Saskatoon

Saskatoon Fringe Fest show puts crow's life in stark relief

Vancouver-based performers Chloe Ziner and Jessica Gabriel see a lot of human-like qualities in the flocks of crows that are a fixture in their west-coast city.

Caws & Effect is running in Saskatoon as part of the PotashCorp Fringe Theatre and Street Festival

Caws & Effect is showing in Saskatoon as part of the 2016 PotashCorp Fringe Theatre and Street Festival. (Submitted by Mind of a Snail)

Vancouver-based shadow puppeteers Chloe Ziner and Jessica Gabriel see a lot of human-like qualities in flocks of crows that are a fixture in their west-coast city. 

The glossy, black birds are intelligent, social and they can problem-solve. Some say their "accents" change region-by-region. 

But, unlike most humans, crows don't have the potential to change their surroundings . 

'Caws' and effect

Inspired by the thousands of crows that fly by their Vancouver home every day, Ziner and Gabriel have written a shadow puppetry production that explores what would happen if the birds had greater control over the world around them. 

Their show, Caws & Effect, is running at the Kinsmen Hall in Saskatoon from July 29-Aug. 6 as part of the 2016 PotashCorp Fringe Theatre and Street Festival. 

A multi-layered performance

The production combines clowning, shadow puppetry, costumes and layered visual projections. 

Ziner and Gabriel perform as the crows, who speak only in "caws", which are translated in a language bubble. 

The story follows a pair of crows and their discovery of a seed which holds the potential for a different future. 

"It represents potential and the potential of kind of ideas and change and future possibilities," said Ziner.

"And so the story is about: What if crows had the potential to change their surroundings?"

Shadow puppeteers Chloe Ziner and Jessica Gabriel see a lot of human-like qualities in flocks of crows. (Submitted by Mind of a Snail)

The story is self-described as a "modern fable" and a "tongue-in-cheek nature documentary" with environmental themes. 

Shaping the world

Gabriel said the show was not "preachy" and did not attempt to impose opinions on its audience.

"However, we all live in a world and we all have power to shape our world in different ways," she said. 

"So I think it's an interesting explanation of both the good things and the bad things that can happen when you make decisions that you think are for the best."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend

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