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#FiercelyFringe 2017 – Part 2

It’s the most WONDERFUL TIME of the year! Happy Opening to the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival! Every year, we are constantly inspired by the core values of The Toronto Fringe Festival:

  • It’s about creating art at a grassroots level.
  • It’s “theatre by the people, for the people“.
  • It’s about taking risks and exploring something new.

So, we asked this year’s Boss Fringe Artist Babes: How are you FIERCELY representing these values? How are you #FiercelyFringe?

After an overwhelming response, we’re thrilled to share our first #FiercelyFringe preview with you, listed in no particular order, and in two parts (because we can only get our scroll on for so long…)

We hope this gives you a more personal look at these shows and the artists behind them as you plan your viewing schedule over the next two weeks.

Be sure to follow along with us on twitter, facebook and instagram for our full #FringeTO coverage celebrating all of the people and moving pieces that make this festival so electric!

See you at the Fringe Club #FiercelyFringe friends!

– ITGR


The Food Project

 

WHO ARE YOU?  

We are Theatre By Committee! We’re a seven-member collective based here in Toronto creating narrative-focused, contemporary work in found spaces. We like to do things “by committee” with an ensemble-approach that rejects role-specific or hierarchical models in our administrative and creative environments.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

The Food Project is an in-depth exploration of where your food comes from – how it’s grown, how it’s transported, and where it goes once you decide you don’t want it anymore. The project is an attempt to answer the question “can we eat our way to a better world?” Dealing with the meat industry, poultry and eggs and even the darker side of veganism, the Food Project asks audiences to explore their own food choices, and consider what changes they are able, and willing to make.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

The Food Project joins a long history of site-specific shows, with an intimate, interactive show based in the SKETCH kitchen. A collaborative effort with Committee members as well as some TBC new-comers, the Food Project aims to present an immediate and entertaining look at the food industry.

CONNECT

t: @theatrebycommittee
i: @TBCommittee


Dear Uncle Wish

WHO ARE YOU?

We’re Theatre Enthused. We believe unbridled and un-ironic enthusiasm is necessary to create mind and heart expanding theatre.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

This show will have audiences thinking about what the past has to offer us. Bride, a young, anxious nurse is convinced that her hometown will never change. The audience knows that the folk-healing her Uncle practices is a lost art, and that old Newfoundland culture is nearly gone. Where do we get our bearings, when pain and loss seem the only constant? This show’s mix of humour and heartache will soothe the most tightly wound Torontonian. 

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

I’m a Toronto theatre newcomer and I’ve hustled with very limited resources to assemble an amazing team (Adam Bailey, Jamie Johnson, Ryan Hughes). I wrote it, I’m producing it, I composed music for it and I’m starring in it. I knew all that would be necessary if I want to break into this scene, so I did it.

CONNECT

t: @dearunclewish 
i: @dearunclewish
#DUW


Odd One Out

WHO ARE YOU?

Playwright Maureen Gualtieri: Our show is about how we all create narratives for ourselves in order to make sense of the world. 

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

We’ve all told – and continue to tell – ourselves stories in order to organize impersonal, sometimes terrifying circumstances around us, and give meaning to cosmically unfair events, like the loss of a deeply loved one as we are doomed to always quest for “why.”

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

It’s about identity – how we can spend so much time molding ourselves into a shape that we think pleases others, a shape that doesn’t tip anyone off to what’s inside struggling to be contained, until the day something cracks and we can’t be held back anymore. The play’s about love, but it’s also a mystery, concealing the possibility that somehow, under the brutal truth of real life, there may be a bit of magic that offers a tantalizing escape from normal.

CONNECT

#LesbiansVsAliens #LoveWins


Adult Entertainment

WHO ARE YOU?

Triple ByPass Productions seek to perform work that is relevant, bold and engaging, telling stories from all walks of life, in a way only an acting ensemble can. By focusing on characters and relationships we approach our work as truthfully and honestly as possible, creating unforgettable pieces grounded in realism. This Toronto based collective is; raw, unrelenting and unapologetic.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

George F. Walker’s Suburban Motel series is a Canadian classic. We love his conflicted characters and the unpredictable world they inhabit; it’s an actor’s dream. The Fringe Festival offers us indie artists a platform and the opportunity to perform in a theatre we otherwise couldn’t afford!

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Cops, lawyers, husbands, wives, truth and lies. Sex, liquor, secret deals, fist fights and perhaps even love. You never know what you’re going to find behind the door of a motel…

CONNECT

t: @triplebypasspro
i: @triplebypass_to


Sketch Betch

 

WHO ARE YOU?

We are Sketch Betch, a Toronto based sketch comedy troupe who met studying improv at The Second City.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

You should come and see our show, Life’s a Betch, for three reasons: Gregorian monks doing 80s classics, tons of John Travolta, a lot of people dying. And nipple play.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?  

What makes this show #FiercelyFringe you ask? Well, we wrote it. From scratch. And then we baked it at a low temperature for like 6 months. We added a dash of unemployment, a sprinkle of self-doubt, and a whole lot of love and hard work. We bring you our show.

CONNECT

t: @sketchbetches
i: @sketchbetches


Operation SUNshine

 

WHO ARE YOU?  

Jennifer McKinley, playwright, performer and producer of Operation SUNshine. I have a background in clown, comedy and storytelling and I’m an expert cat herder, artist wrangler and ego juggler. I’m also a champion research ferret and stalwart guardian of the grammar, self-appointed and mildly annoying about it. 

