Tuxedo resident Jolene Bailie just wrapped up a successful stint at this year’s Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
Bailie’s production All You Can Eat/The Top? challenged viewers to consider the role they play in both their own lives and also on a larger scale.
"It’s about really our day-to-day lives, butted up against real life, big catastrophes. And sort of questioning on how do we find a way in, does it matter, should we do anything, should we not do anything? It poses a lot of questions," said Bailie, 36. "The goal of the piece, in a way, is not only to explore these things through dance and theatre, but to give each audience member their own experience and take on it. It is a contemporary art form, so not all of the answers are given."
The concept, choreography, costumes, props and most visuals for the show were all conceptualized and designed by Bailie, who says many aspects of the show were inspired by very recent world events.
"I’m a little bit of a news junkie. So, just knowing about all of these things going on in the world, and what can you really do but be aware, and try to do something, even if it’s little. So it’s sort of about just being overwhelmed by all of this stuff," she said.
"I’d like (people) to just consider how they might be able to find a way into anything. We all see wrongdoings happening all of the time. Do we step in, don’t we step in, once you’re involved, you’re involved; how can you sort of help these wrongdoings become extinct without you having to jump in and be immersed in it?
"Are there things you can be doing not just to support mindless, unnecessary things happening, without it having to be like, ‘Now this is what my life is about.’ How can we have a lifestyle that supports positive change, but we can also meet our goals?"
Incorporating a number of different striking visuals — including putting 2,500 disposable cups to use — Bailie says the reception to her show this year was great, and hopes audience members took something away that they can carry into their personal lives.
"I also want them to take away an experience of it being okay to just abort. If something’s not working for you, if you know it’s wrong, it’s okay to just stop and go in another direction," Bailie said. "I think that’s really important because we get ourselves in these paths, these routines, these jobs that we know maybe aren’t the right spot, the best spot, but we feel like we can’t leave."