Every July, the Regina International Fringe Theatre Festival hosts five days of drama, dance, comedy, magic and theatre. This event brings in performers from around the world, and every show is vastly different from the next. This form of abstract thought is something that is so diverse – so orthodoxly perverse – that there are no limits to what it might create.
This is what Devon More's performance Hits Like A Girl intends to explore. Abstract thought is the very essence of creativity, but what happens if you lose the ability to use it? Without the boundaries of normalcy, there is no fringe; and without fringe, there is no normalcy.
Hits Like a Girl is an autobiographical performance that follows More's true story on how she found out she had a brain injury – and what that means to her as a creative individual. Having any kind of injury can be transformative, but one that controls how you think, how you process information, and how you experience the world around you, is life-changing.
"I'm very fortunate that now, years later, I can approach this journey as a rich source of creative fascination. But there is also something universal here: everyone must navigate the gulf between what goes on inside our own heads and what the outside world perceives," More explains.
More began her journey into music and theatre when she was a young child growing up in Kamloops, but as she got older, she realized she needed a way to express this creativity for her own mental wellbeing. She started off with a guitar, but now plays a loop pedal, which allows her to play any instrument she wants.
Hits Like a Girl strives to "stimulate both hemispheres of the brain", all the while asking the audience to contemplate "consciousness, concussions, and cottonwood trees". Although it might be difficult to understand exactly what that means, that's probably the point – after all, it is abstract thought.
More's performance has a lot of moving parts, and she has been working on it for over a year. From walking through the performance, to rewriting, preview reading, editing and composing, there is a lot of work needed to put on a show like this – especially by yourself! Hits Like A Girl is a one-woman show, and More isn't afraid to pull any punches to show it. Although this is her fourth solo show, it is her first time at the Regina International Fringe Theatre Festival, and she'll be performing five shows in five days. Each one, she promises, will be growing and expanding on the last.
When More isn't performing solo, she's the guitarist and main frontwoman for Hang Lucy, a Vancouver-based "punk pop indie rock power trio". She also plays in Flute Loops, a CBC Critics Pick at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival in 2018. She was also named one of 2018's "People who made an impact in the arts in New Westminster" for her work as the founder and Creative Producer of Way Off-Broadway Wednesday.
Back home in Vancouver, More cycles, surfs, spends time with her nieces and nephews, and does her never-ending boring, but necessary, administrative work.
It's a lot of work being your own manager and agent, but More loves it. For her, the best part is the connection between audience and artist. She says she will cross paths with audience members later in the festival, meet in a tent for a beer a few days later, and discuss the different shows and performances. Meeting new people, sharing stories, entertaining and making music is all the things she loves the most.
More will be performing Hits Like a Girl at the Unitarian Fellowship Church on 2700 College Avenue on July 10 at 5:15PM, July 11 at 7PM, July 12 at 6:30PM, July 13 at 6:45PM and July 14 at 1:30PM.
Other performances at RIFF include Adventures While Black In Great Britain, David G Grade 3: The Hell Of Growing Up Catholic In Regina, How I Murdered My Mother and Slow Dancing With Mediocre Boys. You can also come to the Preview Night on July 9 where you can see a snippet of all the performances to come for $10. You can see more on the RIFF website.
Will you be attending the Regina International Fringe Theatre Festival? Will you be going to Devon More'sHits Like A Girl? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Imagine the bustling streets of New York, then times it by ten. Add a dash of Chinese culture, a wallop of nature and half dozen fish balls that don’t actually contain any fish, and you have the beautiful city that is Hong Kong.
At 7.2 million people, Hong Kong is a dynamic city with an incredible history, towering skyscrapers and a unique mix of English and Chinese that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. While Hong Kong has existed for a millennium, it was officially founded in 1842 to solidify a truce between Great Britain and the Qing dynasty of China during the First Opium War. A decade after the British took control of Hong Kong, the Black Death swept into China, killing hundreds of thousands of people. It would remain part of Hong Kong’s life for a century.
During World War II, Hong Kong was captured by the Japanese. For three years and eight months the British-Chinese culture of the city was destroyed, replaced with Japanese text, language and art. The booming city of 1.6 million people was slashed to only 600,000. Japanese occupation was incredibly harsh for the Hongkongese, being the darkest part of their history. Japan ceased occupation on August 6th, 1945, in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For forty-two more years, Hong Kong was controlled by the British, with the reunification between Hong Kong and mainland China finally occurring in 1997.
Long before I started my blog, many, many years ago, I visited Innsbruck, Austria. I was on a Contiki trip through Europe and visited a plethora of locations such as Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Lucerne and Innsbruck, just to name a few. It was an incredible experience and one that I think was a transformative moment in my life.
Off the record (or, on the record now, I guess), of all the places I visited, the only one I didn't like was Innsbruck. I couldn't get into it. We visited it in late March, so the weather wasn't the best. The trees didn't have any leaves on them, the grass was brown, and everything had a post-winter grey look to it. After visiting Munich and spending the night in St. Goar, my mind wasn't thinking about Innsbruck at all. Instead, I was more excited to go to Venice the next day, and the Vatican the day after that. My time in Innsbruck was uneventful, and all I wanted was to get back on the road.
That was in 2011, and now it's 2018. Has my opinion on Innsbruck changed? I would say yes. I'm more mature now and if I went back, I would better appreciate what I was seeing. As I've gotten older, I've been less impressed by the massive buildings and more enthralled by the history that created them.
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.