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Freya Björg Olafson’s Avatar

By Apartment613 on April 29, 2011

Inspired by the idea of an interdisciplinary performance involving James Cameron’s ‘Avatar,” Winnipeg’s Freya Björg Olafson’s show of the same name – a one-hour “duet with technology” – was a reflective and innovative piece.  This solo show engaged with sound, video and movement (primarily modern dance) to the mantra of “I post therefore I am.” It was an attempt to reflect the interwebs-obsessed society we live in and the way we legitimize our existence in the virtual world by blogging, vlogging, podcasting and engaging in other hedonistic forms of social media.

In theperformance, Olafson creates her own ghoulish Avatar, who we come to know as “Avastar,” by painting her body and face onstage to resemble a mixture of Marilyn Monroe and a terrifying drag queen. Olafson’s exaggerated movements express the tangled web of feeling trapped in a virtual cage (or screen) of emotion. She succeeds in capturing the difficult essence of a solid interdisciplinary performance through her use of physical theatre and audio-visual technology. Her improv skills were lackluster, however, when she tried to engage the audience with open-floor questions like, “Who will you vote for?” and “What is the meaning of life” – questions she asked because she “did not want to offend anyone.” Although this could be part of the shy college character she was portraying, as an end to a well-created work, it left more to be desired. –Lauryn Kronick

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