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The cure for the common show

Collodion Remedy’s contribution to Nocturne is a sample of the multimedia storytelling of directors Bryn Robins-McLeod and Kat Shubaly. Five university-aged actors tell the story of the two ancient Greek myths, accompanied by synth and visual projections.

In a dark hallway at the Bloomfield Centre in the North End, sinister synthesizer fills the air. Orpheus follows Eurydice to the Underworld, while Alcyone mourns her lover, Ceyx. A transparency projector and white fabric draped carefully across the hall create a simple backdrop.
This is the Collodion Remedy’s contribution to Nocturne. It’s a sample of the multimedia storytelling of directors Bryn Robins-McLeod and Kat Shubaly. Five university-aged actors tell the story of the two ancient Greek myths, accompanied by synth and visual projections. Robins-McLeod and Shubaly delicately weave the disparate art forms into a cohesive work.
“I kind of think that too many different artists, we go out and we think that we’re theatre people or we’re dance people, but really all the art is just one big, incredible thing,” said Robins-McLeod, a third-year King’s student. “And to be able to see it all together… makes for a whole sort of other experience.”
The complete experience of The Collodion Remedy is too large for a small corner of a hallway. Their two other shows—one in February, the other earlier in October—fused monologues, spoken word, dramatic scenes, paintings, dance, and short sets by local bands, uniting them around a single theme. Their most recent show, from which their Nocturne piece is pulled, was about shadows.
“The idea just came because we knew that we had a lot of incredibly talented friends who weren’t able to show off what they were doing in their basements and music rooms as much as we thought they should,” Robins-McLeod said.
So, with Shubaly, a Dalhousie student, she began to piece together the first show. They knew they wanted to include lots of talent from King’s, where many of their friends are students, but they also reached out to the greater Halifax arts community, adding sets by the Moonshine Ramblers and Rich Aucoin, among others.
The result is something greater than the sum of its parts. To watch the show is to be very much complicit in it. The product of the artists, coupled with an attentive audience, make for an undeniably enchanting energy. The audience can’t help but be drawn in to the world they create.
Robins-McLeod says the name “The Collodion Remedy” reflects this connective spirit.
“Collodion is a chemical used to develop daguerreotypes, which are one of the earliest forms of photography…” said Robins-McLeod. “The idea is that what we were doing is developing a community, and bringing together all these people to show what they were doing.”
And remedy? “It’s a remedy to isolation.”
Nocturne co-chair Rose Zack had worked with Shubaly before and “nudged” her into considering the festival. She, like the two Collodion Remedy leaders, wanted to create connections in the local art community.
“I saw part of my role this year as chair to really go out and encourage people to participate,” said Zack. “I think sometimes people, especially students or emerging artists, feel like, oh, they’re not established enough or ready for it, or their idea isn’t strong enough.”
“[Shubaly] is a very talented creative person, so I had complete faith in what she could do.”
Robins-McLeod and Shubaly are planning to continue The Collodion Remedy productions. Robins-McLeod is excited about the creative energy they have to draw on.
“There’s a lot of really incredible people in this city!”

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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