Barton, Gioconda Barbuto and Vincent Mantsoe) talk about their inspiration for the pieces they created with Laughlin. What I found beautiful was the way Laughlin knew exactly what he was saying, even if the contemporary dance looked abstract to the audience. There were moments where I wanted more out of a certain movement than I got, but maybe that’s part of the exploration of how age changes us. I left this piece incredibly reflective rather than highly entertained, and it was refreshing.
Joe Ink also puts on a program called Move It! - “a dancing experience for everybody, helping participants discover their natural impulse to move and groove.” which I’m very interested in.
Joe: A Solo Show is playing at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre until 20 October 2018.
Tickets at: https://www.thedancecentre.ca/event/joe_a_solo_show_october_18_20_2018
~ reviewed by Chantal M. Marie
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Founded by Danielle Benzon, a self-professed theatre addict.