Skydive explores the world of dreams and imagination: the universal human desire to push beyond our physical limitations and to fly.
Having grown apart after a traumatic and defining moment in their youth, two brothers reconnect to fulfill a life-long ambition to go skydiving. Morgan (a feckless schemer who has recently reinvented himself as a counsellor) arrives on the doorstep of Daniel (a housebound agoraphobe), offering to help “liberate” his brother by administering his newly invented technique of “Paratherapy.” Convincing Daniel to face his fears by pursuing their long abandoned childhood dream of jumping from an airplane, the brothers begin a series of misguided training exercises to prepare for their adventure.
Yet we realize that something is being subverted as we watch the comedy rooted in a lighthearted nostalgia for their youth in the 1980s give way to a high-stakes adventure in a surreal environment of lucid dreams and startling visions occurring in the final seconds of a freefall adventure gone horribly wrong.
Commissioned by Realwheels, a Vancouver-based theatre company that aims to increase audiences’ understanding of the disability experience, Skydive was created to be performed by one able-bodied, and one differently-abled actor. Using the technology of Sven Johansson’s ES Dance Instruments (a 17-foot, counterweighted lever that allows a performer to fly in all directions as well as cartwheel and somersault through space), the show is written to be staged almost entirely in the air, intricately choreographed and performed in a tightly orchestrated dance between the actors and the four operators who control the instruments. These instruments, both liberating and restrictive, equalize the bodies of the performers allowing not only for images of flight and freefall, but also for the physical metaphor of the power of dreams, imagination and human connection that lifts us above our individual physicalities.