Awakenings is a show that combines burlesque, poetry, music and more to celebrate the many sides of femininity. It’s the first full-length, original production from Pandora and The Locksmiths and will premiere on June 20 at the Rio Theatre.
We sat down with Ava Lure, a member of Pandora and The Locksmiths and burlesque performer, to talk about the group’s upcoming show.
How long has Pandora and the Locksmiths been together?
AL: We’ve been together for almost five years – it’ll be five years in September. It started out with a much smaller group and we’ve sort of added people over the years. Now I feel like we have between 12 and 19 members. Between musicians, dancers and vocalists, everyone together, some people are more active than others but we’ve got a much bigger group then we did five years ago.
So there are a lot of different types of artists who make up the group?
AL: We have mostly musicians, vocalists, dancers and burlesque performers. We are trying to build a variety kind of format so we want to include people with different talents that are still under the same umbrella.
What inspired you as creators to put together a piece like Awakenings?
AL: This is sort of like the third version of the show. We started with the theme of ‘dreams’. It helped us be more creatively open. When we did this show for the Burlesque Festival in 2014, we flushed out the concept a bit more. We went from dreams to the course of a day, sunrise to midnight, following the moon. We grounded it more in nature. It’s all of our interpretations on that theme.
What should spectators expect from the show?
AL: I think the thing that’s really unique about this show is that it’s the only time in Vancouver that someone can see burlesque to an orchestra. We teamed up with Black Dog String Quartet, so we’ve got a ten piece orchestra. It’s really musically driven and visually very ethereal. It’s elegant and feminine but also dark and deep and interesting. We’ve got a lot of fan work and live singing. The other thing that makes it different is that we’re bringing in Peekaboo Pointe from New York City who is a bit of a superstar in the burlesque world. It’s more theatrical, I think. The show also involves poetry with pieces of poetry that we’ve put together that reflect our pieces recited by our ‘femmeC’, Lola Frost.
How do you think classical, jazz and modern music come together to make your show?
AL: We all choose our own songs for the solo numbers, keeping in mind the overarching theme. The band kind of puts their own spin on it and makes it cohesive with their own arrangements. They work with the quartet as well to make it unique and sound like more than just covers and more of a score, like our own soundtrack that compliments the show. All the music is live and the whole orchestra is on the stage for the whole show.
How do you think Awakenings celebrates the many facets of femininity?
AL: We’re celebrating that sort of feeling that women have power that is magical and ceremonial. We kind of feel that this show is offering a piece of ourselves as women and presenting ourselves in a way that celebrates that hidden magic that we all have. A lot of the femininity, I mean, obviously it’s burlesque, and it has to do with nudity and our bodies and sharing that with the audience. We’re celebrating that part of life, we’re living and we’re with you. Everyone’s sharing their unique selves as women and celebrating everything that we have to offer.
Anything else you’d like to share?
AL: This is our first independent, full-length production. We’ve always produced through festivals or with sponsors. We’re stepping out on our own so it’s kind of like a coming of age thing for our group as we’re changing our production model. We’re trying to operate more like a theatre company than a dance company by producing full-length productions.