Review: My Heart is a Spoon – First Incarnation (Across Oceans)

My Heart is a Spoon is a work in progress in development at The Theatre Centre in Toronto with its first incarnation showing January 19 – 22.

What is rage? How do you express it and where does it come from? How does it affect you? Where does it affect you? This is what My Heart is a Spoon (produced by Across Oceans) explores through the use of dance and movement, music, vocalized sound, lights and projected manga imagery on the walls and floor.

The performance stars two phenomenal dancers, Takako Segawa (who looks like she stepped out of a manga comic herself) and Gerry Trentham and is choreographed by Maxine Heppner. Inspiration for this show came from a profound fascination with the manga art form, how the art seems unconfined by convention and leaps off the page, pulsating with an energy and heartbeat all its own, possessing their own sense of rage.

The show starts with Takako on stage, dancing away to a series of manga images shifting along the wall, the lights are bright, colourful LEDs flashing rhythmically along with the music and her movements. A good point to keep in mind is that strobe lights are used throughout the performance. It’s interesting to note that not all the scenes come from a raw, passionate anger infused state and some scenes range from joyful and light hearted to moody and introspective. The idea is that rage can escalate from any given point of emotional state.

Brown paper in the forms of origami creatures, wrapping, banners and brush work are used throughout the performance as a throw to the medium by which manga is enjoyed throughout the world. Paper, that is a form that is visceral, mutually hard and soft, tangible and a direct juxtaposition to the virtual projections that captivate the crowd.

The projections are something else and easily captivate the mind and eye sometimes even away from the dancers on stage. The images range from school kids, character profiles, action scenes taken from comics with the dialogue bubbles coloured out, to original drawings from artist Alex Moakler. As the projections leap off the walls and onto the floor, the crowd shifts to the edges of their seats drawn in by images of koi fish materializing in a pond circling lazily around.

The show ended with a question and answer portion allowing the cast and crew to interact with the audience to gain their interpretations, questions and clarify scenes and gestures in order to iron out scenes and make edits before their official debut. It became a great and rare opportunity to hear from the choreographer, light, art and sound directors and dancers their experiences with this creation.

My Heart is a Spoon is a tremendous show that I felt privileged to see in its raw form and look forward to attending once more when it officially opens.


– My Heart is a Spoon is showing at The Theatre Centre on January 19 – 22.
– Performances are at 7:30 pm with a Sunday matinee at 2 pm.
– Tickets are $25 and $20 for students and can be purchased online at TOTix.

Photo of  Takako Segawa and Gerry Trentham by Cylla von Tiedermann.