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Who doesn’t love to be regaled with poetic tales of Toronto’s dark side from the depths of a serial killer’s lair? Operation SUNshine offers something for everyone looking to whet their depraved appetites. Sex! Revolution! Psychedelics! 179 actual SUNshine Girls rescued from the walls of a dank basement bathroom!

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

The seed for Operation SUNshine was literally dug up from underground by me for you. 25-year-old pinups and sensational news stories from the Toronto SUN assist with the storytelling while Clara McBride’s fierce direction draws forth a complementary physical narrative from my not-always-so-willing body. I’ve never been so sore. Or so invigorated!

CONNECT

#OpSUN
t: @JennyDonkey, @claramcbride
i: @jay_mac77@helingungoren


Rough Magic

WHO ARE YOU?

Theatre Arcturus is an award-winning company that creates visually stunning plays that weave aerial arts into the world of the story. Winners of the 2016 Cutting-Edge Award for creating innovative theatre, we’re back at Toronto Fringe with our brand new show, Rough Magic.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

A collision of air and earth, Rough Magic creates a vertical world to tell the story of Ariel and Caliban in a newly imagined prequel to The Tempest.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Unlike anything else at the festival, this highly physical show features demanding performances by a duo of grassroots creator/performers who put the story first, meeting between air and ground as two very different beings, erasing boundaries that make us fear the “other.”

CONNECT

#RoughMagic
t: @theatrearcturus
i: @theatrearcturus


SNAP!

 

WHO ARE YOU?

We are NightShift, a Fiercely Fringe company started by a couple of working class artists who wanted to build meaningful stories! Every one of our company is a Fringe veteran. Allan Michael even started his career doing Shakespeare on the street. We are a half-a-shoestring company, doing it all ourselves, every project. Heck, we don’t even have a theatre. We’re performing in a room at Scadding Court!

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

SNAP! began as a writer’s challenge and grew into a 20-minute play. People liked it, said it was about them and people they knew. It grew into a 50-minute play. It’s about anger and the day-to-day experiences that make us all crazy. Nobody’s exempt.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

When people see this show they may not leave with useful strategies to manage their anger, but they will definitely have laughed hard enough to forget why they were mad in the first place! SNAP! Fiercely Funny!

CONNECT

t: @snaptofringe
i: @snaptofringe


Brain Storm

WHO ARE YOU?

LUCID LUDIC, a company specializing in devising physical and visually striking theatre, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration and exploring the unifying power of live performance.

BRAIN STORM is a viscerally experienced, arresting journey, about one woman dealing with a brain injury, another communicating with the spirits, and the neurosurgeon who is convinced that consciousness supersedes death.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

It is at once super personal, hyper-local and universally accessible. It offers a unique look at the cross-section between history, science, and spiritualism, and manages to do it in a visually stunning and physically evocative way.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Brain Storm was created on and is communicated through the bodies of women. The effort and artistic research that has gone into the piece shows the creators’ passions and fierce determination to make this work live, breathe, and move. This is what makes Brain Storm so very fiercely – and proudly – Fringe.

CONNECT

t: @lucid_ludic
i: @lucid_ludic
#brainstormplay


The Teeny Tiny Music Show  

WHO ARE YOU?

SNEAKY SNEAKY PRODUCTIONS. Toronto’s first marching band theatre company dedicated to creating unexpected musical events within a theatrical setting.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH OUR SHOW?

This ten-piece band enters the world of the show through the bathroom door, from behind the bar, and to the complete surprise of the audience! Meanwhile, the lead vocalist doubles as a storyteller narrating how she approached a musician in the middle of his performance to ask his name, his age and if he was single! 

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We know there are more women than men in theatre. So if ya got it, flaunt it! Our band is an all-male cast with a female vocalist at the helm of it all! We’ve got it reversed – the gentlemen are sexy in matching bowties and cummerbunds, and the lady is a fox-onesie wearing silly bum! As we combine storytelling, design and staging with what begins as a duo lounge act, our musicians become pieces of the narrative’s progression. 

CONNECT

i: @SneakySneakyProductions
t: Hayley Pace @haelaaaaa @sneakysquared
#TTMS #sneakysneakysneaky #teenytinymusicshow 


Moonlight After Midnight

 

WHO ARE YOU?  

Concrete Drops Theatre, based out of Brooklyn, NY, we are an American and a Canadian couple who met on the fringe in 2010 and have been touring our own original work ever since.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Moonlight After Midnight has won the top critic’s prizes at fringes in Orlando, Ottawa, Cincinnati, Vancouver, and Adelaide, Australia. It’s a two-person show about a couple who randomly meet in a hotel room, nothing, though, is as it seems, not in the story, the relationship, nor the room in which they’ve met. Moonlight After Midnight, then, is both a love story and a puzzle to be solved by the audience – a fantasy about a fantasy we’ve all shared.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Moonlight After Midnight is told in a unique style – one that plays with time and space, offering multiple layers of reality that play out concurrently, but never conflict. It’s mind-bending, but always clear; it leads towards a conclusion, but allows the audience to actually reach it on its own.

CONNECT

t: @ConcreteDrops
i: @ConcreteDrops
#moonlightaftermidnight, #concretedrops


Delirium  

WHO ARE YOU?

I’m a New York-based storyteller who’s been touring festivals around the world for a decade.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

In Delirium, I’m telling a story about our biggest two pre-occupations: love & death. It’s about making meaning in an indifferent universe. Laughing about it, crying about it – feeling it together. The show is fun, it’s meaningful, it’s unabashed, and high-energy. Delirium just got an award at the biggest US festival (Best Solo at Orlando Fringe) and has gathered lots of swell reviews. But most importantly, everyone in the room, including myself, seems to get what they need from the show as we huddle around the virtual campfire for a story about ourselves.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

What makes me “fiercely fringe” is that I’ve been creating, touring, and entirely self-producing my own original work for ten years, living out of a suitcase the majority of that time. All for the pleasure and privilege of telling true stories to other people about what it is to be a person. It’s an experience that needs no approval from an artistic director, or similar cultural gate-keeper. 

