The German word Betroffenheit loosely translates as a sense of shock, bewilderment or impact. Canadian writer and dancer Jonathon Young explores this state of being in a two-hour contemporary dance/theatre show with choreographer Crystal Pite and the Kidd Pivot dance company.

The hidden weapon in this disturbing production is that Young is drawing from his own experiencesuffering PTSD after the death of his daughter in a camping accident. He uses his own artform to grapple with the question of suffering, taking centre stage as the protagonist in a very public exploration of grief.

Betroffenheit. Photo © Michael Slobodian

A clinical grimy room is the set (Jay Gower Taylor) with a grim industrial soundscape (Owen Belton, Alessandro Juliani and Meg Roe) creaking in the background. Young’s voice provides the text, either live or pre-recorded, a flow of disjointed words and repeated rhetoric focused around trying to “come to terms with it”. Terrifying flashbacks involve strobe lighting (Tom Visser) and immense noise. The self-talk psychotherapy is exchanged for addictions as Young’s character gives in to the five dancers who have been shadowing him. He is lured into a Vaudeville...