Desiccated (Aria Evans – The Go To Company) / LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 (Alicia Grant) 2015 SummerWorks Review

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One of the best things about SummerWorks is the chance to experience various types of theatre for a reasonable admission price. Even better, is the fact that there are quite a few double bills on this year’s playbill. That’s right, two shows for the price of one. I had the chance to see Desiccated and LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 Saturday afternoon.

And although both productions shared the same ticket, they could not have been any more different.


Desiccated is a thoughtful and provocative multi-disciplinary work that examines the misuse and mistreatment of the world’s oceans.

The name of the play is also quite an appropriate choice, literally meaning ‘to dry up’. This theme is supported by the imagery and the movement choices that drew strong parallels to how fluid yet fragile our oceans really are.

The talented trio of Jesse Dell, Ana Groppler and Mateo Torres weave a mesmerizing narrative with each and every movement, brought to life by the eerily beautiful vocal accompaniment of Amir Brandon. The choreography is so fluid that it almost seems like they were legitimately moving underwater. Crisp lines and seamless interpersonal interaction perfectly set the scene for an emotional tale of tragedy and loss.

The set itself is almost entirely comprised of plastic water bottles, which not only create a stunning semi-transparent lighting effect, but also play an important part of the narrative structure. In one moment, the dancers become entangled in a chain of the plastic bottles. It is during this time that they give a compelling pantomime of struggling to their demise, much like the same way that many aquatic lifeforms are unnecessarily being harmed by ocean-wide pollution.

I really loved Desiccated for its powerful message and flawless execution, and have no hesitation placing it amongst my all-time favourite SummerWorks dance productions.


Have you ever walked out of a venue and wondered what you just watched? That’s exactly how I felt after viewing LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0.

The promo text describes this production as an “all-out, take a dump catharsis brought to you by Alicia Grant in collaboration with Ellen Furey. They will develop methods for resistance and resilience through dance moves and life moves.”

In reality, here’s how the production actually went down:

Two young women wrap themselves in bed sheets, prance around the stage for about half an hour and rearrange props for no discernable reason. Oh, sometimes they also scream and bark like a dog for the hell of it.

I’m actually quite a fan of abstract and experimental dance pieces, but there really wasn’t much dance going on – unless you count the last 10 minutes when the performers stand up on a pedestal and gyrate  to some club-ish dance music.

The duo also seemed enamoured with awkwardly staring down random audience members to illicit easy laughs. It seemed to work the first few times, but after the 10th, 20th time, the novelty had completely run out.

Maybe I just didn’t get it.

But without any semblance of story, message or purpose, understanding the motive or meaning behind this piece was just not in the cards. At least only a few people walked out.


Desiccated and LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 are currently playing as a double feature at The Theatre Centre Mainspace (1115 Queen Street West).

Remaining Show Times

Sunday, August 9th: 6:45 PM

All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at, by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, or in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at SummerWorks Central Box Office at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 4-16 from 10 AM – 7 PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee).

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.

Photo Credit:  rockitpromo

One thought on “Desiccated (Aria Evans – The Go To Company) / LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 (Alicia Grant) 2015 SummerWorks Review”

  1. I was really nervous for the second piece after I read your review but you were right: you didn’t get it. Did you not notice that the dancers were slowly covering up their bodies when they were staring down the audience? What did you make of the chattering young man holding a “whoops” sign while a silent woman dragged her body across the stage? How about the mirror reflecting yourself back to you as you watched them “gyrating” (which looked to me more like a mechanical effort to keep dancing)? Contemporary dance is hard sometimes, but I feel like you made up your mind about this one early on and then refused to engage with it.

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