CONNECT

t: @martindockery
f: /martindockery
#martindockery, #delirium
w: martindockery.com


Bad Date: a cautionary tale…

WHO ARE YOU?

Hi there, my name is Erin Aubrey. I am a single female in my 30’s who is the creator, co-producer, writer (of book, music and lyrics) as well as lead actress of the upcoming Toronto Fringe Play, Bad Date: a cautionary tale..

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Privy to the inner-most thoughts of the play’s hero (Molly), which are all delivered through original song (song titles include: “Dick Pics” and “Why Can’t I Cum? (from oral stimulation?)), the audience gets an unfiltered look into the mind of a single, 30-something woman, whilst bearing witness to one of the most awkward dates in the history of dating. 

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Toronto audiences will love this insanely funny, bold, and risky show… It is as fierce as a play could be, and IS, in no uncertain terms, #FiercelyFringe.

CONNECT

t: @date_bad
i: @baddatethemusical
#baddatethemusical


Plays in Cafes 

WHO ARE YOU?

I’m Alex! I started Shadowpath in 2002. We’ve been creating new works with our project Plays In Cafes – animating public cafe spaces. This year we’re at Free Times Cafe (320 College). As patrons sit at their table, there are tables all around them coming to life with short plays. This way the audience becomes part of the world of the play. Audience or actor? Who knows? Anyone can be anyone at Plays In Cafes.

Plays in Cafes features an all-female production team, our directors, playwrights, publicist, producer are all FEMALE.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?  

Everyone should have a cafe-theatre experience. It’s express, it’s tasty, it’s fun! Free Times Cafe is known for their GREAT FOOD. You can maximize your Fringing by sampling THREE new plays. Add some snacks and drinks and you’ve got the perfect Fringe experience. 

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We transform everyday spaces into creative places. We bring theatre to the people by creating in hotels, libraries, wineries and most recently, a car dealership. This makes theatre interesting, accessible and helps to build new audiences. We love discovering ‘found’ audiences as we produce pop-up performing arts experiences throughout our community.

CONNECT

t: @Shadowpathic


Bugger the Butterfly!

 

WHO ARE YOU?

We are Pencil-Neck Theatre, a group of theatre pros and soon-to-be pros that met at the University of Guelph.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

You should see our show because: it’s funny as hell, it’s about time travel and the banality of celebrity, it’s a little bit gay and a lot of other stuff, and it’s written by the only guy to win Fringe’s Best New Play prize twice (along with a whole buncha other good plays), T. Berto.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

This show is Fiercely Fringe because it’s about as grassroots as it gets. K. Nestruck said that Fringe needs to be silly and fun and cheap, so we’ve taken that to heart – but also added poignant and thought-provoking. We’re also fierce because we’ve attempted to fill theatre’s void in sci-fi. Last year, 6 of the top 10 films were sci-fi, but in theatre – look at the Doras – it’s tumbleweeds for sci-fi. But no more with Bugger the Butterfly!

CONNECT

#buggerthebutterfly


The Seat Next to the King

 

WHO ARE YOU?  

We are Minmar Gaslight Productions and we are presenting the play, The Seat Next To The King.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

You should come see this show because not only was it picked as the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival Best New Play for Steven Elliott Jackson’s work, it is an intimate, sexy, powerful and provocative story of two men struggling to find a place for themselves in a world that shuns them. It is a play about two real lives who risked the safety of their worlds while being connected to the most powerful men in America in 1964.

WHY ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Directed with rawness and passion by Tanisha Taitt, the production delves into the world of sexuality, masculinity, race and politics and presents two actors, Kwaku Okyere and Conor Ling, challenging stereotypes and exploring boundaries of theatre and performance. For all these reasons, The Seat Next To The King is Fiercely Fringe.

CONNECT

t: @minmargaslight
i: @Minmar_Gaslight


D&D Yoga 

WHO ARE YOU?

I’m Christine Desrochers, local yoga teacher, avid gamer, and creator of the D&D Yoga show.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

D&D Yoga is a unique immersive experience that fuses a yoga class with the imagination and gameplay elements from Dungeons & Dragons. Audience members will choose to be a mage, warrior or rogue and will follow the quest leader (me!) through a grand fantasy adventure. Participants use dice rolling and various thematic movements to delve deep into a dungeon, overcoming goblins, traps, and ancient magic in the pursuit of their goal.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?  

This show is Fiercely Fringe because it’s experimental, original, and amateur. This is the first time this style of theater will be preformed in Canada! This is also my first Fringe and I’m so excited (and nervous) to bring this creative project to the public. I can’t think of a better opportunity to showcase this alternative creation to open-minded people.

CONNECT

t: @Downward_d20
fb: /Downwardd20


Office Hours

Photo by Dahlia Katz

WHO ARE YOU?

Confirmation Bias Theatre is brand new, full of politics and vinegar, founded by playwright Glenn Clifton. Guided by the belief that political catastrophes are often a result of bad storytelling, the company’s mandate is to explore how political reality shapes individual choices.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Office Hours is about an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD, his girlfriend, and her English Professor. It’s a love triangle full of meditations on narrative: a tightly scripted, intense drama, marked by powerful subtext and edgy chemistry between the performers. Starring Michael Orlando (CHAD), Nicole Marie McCafferty (CAROLINE), and Greg Solomon (TYLER).

