Choreographer Petra O’Toole brings Obsession to the Atlantic Fringe Festival, which is like a very short play, or the early stages of one, with an extended dance sequence melded into it to help dramatically express the intense emotions of our protagonist.

According to the notes in the Fringe guide this 25 minute piece is a “first glimpse” of a new work that is in development by O’Toole with Vivika Ballard. It feels very early in the process for these artists, but the work that is being presented here is visually fascinating and I am very intrigued at the direction that this work will take in its future incarnations.

The strongest aspect of this piece is certainly the dance. Even though the space in The Living Room feels a bit restrictive, that only adds to the feeling that our protagonist is trapped in dire anguish. The stakes here are wonderfully high and Ballard’s movements are at times chilling and at times beautiful.

Since the dialogue between the protagonist, Dalia, and her brother in law, Jason, is so short it is difficult for these characters to find depth without dancing, but presumably that is one aspect of the piece that will be further developed. The one thing that I found a little confusing was that in the first three images of the characters and their relationships I got the very clear impression of a love triangle between the two sisters and the brother in law and then when it was revealed that actually Jason and Dalia’s relationship was far more ambiguous I wasn’t sure where that definitive image had come from. Was the Opening Sequence in Dalia’s imagination and fantasy or had Jason’s feelings toward her changed and if so, why?

A girl dancing while essentially chained to a wall is an immediately strong image and I look forward to seeing what shape this piece takes in the future.


Obsession plays at The Living Room (2353 Agricola Street) at the following times:

Wednesday September 5th at 8:00pm

Thursday September 6th at 6:30pm

Friday September 7th at 8:15pm

Saturday September 8th at 9:00pm

Sunday September 9th at 6:30pm

It is $5.00; to book tickets please visit this website or call (902) 999-7469 or visit the Box Office at the Seaport Farmers’ Market at Pavilion 20 on Marginal Road. Tickets are also available at the venue ONE hour before the show. Happy Fringe!

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