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A different kind of theatre

The Fusion Project provides students with a unique opportunity to use their creativity

Dietrich Neu
Features Editor

Fusion Project: By Candlelight
Globe Theatre
March 21 – 24
7:30 p.m.
$20

The Globe Theatre’s Fusion Project is combining innovative multimedia and directorial techniques to provide viewers with a unique theatre experience, while also providing young actors with distinctive learning opportunity.

Fusion, which started Wednesday and is scheduled to run until Saturday, is a yearly offering by the Globe Theatre that highlights the creative talent of a seven 16- to 19-year-old drama students looking to flex their creative muscles in the realms of acting, directing, and playwriting.

Diverting from the structure of a typical play, the Fusion Project provides young creative talent with the opportunity to create their own show from the ground up, writing scripts, blocking scenes, and working to create a cohesive narrative while pooling all of their ideas together.

“What collaborative creation is about is everyone having ownership over the work,” said Judy Wensel, a former Fusion cast member and co-director of this year’s production. “The script is not coming from a playwright, the whole show is not coming from the directors, so there is certainly this wonderful sense of confidence that the Fusion process builds in young artists.

“The ideas are coming from them, the words are coming from them, and as directors we just take those ideas and fine tune them.”

The Fusion cast is a collection of drama students who auditioned for their roles and were selected based on their ability to pool their talents and work as a group. One of those cast members is Dalton Danaher, a first-year education student at the U of R with a minor in drama. Danaher has been involved in drama and theatre for most of his life and this year will be his second go-around in the Fusion Project. As he puts it, the Fusion Project is something new and exciting to the Saskatchewan drama scene.

“I think it is really unique and something that is new to acting and contemporary theatre,” he said. “It is our own creation, our own play, that we are attached to. We have all put out lives together and put our heads together to create a good play.”

This year’s the production, Fusion Project: By Candlelight, will feature the use of multimedia techniques, such as projections and a live video feed, alongside the more traditional acting that you would expect from a piece of theatre. Although both Wensel and Danaher were reluctant to give up details on the show itself, they did reveal that the production will have an element of “hypnosis” to change and affect the way that the cast members act and how the audience views them.

While in previous years the production has essentially been a collage of different scenes centred on an overarching theme, this year Wensel and her directing partner Daniel Maslany have encouraged the students to create a cohesive narrative. According to Danaher, both directors provided the students with a starting block of ideas and key words that they then used to create the plot and theme.

This year, the students have created a tale that focuses on a town completely shrouded in darkness, forcing the residents to use candle sticks at all times to illuminate the world around them. According to Wensel, something “sinister” is taking place in the town and several people have gone missing.

“I’m really excited to see what the audience takes away from it,” she said.

Although from the audiences perspective, the Fusion Project is simply a piece of theatre, for the production team it is a teaching and learning experience that Wensel hopes will have a lasting impression.

“Daniel and I were both Fusion ensemble members when we were teenagers,” she said. “For us it was such a shaping experience, and it really launched us into the work that we are doing today as professional artists.

“I have every hope that it will continue that trend for [our students].”

As far as Danaher is concerned, his experience with the Fusion Project has had an impact.

“It has taught me a great deal about different forms of drama,” he said. “It is a lot different than anything I had taken in high school, such as improve or school productions where you are handed a script. So this is a different way of performing and acting.

“Fusion has taught me a lot and I do consider myself to be a better actor because of it. I think that if there are other people who are looking to pursue this type of thing, they would really benefit from working in Fusion.”

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