The Land of F*** by The Dietrich Group

Toronto based choreographer and director DA Hoskins had his newest work premier on an unexpected Spring-blizzard filled evening. The Land of **** (your favorite F-Word that your mother always said you should never utter)  is sure to make a few conservatives coil whilst allowing the more liberal crowd another excuse to get out of the house and experience something fresh. The show is the fourth offering from The Dietrich Group, a company Hoskins founded in 2008 with dancers Brendan Wyatt and Danielle Baskerville. It is made up of an ever changing collection of multidisciplinary performers which combine their passions of dance, theatre and film to inspire  their audiences.

The Land of Fuck features ten Toronto artists who reveal a lot more than their passion for dance on stage. As the title might suggest, audiences should prepare for plenty of nudity and the exploration of what **** means to all of us as individuals. It is clear that Hoskins wants his audience to use his show as an opportunity to examine the public’s preconceptions around the word “fuck” and why such an essential human act is considered so offensive.

The show is housed in the Workman Arts Theater, a space perfectly suited for its performers. The show starts with a line of yellow chairs in a row along a white painted wall covered by a half moon dome. The audience is immediately overwhelmed with chaos and excitement as the performers race through the space, clambering through several garage doors that flank the stage. One immediately gets a sense of how this show is going to play out. Time and space hover in limbo as each individual has their own independent moment of ecstasy which is quickly channeled by ecstatic moments of togetherness.

The Land of Fuck is filled with nuisances of Bjork’s Medulla album a la throat singing guttural intensity and certain scenes hit the gut with the panache of Mathew Barney. The landscape and orientation of several of the vignettes also reminded me of works by masters Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman.

Performers improvise their roles with great fluidity and seem to work together as one organism. From one scene to the next the  audience is exposed to the notion of sexual orientation as a sliding scale, petrified eroticism and human beings as orgasmic totems. As the piece progresses one can’t help but tap their companion with an eye brow raised and grin on their face. Simply wondering who will shed their cloths and use only their body as instrument.

The dancers are a great success. From stellar tap to manic modernism this show embodies the dynamic whimsy of The Nude.  I was such a fan of all of the performers in this show that I immediately thought to myself, “If these characters on stage were action figures I would want to collect them all.” After seeing the Land of Fuck you will perhaps never look at another French Horn or piece of parchment the same way again.  Prepare yourself to be Blown and Torn.

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