Thursday, August 18, 2016

Recording: Zoo Owl

Artist: Zoo Owl

Song: unknown*

Recorded at Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement (SummerWorks: Goggles Must Be Worn at All Times), August 11, 2016.

Zoo Owl - unknown

Outside, the weather was as hot and muggy as a rainforest, which felt like an extra bit of stage dressing, as a coastal rainforest is the Zoo Owl's preferred environment. Inside, the theatre was dressed to suggest a scientist's hidden bunker, the setting of an unorthodox "product demo", including Zoo Owl's signature glowing goggles. Mixing his aw-shucks keenness with some slightly-menacing undertones (including maximal corporate surveillance) this felt like the origin story of a mad scientist, flashing back to his days as an idealistic youthful do-gooder before some Terrible Accident sent him down the Wrong Path.

A deeply cinematic thinker, one gets the impression that this is the show that is going on in Bryan Sutherland's head every time he takes the stage. Here, it was enhanced into a true production that included three assistants dashing about to do his bidding with leaf-blowing "crowd scanners" and later a giant, spinning illuminated wheel. There were protagonists as well, including a red-eyed Nemesis and the mysterious Moss Man. Like a summer blockbuster film, the whole thing was a bit narratively thin but its constant momentum meant that while it plowed ahead there was no time to worry whether the underlying story hung together. Taken as a situation with these characters in this particular bunker, it made a weird kind of sense. And like a summer blockbuster, one gets the impression that a sequel could bring twice the spectacle.

* Does anyone know the title to this one? Please leave a comment!

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