How do you get an audience to purposely not see you? In For Eden, Chelsea Haraburda does this by inviting the audience into a multimedia performance space for eighteen intense minutes.
Around the performance area, there are a number copies of an interview with a homeless youth. Haraburda sits on the floor and tries to sell her art for five bucks to anyone who will talk to her.
On a wall, there's a video dealing with homelessness in Hamilton, and there's also a poetic, paper sculpture made of material about homelessness and the Living Rock Ministries in one of the corners. The Living Rock Ministries is a safe place for youth-at-risk within walking distance of the performance space.
Once the audience is adjusted and able to ignore Haraburda, she springs to life in subtle ways building in crescendo to the piece's finale. No one can ignore the ending.
I tried to reach out to the artistic team to understand better the motivation behind the piece, but as of yet, I have not heard anything. I can only surmise from the title that of the piece is dedicated to an Eden who was or is connected to the Living Rock Ministries in some manner. This is only a guess.
Is this theatre? Is it performance art? Is it political activism? I'm not sure it matters how this piece is categorized. It's really not like anything else you're likely to see at this fringe or any other.
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