REVIEW | Artifact Traffic: multidisciplinary storytelling performance


Daina Ashbee roiled and sinewed herself crossing the stage floor more amphibian-like than human, breathing thick water from low or pawing the air for a gulp of oxygen, during her first dance performance on the stage of Intermedia Arts.  Phil Fried voiced her actions through his electric bass, the audible brother to her physical sister.  Two more dances choreographed by Rosy Simas and danced by Ashbee were accompanied by Fried bringing happy cheers from the audience. 

Opening night of Artifact Traffic, a performance that is part of the Indigenous Voices Series in conjunction with Pangea World Theater and Intermedia Arts Presents, played to a packed house on November 15. 

Directed by Heid Erdrich and R. Vincent Moniz, Jr., the show had the feel of a hanging out with buddies while they played with you during recess to entertain you.  Yet, inside the entertainment is a powerful awareness. In the program, Erdrich and Moniz  said, “The performance is a collage made up of collaborative works that contain the artifacts of images, ideas, and influences shared between artists, across artistic genres.”

Erdrich’s “Indigenous Elvis” was a series of quick, almost improv skits, involving what would happen if a 911 call came into the center and Elvis, as in Presley but this time an Indigenous man and his response came in the answer of an Elvis song to suit the situation. 

Margaret Noodin lulled blues songs in Anishinaabe, to Briand Morrison’s deft finger style guitar work, and sang Heid Erdrich’s poem, “The Clouds,” in Anishinaabe.

Stuart “Big S2” Perkins and R. Vincent Moniz, Jr. showed their chops as versatile performers, ranging from serious poets to silly dressed bit characters in a collaborative piece, “Pawn Shop.” When Moniz, Jr. donned a set of fragile wings, dream flying round the stage, versing his heart’s wishes, the audience flew with him under his wing.

Without titles or introductions of the works to frame the artist’s intention, the audience had to guess at what the intention to be conveyed was. Perhaps as in Stuart Big S2 Perkins’ poem, it is, “yesterday is over-tomorrow never comes-today my heart beats likes the drum.”

The show runs Saturday, November 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 17 at 4:00 pm. A visual art show in the lobby is in conjunction with the performance art.

This is one of a number of articles produced by student interns at the TC Daily Planet.