Voix de Ville Extravaganzo
Photo’s by Lauren Garbutt
Story by Natalie Worden
Voix de Ville - Extravagonzo is the Niagara Artist Centre’s newest reincarnation of the STRUTT Wearable Art show. Known as the “Cultural Party of the Year”, Voix de Ville is not your average live show. The show brings acrobatics, dance, theatre, music, and comedy together into one big community-produced event.
We asked Stephen Remus and Natasha Pedros of the Niagara Artists Centre to give us some insight into this cohesive experience:
“We'd been seeing the STRUTT Wearable Art Show move toward more of a vaudeville show for some time, the wearable art was at the centre of it, but music, performance, dance, moving image, acrobatics; all of those things were becoming a bigger part every year. When we got the chance to move into the PAC, we knew that going from runway to stage would make the transformation to vaudeville complete. We're calling it Voix de Ville because that's the New Orleans origin of vaudeville. It means voice of the town. That's also what we like to think of this show as, an event where our community pulls together and shows-off all the crazy things what we're capable of doing.”
In addition to the community’s involvement, this show calls upon one of Canada’s comedic geniuses, Bruce McCulloch of Kids In The Hall.
“He has a killer one-man show called Young Drunk Punk, so we're able to slide some of that hilarity into the show and if you're looking for an MC who could roll with whatever madness traipses across that stage, we knew we couldn't do better than the funniest Kid in the Hall. It was Dee's idea (Stage Director of Voix de Ville from the Suitcase In Point Theatre Company), I think she had some kind of out of body experience when the inspiration hit.”
The Niagara Artists Centre is proud of their ability to connect with members of the St. Catharines community for support and involvement in their events. “A big part of the community's connection is how many people get in on making it happen, it takes a village and then they offer it up for the city to take in”, says Remus. And with the show’s constant surprises and innovative concepts, it’s no wonder there’s so much support!
It’s easy to see that Voix de Ville and previous STRUTT reincarnations are standalone events in the field of art. The show has developed from an art fashion show to a mix-media opulent experience.
“We've been moving away from the fashion tip with this show for a long time. As always there's incredible visual expression and expertise in the wearable art that's in the show but I'd characterize it as embracing the absurd, doing what it can to build little moments of transcendence into the show. In that regard, I think it's left the fashion world way behind. There's also a whole breadth of artistic talent in on this thing: set designers and builders, dancers, acrobats, theatre performers, musicians, comedians--all taking aim at entertaining and astonishing audiences. At NAC we like to think that the truly artistic aspect of the show is the social cohesion that it takes to pull it all off, it's like community sculpture.”
For those of you who are going to be witnessing this spectacle for the first time, the Niagara Artists Centre has some advice: “You really only need two attributes to get in on it: you have to love a party and you have to love a party. I guess that's one attribute but it needs to be doubled up.”
Voix de Ville – Extravagonzo will be performed at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre on the following dates:
Friday Nov. 18th at 7:00pm
Saturday Nov. 19th at 7:00pm, and again at 9:30pm
And hey, if that wasn’t enough of a party for you, there are two after parties being held at the Robertson Theatre after the 7:00pm Friday show and after the 9:30pm Saturday show.
Go to www.voixdeville.ca for more information on how to get in on all the fun!