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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Theatre review: Multiple Organism takes the audience on a wild ride

This visually wacky experience may very well leave you wondering what it is all about

Winner of the 2017 Cultchivating the Fringe Award, Mind of a Snail moves from the Fringe to The Cultch’s Culture Lab with its bold and creative Multiple Organism.

The DIY nature of Multiple Organism carries the show, as creators and performers Jessica Gabriel and Chloe Ziner create a world using old-fashioned overhead projectors, and their own bodies as the projector’s surface. Filled with many ideas, the overall effect is that of a very strange dream, one where you wake up thinking “what just happened”?

Multiple Organism follows an artist’s model, who after being objectified by the artist, uses a magical paintbrush to enter a weird world. We are told to “take a closer look at [our] own shit”, before being sent down a toilet rabbit hole where we are witness to a strange toothbrush love story.

Absurd, in the best way possible, Multiple Orgamism is very sexual and full of surprises. At times feeling like it is headed one way, they surprise by flipping the expected outcome. At times though, it is also hard to follow.

Throughout the show, Gabriel and Ziner are moving images on the projectors to create an early-style animation. Half the fun is watching the intricate artistry of projection. They have thought of everything, with little details which constantly surprise and delight. Every move is specific, and any flub could ruin the image being created. They are masters at their craft.

Gabriel and Ziner are unapologetic as they expose their thoughts about sexuality, gender and societal expectations surrounding the body. Literally exposing their bodies to us, this flips our usual expectations and brings the audience to uncomfortable delight.

At the same time, it feels that there are too many ideas. At one point they ask, “What does it all mean?” This is a good question, and the answer could have been in bringing greater clarity to the wild absurdity.

Filled with puns, highly sexual material, and amazing shadow/projection puppetry, this wacky experience may very will leave you wondering what it is all about.

Multiple Organism, created & performed by Mind of a Snail: Jessica Gabriel & Chloe Ziner. Presented by The Cultch. On stage at the Vancity Culture Lab (1895 Venables St, Vancouver) until March 30. Visit for tickets and information.

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