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

In our site-specific production, the audience is seated like students in CHAD’S university class. In a couple of moments CHAD asks questions of the audience. The audience can answer, interfere, say anything, and the actors will have to roll with whatever happens. It’s an immediate, democratic, theatre-in-the-rough experience that alternates between the intimacy of CHAD’s “Office Hours” and the chaos of a town-hall meeting. Anything could happen!

CONNECT

t: @CBias_Theatre
#OfficeHours


You Are Perfect

 

WHO ARE YOU?

White Horse Theater Company is producing Cyndy A. Marion’s original play You Are Perfect at the Toronto Fringe at Theatre Passe Muraille – Mainspace.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

The play is a new and uniquely original dramatic play that delves into the psyche of Charles Manson and his followers, a group that has both reviled and fascinated the American public for nearly a half century. Set in Susan Atkins’ prison cell on the eve of a key moment in the Manson murder trial, You Are Perfect is a theatrical re-imagining of her life and inner demons.

WHY ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

What makes this play #FiercelyFringe is its highly theatrical structure, which plays with time and spaces and aims to entertain, enlighten and surprise. White Horse Theater Company is a 14-year-old New York City based off-Broadway Theater Company committed to making high-quality theater and sharing our passion for American plays and playwrights with our fellow artists and audiences.

CONNECT

#YouArePerfect
t: @whtcnyc
i: @whitehorsetheater
f: /whitehorsetheatre


Things Drugs Taught Me 

WHO ARE YOU?  

I’m a writer, performer and founder of Four Face Productions, which focuses on storytelling. My solo show, Self-Exile, won Best of Fringe in Montreal in 2016 and has been touring Canada since. This year I’m presenting a two-person storytelling show called Things Drugs Taught Me at the Toronto Fringe.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Things Drugs Taught Me is at once funny and affecting. The stories include all the paranoia, highs and bad decisions you might expect, but as Montreal Rampage Magazine said, “Stark moments of insecurity, feelings of failure and the desire to be normal make for the most poignant and hilarious moments in the play.”

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We push the boundaries of traditional storytelling. The stories are broken into sections that weave in and out of each other and we take turns playing characters in each other’s stories, most often playing the opposite gender. This offers a new and dynamic dimension to true life storytelling.

CONNECT

t: @NishaColeman
i: @NishaColeman
f: /NishaColemanwriter
#ThingsDrugsTaughtMe


Contagious

 

WHO ARE YOU?  

An artist with the big heart. A teenager, immigrant from a war country. This whole journey made me value and respect the meaning of free mind, which Canada represents. I forever owe to Toronto for opening my eyes. Time to pay back.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

We stand up to ask important questions. There is magic in the air and we’ll make sure you see it.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We dance! We sing! We have a passion! You have a passion! All of us do. Let’s not forget about that. And never let anyone dictate how and why and what we should do. Bring it from the heart. One life to live!

CONNECT

t: @contagious2017


I Am Hope

WHO ARE YOU?

My name is Mia Raye Smith and I’m an actress and playwright in Queens, NY. A few years ago I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia. My anxiety disorder left me home-bound. Thankful I was able to seek treatment and healing and now tell my story!!

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

My solo show was developed in Emmy Award-winning, writer and teacher Matt Hoverman’s Go-Solo Workshop in New York City. People should come and see my show because anxiety is the most common mental illness in Canada. In fact, statistics reveal that one in four Canadians (25%) will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. I have been touring my play at universities and colleges across the United States.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

My solo show is fiercely Fringe because it’s about finding hope and humor living with an anxiety disorder. It’s jammed packed with 19 characters. I’m fiercely Fringe because I’m sharing my battle without shame, in hopes to reach people suffering in silence!

CONNECT

t: @miarayesmith
#Iamhope


Nourishment

 

WHO ARE YOU?

Erin Maxfield, Jessica Watkin and Gloria Mok are co-artistic directors of ECM Theatre, a company that supports female artists and creates theatre in an accessible, inclusive, and collaborative environment. Our show Nourishment is a collaborative piece created by a team of kick-ass women with many different backgrounds and perspectives. 

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

It’s important to support female artists and seek out their stories because they have been historically underrepresented. With Nourishment, we hope to encourage audiences to think about the places women gather, the knowledge and experiences they share, and the invisible work they do.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We challenged ourselves to create a show that is accessible to a wider audience. We built theatricalized audio description into our piece, and hope to have two ASL-interpreted performances throughout the run. The Fringe Festival should be for everyone, and we hope to bridge some of the gaps that exist for audience members with disabilities!

CONNECT

t: @ECM_Theatre
i: @ecm_theatre
#NourishTO


SELF-ISH

 

WHO ARE YOU?

Diana Bang, Kuan Foo, and Dawn Milman of Classy Little Bitch Productions. The first three met through sketch comedy. 

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

SELF-ish is the show for you if you’ve ever dealt with loss. It’s about death, identity, family and the internet. This show is funny in small ways. And not so funny in other ways. We hope you stop by to support this Classy Little Bitch Productions show, because it’s classy, little and a big ol’ bitch. 

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?  

SELF-ish is Fiercely Fringe because it’s a One Woman show thrown together by a Korean-Canadian girl named Diana Bang who has never done this before and was sick and tired of NEVER being the protagonist of any show, and wanted to showcase Kuan Foo’s writing talent (It’s the first play he’s written!) and Dawn Milman’s directing and dramaturgy abilities (She trains assistance dogs. Cool, right?) and Maggie Chafe / Giuseppe Condello’s technical brilliance (Trust me, they’re great).

