Review: Walk When You Walk (The Theatre Centre)

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An interactive story exploring a journey to Shikoku, Japan, Walk When You Walk played at Toronto’s Theatre Centre

A two-hour contemplative walk, a sharing of perspectives and koans, making and eating rice balls and learning about the self was one part of the Tracy Wright Global Archive project. Beginning at The Theatre Centre, we stepped into the mind of well-known Butoh artist Denise Fujiwara, as she took us back into her own journey of travelling to the 88 Temples Pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku, Japan.

I have never experienced a show that first began with a purposeful meditative walk and ended with a cooking lesson on how-to make Japanese rice balls. The small intimate group of attendees gathered in front of The Theatre Centre and we were introduced to koans and ground rules. Suddenly, time seemed to expand as we were asked to turn around slowly taking three minutes. “What a luxury,” explained Fujiwara as we completed the three minute turn. It really was. How many of us take three minutes to just hear, feel, see the sights that surround us?

In that present state of mind, Fujiwara takes us to several interesting locations, all in the heart of Queen st. west. I realized as we did this walk that I didn’t know my city as well as I would like to. I think many of us move from one place to another at such a speed that taking in those quite moments to understand the beauty of where we are is often missed.

There were moments where I felt lost as we moved from one unknown street to another. Fujiwara explains this with a koan she received in Japan. ‘Not knowing, is most intimate.’ Though we struggle and resist initially because we feel lost there is a point when we let go and find our deepest selves in the not knowing.

The Tracy Wright Global Archive project is a brilliant idea! An experiential show that makes you feel like you are travelling along with the artist. I’ve always loved the Japan culture including the food, so to add on the component of making rice balls after was a real treat! By the end of our three hour gathering, other attendees were wishing for more Saturday mornings to be like Fujiwara’s Walk When You Walk. I have to say, I completely agree!


Photo provided by company