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Nova Scotia performance artist Aaron Collier describes his latest show Frequencies as mixed-reality musical storytelling.
This 70-minute, wildly personal and queerly playful performance piece is part of Lethbridge’s Theatre Outre’s 16th annual Quaint, Quirky & Queer Festival, which runs online Feb. 18-21.
Collier says there is a science fiction feel to Frequencies.
“The play is set in 1981, the year I was born and is meant to paint a picture of my family before I was born. I was always curious about my family and certain connections within the family,” says Collier, adding that “I thought a lot about these kinds of things when I was a child.”
One of the central focuses of Frequencies is someone in Collier’s family he never got the chance to meet because that person passed away before he was born. “I want the audience to discover this person through the storytelling and simultaneously with me.”
Also drawn from personal experience is a recurring dream that Collier has had for as long as he can remember. “I have an exceptional design team working with me on Frequencies and they have created the dream so I can share it.”
Collier is a highly regarded Maritime electronic musician and composer and, through Frequencies, he explains why he created this particular music and what it means because, in this case, it is an integral part of his storytelling.
In Frequencies, Collier shares the stage with Sylvia Bell.
“Sylvia is my scene partner. She is wearing a virtual reality headset with a camera attached to its front. She is the eye of the audience. What Sylvia looks at is what the audience sees. She helps me bring the audience into my headspace.”
Collier began playing music as a child and instead of going to university, he joined Halifax’s Jimmy Swift Band, an indie rock band and toured Canada and the world for 12 years.
“I left the band to explore theatre which has been my new passion for the past 10 years. Between 2012 and 2016, I lived and worked in Lethbridge, which is how I became involved with Theatre Outre and why I am excited to premiere Frequencies through this year’s Quaint, Quirky and Queer Festival.”
Frequencies, which Collier wrote with Stewart Legere and Francesca Ekwuyasi, is a live-streamed event directed by Ann-Marie Kerr and will run nightly with added matinees Feb. 18-21.
The festival kicks off on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. with a reading of Outre’s artistic director Jay Whitehead’s new play, 333, which looks at the infamous bathhouse raids in Toronto in the 1980s. The tragic events are viewed through the eyes of a young bathhouse employee, a closeted married man from Calgary, and a proud older queen.
On Feb. 20 at 8 p.m., there will be a cabaret celebrating queer artists and their work in dance, poetry, music and theatre.
Single tickets and a festival pass are available at theatreoutre.ca and there are prices available for all budgets. Links will be sent to ticketholders before each event.