CONNECT

i: @dianabangarama & @arugulagal
t: @thedianabang


This Is Not She

 

WHO ARE YOU?

This is Not She is an immersive solo show written and performed by Julia Haist. (that’s me!) The audience is assigned the role of the “class” and is invited to answer questions, read passages and do some creative writing of their own.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

We have foregone any theatrical flash in favour of creating a realistic classroom setting; the character of the teacher is raw, flawed, and hanging on by a thread; a large portion of the show is based off of improvised interactions with the audience, so there is no safety net; if I don’t do my job as a performer of engaging the audience, there is no show.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

All of this to say, this show is bold. It is risky and thrilling for me every time I perform it, and dare I say, fierce. (There is also the fact that this show is made entirely by women; playwright/performer, director, stage manager and ASM!)


High Park Noir

 

WHO ARE YOU?

Simply Twisted Productions is made up of three old theatre school friends from Montreal. We haven’t worked together since theatre school which was 15 years ago! Yeah, we’re old! We’re also diverse: two of us are women and the other is a gay man.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

We wanted to put on a comedy that had grounded characters but that was also wacky and wild. Our show, High Park Noir, is a must-see for anyone who loves the unconventional, hybrid theatre fun that one can only find at the Fringe!

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We wanted to Fiercely call attention to urban animals and to condo construction in Toronto. We are expanding the genre of film noir in a fierce way too: by making all of the characters Toronto urban animals! And really, what’s more Fierce than a raccoon detective on the edge?!

CONNECT

t: @HighParkNoir


The Atomic Tradition  

WHO ARE YOU?

After losing confidence in my creator’s “voice,” I discovered a passion for reviewing theatre. I’ve been a senior writer for Mooney on Theatre since 2013. I’ve experienced so much of what Toronto artists have to offer and developed my own personal convictions as a critic, which lead to the return of my confidence as a storyteller!

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Our inherent capacity for violence and the precariousness of civilization are the major themes of my play. As people around the world fear the ominous promise of “Trump America,” seeing how quickly a relationship can collapse will resonate with an audience worried about a fragile and volatile civilization.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Having experienced Fringe as a reviewer, I have a fierce affection for the sense of community it fosters. I’m thrilled to contribute as creator with a show that was greatly influenced by the collaboration of the creative team that worked on the original workshop production.

CONNECT

t: @IstvanDugalin
i: @istvandugalin
#TheAtomicTradition


Shirley Gnome: Taking it Up the Notch  

WHO ARE YOU?

I am a country/soft-rock musician that writes and performs comedy songs about all sorts of unspoken truths and emotions, and enough people laugh at them to make it my job. I’ve ridden this wave of high art all across the world – Australia, the UK, and the US of OHGODPLEASEMAKEITSTOP. They give me awards and fancy stars which I use to trick people into coming to my shows. I got real drunk one night and woke up with a record deal. It’s with 604 Records and so far I’ve managed to steal a lot of their money.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?  

Because we all might die tomorrow and my music is as important as telling people in your life you love them and cherishing every moment of existence. So get your ass in here baby, because your number may be coming up.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?  

I sing about feelings surrounding sexual desire (and other enjoyable emotions like anger, loneliness, and dying alone). Yet (as we all know) freedom from sexual shame would cause the collapse of society, so my songs are considered risky. I tend to swear and make ugly faces, which is obviously completely upsetting because of this pesky vagina I have shoved up between my legs (it’s a niche genitalia only shared by half of the planet). In conclusion, God is dead and I’ve never felt more alive/Fiercely Fringe.

CONNECT

t: @ShirleyGnome
#takingitupthenotch


Open Rescue: The Play

 

WHO ARE YOU?

3D Theatre is a troupe of Toronto-based actors and stage technicians who passionately believe in animal rights and animal welfare. 

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

3D Theatre asks: Can an awareness of animal testing elicit sentient empathy among a Fringe Festival audience?

Far from being gratuitously shocking or politically preachy, OPEN RESCUE:The Play brings another side of this animal liberation issue to audiences, specifically, as animals ourselves, can human beings empathize with other animal species who are being intentionally harmed for the sake of human-centered research?

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

3D Theatre is creating an opportunity to dialogue with Toronto audiences about an important societal issue – should millions of animals be harmed and then killed in the name of science? 3D Theatre converted real-life interview findings into fiercely dramatic scripts that explore a dark side of animal testing in universities. The Toronto Fringe’s risqué programming is the perfect inter-connective venue where audiences can explore the issue of animal testing – and how “Open Rescue” – as a credible alternative. 


“Am I Pretty Now?”: A Musical Romp Through Plastic Surgery! 

WHO ARE YOU?

I am Toronto native who moved to Durham Region to have a family and created the not-for-profit company Durham Improv Collective Inc., hosted/created/produced five shows on Rogers TV in Oshawa, including two with Colin Mochrie. I am a Canadian Comedy Awards and Latin American Achievement Awards nominee and have just released my first book: The Ten Commandments…of Improvising! 

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

This is a the first ever musical on plastic surgery and the trials and tribulations of going under the knife! A journey of insecurity and “never quite fitting in”. 

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Whether you are curious about plastic surgery or you just can’t fathom why anyone would do such a thing, this show will keep you laughing and tapping your feet as I examine race, gender, motherhood, and Liza Minnelli in 60 min.

CONNECT

t: @antimommy
i: @comedianstephanieherrera.com


Seeking Refuge

 

WHO ARE YOU?

