The Cultch
Body Parts by Tara Cheyenne Performance

When & Where May 3 at 7:30pm (Opening), May 4 – 6 at 7:30pm & May 6 at 2pm | Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables St., Vancouver

Choreography Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg Music Direction Marc Stewart Set Design Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg + Josh Martin, Kate Franklin and Melanie Yeats Costume Design Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg Lighting Design James Proudfoot Technical Direction Nico Dicecco
Contributing Artists Bevin Poole, Kim Steveson, Caroline Liffman, Justine A. Chambers, Jamie Robinson, Zahra Shahab, and Lisa Gelley

Reviewer John Jane

Body Parts is a multi-layered performance show that combines stand-up comedy, physical humour, self-analysis and even dance. The titular “body parts” all belong to versatile dance-theatre artist Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, who not only choreographs and performs solo, but had a hand in direction, costume and set design (such as it is).

Friedenberg’s very personal project had its inception pre-pandemic. She obviously looked at her own reflection and like many middle-age women (and men for that matter) thought hard about body image. The artist is extremely upfront about her struggles with diets, fitness and body shape. Not that she is in anything close to terrible shape, as she aptly demonstrated climbing a rope ladder.

Through her self-deprecating humour, she offers a preamble that she confesses is designed to “manage expectations” – she need not have worried! The audience tuned in immediately to her honesty and perhaps even identified their own contentions with weight gain.

Friedenberg’s set is a basic black box, save for a pair of floor to ceiling rope ladders and a collection of women’s garments, never likely to be worn again, strewn around the stage floor and in some instances hanging over the balcony. James Proudfoot’s clever lighting provides the essential atmosphere.

Friedenberg keeps the choreography simple and relies on her own stage craft and comic timing to interpret the narrative, particularly when using mime to illustrate breast-feeding issues.

© 2023 John Jane