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Shadows in Bloom is for Golden Hearts & Green Thumbs at Rogue 2015

IN THE February 18 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

by Christopher Seelie

Here is another Rogue 2015 performer article. We will be posting several more over the next several days until Rogue opens. After it opens, you will also find many Rogue show reviews. To learn more about this year’s event check out our Rogue 2015 preview article, and check out our Rogue Performer event page to learn about more of the performers this year. You can find all of the Rogue articles as they go up in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Shadows lurk, jealousy seethes, plants talk and seeds grow in 16 time Best-of-Fest award winner, Gemma Wilcox’s Shadows in Bloom. Returning for her sixth Rogue Fest with her Hit Show that Sold-Out in 2010, this comedy-drama of the life and subconscious of a young woman on the edge of her independence is sure to touch audiences to the core.

The plot centers around 30 something-year-old Sandra and her new life in London after a recent divorce. She has followed her sax-playing boyfriend, Pete, in hopes of making a family with him and his daughter, Louise. Wilcox brings to life a full ensemble of characters aided only by lighting cues, some choice tracks of music and a piano bench. Yet, Shadows in Bloom is by no means a theatrical exercise in minimalism. With 22 characters (including a wise neighbor, a grumpy little girl, a sultry nightclub singer, a snooty waiter, a vivacious chef, a pair of doomed Welsh lobsters, a French sunflower and other plants) at her disposal, Wilcox gives audiences a rich and imaginative journey.

theatre

Gemma Wilcox

This is theatre that plays. It plays lightly and it plays seriously as Sandra struggles to overcome Louise’s antagonism to her relationship with Pete and her own vacillating commitment amid such portraits-in-miniature as Pierre the Sunflower and a flamboyant calla lily named Kevin. Thus, Shadows in Bloom challenges the audience to accept whimsy and dire hurt in turns, taking the richness of life’s ambiguities with aplomb.

Josephine Mitchell of Vancouver’s Plank Magazine says Shadows in Bloom, “leaves you with the distinct feeling that good theatre does exist and can be a glory and a privilege to behold.” And while the plot is a continuation of Sandra’s progress through three other plays, each one stands alone as a complete and satisfying drama. With protean force, Wilcox shares a world of beings with her audiences in a full register of emotions.

Having trained for the theatre since she was fourteen, Wilcox says her unique theatrical vision and sensibility began to develop in her time studying with Jonathan Kay, a professional fool, who trained her to work spontaneously. A lot of her inspiration to play animals and inanimate objects along with people comes from this work, as does the daring shifts in tone between her many characters.rogue

Wilcox is “Sexy, sharp, and seamless” says Now Toronto. Like a true virtuoso, she doesn’t waste energy by speeding from one character to the next. The characters are always in service to the scene and the fullness of the dramatic moment. Never missing the essential spaces between action and dialog, Wilcox makes the drama of Sandra’s story seem expansive yet personal, like when Sandra stops to take in her neighbor’s garden with a full breathe, or when even the daughter’s teddy bear has his moment in the spotlight.

As the fourth in a quarto of companion pieces following one English woman’s development into the fullness of being, Shadows in Bloom has no quick tips, no flashy twists, but shows that humble, homespun wisdom of how relationships are like houseplants: they require special attention to flourish.

VENUE: California Arts Academy- Severance, 1401 N Wishon Ave, Fresno, CA
TICKETS: $10 – Buy Advance Tix @: roguefestival.ticketleap.com/gemma/dates or at the door (1 hour b4 show).
SCHEDULE: Sat, Feb 28 @ 8:30 PM | Sun, March 1 @ 5:30 PM | Thurs, March 5 @ 8:15 PM
Fri, March 6 @ 7:00 PM | Sat, March 7 @ 4:00 PM |

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