The Genius Code hits the Edmonton theatre scene with a burst of edgy romanticism
We asked Jon Lachlan Stewart to describe his work in five words and he used both "Intense" and "Intensely" to get the job done so, if you're wondering whether or not The Genius Code is meant to move you in tornado-like spins, the answer is absolutely.
Certainly, as a writer, actor, director and producer, Stewart works with the intensity of a summer storm. Born in Edmonton and a recent graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, Stewart is one of our favourite young Canadian artists. His love for the theatrical medium swallows his shows, making them fabulous experiences, whole productions, generous, generous pieces of absolute performance art.
With his company Surreal SoReal Theatre (2004), Stewart has been touring the country, performing in mostly new works which are meant to challenge and engage the audience via physical and technological innovation. This past January, we were lucky enough to catch Stewart in his most recent solo show Big Shot in Montreal's Wild Side Festival at Centaur Theatre. The piece was captivating from moment to end. Not a single detail of narrative was missed. Most notable, and as testament to Surreal SoReal's mission, the show relied on a tight marriage between design, performance and writing. The audience experience was the best kind of dizzying and everyone left sweaty with delight. Stewart's work jumped from the page to the stage in a (yes, that word) intense delicacy of theatre.
Stewart's newest work The Genius Code (Catalyst Theatre) is its own unique theatrical experience. Audience members are each given a set of headphones and are able to choose which of three characters to follow throughout the show. A step away from his normal work, this piece is more personal than usual for Stewart as he studies romance and tragedy based on past experiences from his own life. The "real" nature of the work reflects Stewart's current writing focus as he states "everything I write now just has to be personal or I don’t want to write it." Perhaps more of a stretch for him, the show relies heavily on technology and major trust and collaboration with designers. The result is an intimate, dark and complex exposure of the inner lives of Stewart's characters. The marriage between dazzling technology and very honest story-crafting makes for an intelligent game of love played by the smart and vulnerable characters conjured by Stewart.
Coming up for Stewart, is another solo show, that he is working on with Georgina Beaty. You can catch The Genius Code at Catalyst Theatre running until June 8.
More information here.