At 5:30 p.m. this evening, a mass of curiously decorated dancers will make their way from the stairs next to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in downtown St. John’s to Harbourside Park.
It’s a performance called “The Fire Kedgy’s Howl,” and was put together by Neighbourhood Dance Works as part of the National Arts Centre English Theatre’s, “Grand Acts of Theatre.”
“As the performing arts sector continues to face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Arts Centre has responded with Grand Acts of Theatre, an initiative to bring Canadian artists and audiences together,” a press release from the NAC said. “Eleven of Canada’s most innovative theatre companies have been engaged to create and perform large-scale, new works in response to these times, which will be performed outdoors in front of live audiences in various Canadian locations, filmed, and later shared online.”
According to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, a kedgy is someone who “does all the odd jobs on a boat — sound the foghorn, pull up the lines, etc.” In a press release, Neighbourhood Dance Works said this character is being brought forward as someone to remind the world to pull up their sleeves and steer the "ship's path to safer ground."
“The Fire Kedgys’ Howl" is a mythological intervention depicting the arrival of a luminescent, otherworldly community,” the press release said. “A collective ‘cry for help’, this ethereal work evokes feelings of urgency and discovery. It provokes grace and awakens us to the resilient nature inherent in all beings so we may do better in our current, conflicted world.”
With music by composer Andrew Staniland, including percussion and saxophone, and choral direction by Kellie Walsh, over 20 kedgys will move their bodies as the music swells and descends, their arms moving through the air as if through water.
Because of social distancing measures, seating is limited.