Mouthpiece (Review: Undercurrents Festival) 1
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Mouthpiece (Review: Undercurrents Festival)

“…a pulsing, energetic and physical piece of theatre that is thoroughly absorbing and entertaining.”

Mouthpiece (Review: Undercurrents Festival)


Mouthpiece, at the Undercurrents Festival (Arts Court, Ottawa, February 10-20, 2016), offers up powerful performances dealing with life and death, all in the comfort zone of the bathtub.

Casandra (Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava) goes out to a bar for drinks and, having taken care of her morning duties the next day, checks her phone messages only to discover that her mother has died. She retreats to that modern inner sanctum, otherwise known as the bathtub, to grieve, organize a funeral and write a eulogy. That last one being no mean feat since she has discovered she’s lost her voice.

Mouthpiece (Review: Undercurrents Festival) 1
Photo: Brooke Wedlock

Given that its subject matter is life and death, Mouthpiece is both immensely, laugh out loud, funny and quite grievous. Not at that same time of course, and the talents of Nostbakken and Sadava work to weave between these two pillars with amazing dexterity. As the program says, it’s a “…heart-wrenching journey into the female psyche,” with each of these talented performers playing different aspects of that psyche at one and the same time. Their physical, and aural, choreography deliberately mimics and shadows each other, with both performing the same lines and movements at certain points in the performance. At other times, their dialogue and movements cleave off to provide complimentary, and contradictory, commentary on the thought process of a woman coming to terms with loss, both real and imagined.

The back and forth of this movement produces a pulsing, energetic and physical piece of theatre that is thoroughly absorbing and entertaining. The sound and lighting is straightforward and rich, with, at one point, the simple ringing of a telephone providing the audio enticement for a dramatically choreographed piece about how we hold ourselves back.

Mouthpiece was a winner of the 2015 Dora Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance, as well as the 2015 Dora Award for Outstanding Sound Design/Composition.

Mouthpiece (Review: Undercurrents Festival) 2
Photo: Brooke Wedlock

Mouthpiece has four shows as part of the Undercurrents Festival, with tickets available for either single shows, or a pass for the other shows running that evening:

WEDNESDAY, February 10 at 9:00pm   BUY TICKETS
THURSDAY, February 11 at 7:00pm   BUY TICKETS
FRIDAY, February 12 at 9:00pm   BUY TICKETS
SATURDAY, February 13 at 9:00pm   BUY TICKETS


Brendan McNally is a regular contributor to