I’m Rick Jones, writer/composer of the Paul O’Sullivan Prize-winning script Seeking Refuge. Seeking Refuge is a story about the love, devotion, and sacrifice of two sisters separated by contemporary civil war and extreme hardship. The challenges and horrors they face each day are met with perseverance and the will to survive and re-unite.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

There are moments of brutality, but also moments of joy. The songs are the core of this show, revealing each character’s innermost thoughts and feelings, supported by music that was written intuitively, raw emotion pouring out in melodies underscored by relentless rhythms, capturing and seducing your ears. They’re like nothing you’ve ever heard before on the musical theatre stage, written from my heart.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Seeking Refuge was created as my visceral response to the unfathomable, mind-numbing crisis in our humanity unfolding daily before our eyes. Come and immerse yourself in the experience.

CONNECT

#SeekingRefugeTO
t: @SeekingRefugeTO


Butt Kapinski

 

WHO ARE YOU?

I’m a comedy artist, teacher and director devoted to interactive and immersive experiences. I create work that (on a good day) challenges the notions of what audience participation means, what a theatre community can be, how gender and comedy work together, and how far you can go and not frighten anyone. My show has been touring for almost 4 years, and has delighted folks in the UK, Australia, and a bunch of Canadian and US cities.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?  

Is it a comedy? Is it a sociological experiment? Who’s to say? You know when you enter the room, something different is afoot: the chairs are everywhere, it’s hard to tell where the performance will be and where the audience is, and that’s the point… It’s funny and gentle and bold and weird and totally reasonable at the same time. It is a unique experience every time.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?  

BUTT KAPINSKI is a love letter to Fringe audiences, who are weird and bold and brave and fierce, and it is the audience who make the show beautiful, surprising and hilarious, every time.

CONNECT

t: @buttkapinski


Not Good

WHO ARE YOU?

James MartEntz’s (who?) newest play is a story about the inner human struggle. The feeling of being wanted, the worry of no one noticing. Directed by Cedric Martin, and Ryan James, starring Daniel Entz (again, who are these guys?) three people who know the most about trying to make a life for themselves in a society dead-set against actors.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

An artist is at their best when they are struggling, when you can feel that truth in the focus of the piece. This show is simply an actor on a stage talking about his life. As Fringe veterans, we promise you a story of personal connection, and true longing for more. We pinky-swear this production will be Not Good.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

In terms of being “grassroots” we are walking talking examples. None of us have artistic families. We all had to make our way with no real guide. The sacrifices we make to put on a show at Fringe, with 4 people in the house is both heartbreaking, and well, worth it. We do it because there is a story to be told. Our show is our very real stories as actors rolled in a fictional one-man show, portrayed by Daniel Entz.


Kara Sevda

 

WHO ARE YOU?

Now What Theatre is a group of international artists who met while studying for their Masters in Classical and Contemporary Text (Acting) degrees at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. We’re from all over America and the UK. Our mission is to create new work and tour it all over. Because if theatre is about making a difference one audience at a time, it’s better to have more audiences, all over the world.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

We wanted to create a piece of theatre that made people think, and that made people feel connected. We want people to escape with us, and to take a look at nostalgia and regret.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

Our show was created for the fringe environment. We made a simple but impactful show that we could take anywhere. We crowdfunded for travel expenses, have taken epic road trips to festivals, slept in cheap hotels, overnight buses and billets. We’ve been poor and have dealt with crippling self-doubt like all artists do. But, we are Fiercely Fringe, because our passions outweigh our fears.


No Place

 

WHO ARE YOU?  

My name is Graham Isador and I’m the artistic director of Pressgang. I write for VICE. We’re friends. The show I’m producing is NO PLACE. It’s written and performed by Jillian Welsh, who is an amazing storyteller that has made appearance on CBC’s LOVE ME. Her appearance on the RISK podcast was downloaded over a million times. It’s being directed by Shari Hollett, a director for the Second City, who has had smash Fringe Hits with For the Record and Radio:30.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

It’s an established funny woman helping an up and coming funny woman tell a deeply personal story about her family. Welsh has been making a name for herself in Toronto’s storytelling and comedy scenes. Here she blends the best of those world’s for a show that’s deeply touching piece. It’s being put on by a company who has been critically acclaimed in both Summerworks and Fringe.

HOW IS YOUR SHOW FIERCELY FRINGE?

The one woman show is a staple at the Fringe, but the thing that really pops about No Place is its willingness to take emotional risks. The show is funny, for sure, but at it’s core it is a raw portrait of the desperate need to belong and feel accepted, and what happens when those needs aren’t met.

CONNECT

t: @presgang @jillpickled @sharihollett
#noplaceTO


 In Sundry Languages

 

WHO ARE YOU?

“In Sundry Languages” pushes the boundaries of understanding through multilingual dialogue and experimental dramaturgy! We are a show that reflects the linguistic and cultural diversity of Toronto with a cast of emerging and established multigenerational immigrant actors, performing in many languages and no translations!

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

Produced by the Toronto Laboratory Theatre, an experimental collective, “In Sundry Languages” is a series of comic vignettes that draws on the use of body and media to translate what language cannot. The play is a performative experience that asks for a diverse audience to be created in full, which is why we need all kinds of people to come out to watch the show!

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

We are #FiercelyFringe in our commitment to creatively unpacking and challenging narratives of immigration, displacement and negotiated identities, through language, multimedia, humour and a lot of heart!

CONNECT

t: @insundry
i: @insundrylanguages
#insundry


Algonquin Highway

WHO ARE YOU?

We are 17 Syllables Theatre Company with a creative team from Peterborough and a Toronto cast.

WHY SHOULD PEOPLE CATCH YOUR SHOW?

