The Cultch continued its online season this weekend, with The Cave. Part of its Music Box, 4th in The Cultch Subscription Box Series, J Mar Electric’s The Cave, is conceived by Martha Ross, John Millard, and Tomson Highway. The Cave in question is Bear’s Cave, a refuge for a host of woodland creatures escaping the ravages of a forest fire tearing though their home.
In this livestream, recorded pre-covid at the 2019 Luminato Festival, the audience and viewers first meet MC John Millard, who along with the band, guide us through the evening of song. The occupants of The Cave take turns introducing themselves and their story in a series of cabaret performances, in both English and Cree. Through the song and narration, we learn about the interactions and lives of these diverse species who are being forced out of their homes by fire and climate change. With the simplest of sets, and minimal costumes performers Alex Samaras, Derek Kwan, Neema Bickersteth, and Andrea Koziol brilliantly breathe life into these animals who are fighting for breath as The Cave fills with smoke from the fire beyond.
John Millard’s catchy melodies and Tomson Highways clever and thoughtful lyrics allow the environmental message to impact the audience by putting them in the footsteps of the animals. This gives a deeper perspective to the damage of forest fires and climate change than what we see (now almost annually) from news footage. People can evacuate, the animals cannot, nor can they just rebuild after the fire is gone.
As with all of The Cultch’s online series so far, The Cave livestream was filmed in a way that maintained the intimacy of the theatre, and watching a performance that had a cabaret audience, viewers could put ourselves in the position of both the audience and performers. In the post-show talkback the creators stated how they hope to continue to bring this work of activist art to audiences after the pandemic, so hopefully we will get the opportunity to witness the show live on tour at The Cultch in the near future.
The Cultch Music Box Subscription Series continues with the remount of do you want what i have got? a craigslist cantata, streamed live from the Historic Theatre, February 5-7, 2021