aux.la.more by Kara Nolte
Reflections by GVPTA blogger Kaylin Metchie
A typical Vancouver Fringe setting: a multipurpose room retro-fitted with black curtains on the windows to block out light, a handful of occupied folding chairs arranged in rows, and an air of expectation of what’s to come. I had no idea what to expect from aux.la.more, preferring these days to go into a theatrical experience blind and without influence.
aux.la.more is like a first date. Strange and beautiful, welcoming and yet odd all at the same time. It begins with Kara Nolte facing away from the audience, bathed in a low blue light and swaying to music only heard by Kara herself. Like the beginning of a first date, where you present just a dash of who you are, still unsure of the person sitting across from you. When Kara finally does turn to the audience, she tells us that her mission for this piece is to turn the solo into a duet, to get someone from the audience up out of their seats to dance with her. The piece moves towards an unknown, “Will someone in the audience join her on stage or will she be left up there all alone?” Much like the unknown of a first date, neither party knowing whether by the end of those drinks they will be parting their separate ways or joining each other in a duet of life.
As the performance progresses, Kara opens herself to the audience, allowing us a glimpse, albeit brief, into who this twinkling voiced dancer is. Like how her love of karaoke, especially Sunday night karaoke at a specific Main and Hastings dive bar, allows her to continue to connect with a destructive moment in her life that she has moved away from.
Kara’s sojourns of exposition gave this contemporary dance piece roots in the real world. At times, contemporary theatre or art can get trapped in a cycle self-aggrandizing, moving so far away from the tangible world that it pushes the audience away as second class. aux.la.more feels real, feels grounded.
This is the epitome of what the Fringe should be: non-mainstream artists sharing their passions and talents with a captivated audience. It makes you feel safe and still question the surrounding world.
Kara as a performer is incredibly engaging. The piece is deceptively simple, a solo dancer on an empty stage. But writhing just beneath, a story about connecting to those around us.
aux.la.more runs during the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and plays for two more shows at False Creek Gym September 11 (4:30pm) and 13 (9:30pm).
Tickets and information at tickets.vancouverfringe.com