It’s a brand-new world that’s breaking through the old world, and life-altering events have changed millennials Alex and Nic. They have each survived the last five years apart to get to who they really are: Alex, an indigenous female activist, and Nic, a transgender man. Now, they’re stuck together on the back roads of iconic Canada, and must talk through the real issues – identity, belonging, gender, appropriation – in order to save their childhood friendship, in a story that reflects the issues roaring through the current zeitgeist like a mad fire.

HOW ARE YOU FIERCELY FRINGE?

A comic-drama about the power of real friendships, told with passion, humour, and action, Algonquin Highway winds its way through emotional twists and turns that will have you guessing at the each revelation and leave you wanting more of the two honest and complex characters, Alex and Nic

CONNECT

t: @17_syll
#AlexandNicgetstuck! #AlgonquinHighway


*Submissions have been slightly edited for clarity and length.


 

But wait! There’s more!

If you haven’t, be sure to check out

Part 1 of #FiercelyFringe here.

 


 

In Conversation with Janelle Hanna on Bad Baby, Big Risks & the Camaraderie of The Fringe

Interview by Brittany Kay

Janelle Hanna is bringing the only clown to wear rubber boots at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year and Bad Baby was born to fill that role! Presenting her first solo show, Janelle is a Fringe veteran appearing in past shows such as Eternal Friendship with a Spotless Smile and Virginia Aldridge, BSc. Janelle Hanna’s Bad Baby appears in Rules Control the Fun, a hilarious new Canadian play about love, relationships, vulnerability, and shame at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival.

Brittany Kay: Who is Bad Baby?

Janelle Hanna: Bad Baby is a very talented and attractive actor. You’ve probably seen her around the city at auditions. She goes to a lot of auditions. A lot. She might not be in Toronto for very much longer though. She’s probably going to go to L.A. so when she comes back to Toronto she can say, “Yeah…just got back from L.A.”

BK: Where did she come from? How was she first discovered and created?

JH: Bad Baby has been with me for about 10 years, coming into my life initially in clown and mask class during my 3rd year of the Theatre and Drama Studies program at UTM. She started as a very mischievous kid who loved feeding her dog treats but has since grown up and developed some sweet dance moves, wicked acting chops, and masterful balloon arch skills. And while Bad Baby has popped up around the city a few times, her last appearance in a full show was during my MFA in Acting at York University when I presented my thesis research on vulnerability. She was 1 of 3 featured characters I presented in a 15-minute solo piece. I’m experimenting with a similar concept for Rules Control the Fun but Bad Baby gets top billing this time.

BK: Tell me a little bit about your show and why Bad Baby “knows all the rules”?

JH: Bad Baby knows all the rules because she’s seen a lot of solo shows. A lot. AND a lot of Fringe shows. A lot, a lot. And she knows all the things you’re supposed to have in a great show, and she’s going to do all those things like dance, sing, special skills, flirt, kissing, balloons, and nudity… maybe.

BK: Why is a show like Bad Baby perfect for the Fringe? 

JH: In my experience, the shows that work best in a Fringe environment are those with a lot of laughs, and a lot of heart. This show is big on both of those things but audiences will discover this show delves deeper into issues I’m passionate about exploring as a writer and performer: vulnerability, shame, love and connection. I’m taking some big risks with this show, and I think that’s what Fringe is (or should be) all about – taking a huge leap and seeing if you land, or totally wipe out. Let’s hope for the former.

BK: This is your first solo show. What are the fears/excitements around that?

JH: Well it’s the first solo show I’ve written, and yes there are many fears that come along with that (Will the show resonate with people? Will I piss everyone off? Am I doing it all wrong? How do I use square brackets? How do I even type square brackets?) Even to be called a “writer” is still a bit odd if I’m being honest because I really feel like a performer first and foremost. But it’s also really exciting because as an artist I tend to infuse a lot of myself into the work I create (which I’m sure isn’t a unique or particularly mind-blowing statement as I’m sure to a certain extent this is what all artists do), and as the writer I’ve had the opportunity to craft exactly what I need to say, something you don’t always get to do when you’re playing with someone else’s words. When it comes to performing solo many people have told me how terrified they are of it. I’ve never really feared performing solo though. Perhaps it suits my… somewhat… at times… controlling personality? NEXT QUESTION!

BK: Tell me about the balloon arch? Will we see it in the tent?

JH: *BREAKING NEWS* The balloon arch WILL make an appearance at the tent. We can guarantee that. Bad Baby can even show you how to make an arch. It’s pretty simple! Fishing line, weights, helium, balloons BUT the tricky part is attaching it to the line – that takes years to perfect. And by years I mean minutes.

BK: If Bad Baby was here, what else would she want us to know about?

JH: She would want you to know about a petition she has started to bring back Melrose Place to Netflix. You can go to www.bringbackmptonetflix.com to sign it. She would also want you to know that if you come to her show, there is a surprise. But she’s not going to tell you what it is. Because it’s a surprise.

BK: What do you want audiences walking away with?

JH: I hope I can make someone’s day a little better. Either because Bad Baby gave them some good belly laughs, or because she flirted with them and made them smile, or because maybe they’re feeling a bit weighed down by the world like a certain writer/performer/producer girl I know, and after seeing the show they feel a little less so.

BK: Are there other shows you are planning to see in the Fringe?

JH: SO MANY. Fitting them all in is going to be a challenge but I’m going to try to pull a Derrick Chua and do a few marathon days of fringing. All of the shows we’re teaming up with for #FringeFriends are definitely on my list. I also want to support other one-woman solo shows, or shows with bad-ass women at the helm like #FringeFemmeTO so awesomely highlighted a few weeks ago. I also want to support International artists and make sure they know how welcome they are to the festival and to the 6ix. So in closing, I’m planning on seeing all 159 other shows.

BK: What are your favourite parts about the festival?

JH: I love the camaraderie. I love all the artists coming together in one place. I love being on the subway and the initial fear of a stranger standing over me – but then realizing it’s because they just wanted to say how much they loved the show I was in. I love seeing old friends, meeting new ones and all the attractive people at the tent. All of them. I love the feeling 15 seconds before the show begins, you know, the nervous gas part.

Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun

Who:
Written and performed by Janelle Hanna
Directed by Briana Brown.
Production Team: Gabriel Cropley (Lighting Design), Erin Vandenberg (Stage Manager) and is produced by Chris Baker and Janelle Hanna.

What:
Bad Baby is a very talented and attractive actor. She wanted to be an actor so she could sleep in and kiss boys. This is her first Fringe show. She’s seen a lot of Fringe shows though. A lot. And she knows all the rules. All of them. With a total of 13 Toronto Fringe tent romances under their collective belts, the teams that brought you Almost, Again (Best of Fringe) and Eternal Friendship with a Spotless Smile (Patron’s Pick) are back with an all new Fringe adventure. Come see Bad Baby’s first Fringe festival hit!

Where: The Annex Theatre, 736 Bathurst Street

When:
Friday July 7th – 1:15pm
Saturday July 8th – 9:15pm
Monday July 10th – 4:30pm
Wednesday July 12th – 7:30pm
Thursday July 13th – 12:00pm
Friday July 14th – 11:00pm
Sunday July 16th – 4:00pm

Tickets:
Tickets are available to purchase in person at the festival box office for $12 ($10 plus $2 fee). At-the-door tickets will be sold at the show’s venue starting one hour prior to show time for cash sales only, limit of 4 per person, subject to availability. Visit fringetoronto.com for more information on tickets and festival passes.

Connect with Lark & Whimsy:
Twitter: @Lark_and_Whimsy; #BabysFirstFringe
Facebook: larkandwhimsytheatre

 

Morro and Jasp on the Nature of Relationships

Article by: Morro and Jasp
Photos by: Jackson Klie
Styled by: Mahro Anfield
http://www.morroandjasp.com

On the interpretation of ‘feelings’ as they pertain to the understanding of being ‘involved’ in, as, or with a society upon which the dependence of ‘another’ is debated and discussed OR How many licks does it take to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop?

Morro and Jasp sit, sisterly, pondering the nature of relationships – theatrical, theoretical and thematic.  They often sigh before speaking, and pause before pronouncing their opinions.  They are very much, as the French say, “a la carte”.
JASP: Morro, tell me the honest truth – how do you feel about me?
MORRO: Without you I am not a thing, I am no thing, I am a lone tree in the forest and therefore not really there. Je suis la tristess!!!! Je suis la pizza without la sauce.
JASP: Really?
MORRO: Or maybe I’d be really excited to finally not have to report to anyone but secretly I’m too chicken-shit to find out if that could be true- the risk is too great. Take cover troops. Stay protected!!!
JASP: I see.
MORRO: And what about you Jasp? What are your feelings on this subject?
JASP: I think feelings are one of, nay, the most important things we have. They’re the only thing we have really. Every morning I wake up and write a journal entry about how I feel; from the dreams I had the night before; how my day is going to go; how hungry I am (hunger is after all, a feeling), etc.
MORRO: (sarcastically) Fascinating.
JASP: (ignoring her) Sometimes I think my sister is the only one who really knows me, yet she doesn’t know me. We share the same blood but different souls. I yearn for the day I will find the one who shares a soul with mine and we can lick to the centre of the proverbial Tootsie Pop together (No offense, Morro).
MORRO: None taken.
JASP: What are your thoughts Morro?
MORRO: I was pondering the other fortnight and upon my musings I imagined a world in which there were no farms. How horrible an utterance was this that a tear I did shed from my left eye. My right eye does not release fluids so readily. Imagine a city without a farm. Don’t’ actually imagine it , that was a rhetorical question. But think of it, what would we eat? I once sat under a tree at Riverdale Farm with my tootsie pop and let two drops of said liquid fall from mine eye (still the left one). Without a farm never can one indulge in such a delight. What was the question again? Jasp, it’s your turn.
JASP: My feeling about the actual topic, not about farms, is that relationships are so impossible because people place the importance of logic over feelings and emotion. People think logic is important, but it’s an illusion. There is no logic, our feelings are really all that guide us. That’s the only reason I don’t have a boyfriend. Boys want to think they can be independent and resist my charms. But the reality is that I am so romantic that it’s hard for people to handle.
MORRO: Boys are not the topic either Jasp.
JASP: (with conviction) I believe in romance films and novels. They are my religion, if you will, and people are intimidated by the feelings I bring out in them so they run away. Their logic tells them it’s not “normal” or “practical” to feel such strong romance in this day and age. An age of course cyber-dating and cheap pornography. But old-timey romance is alive and it burns like a fire within me. (You can find my profile on Plentyoffish.com)
MORRO: Oh I get it, you’re like a chicken with it’s feet cut off.
JASP: No.
MORRO: Your life is like the sound of two hands clapping, loud but lonely, and without me you’d be —
JASP: No, you’re not listening.
MORRO: I see, I see. What you’re saying is you can’t judge a book by its colour, that life is like rolling moss, it gathers, and then gets stoned.
JASP: MORRO!
MORRO: I know Jasp, It’s always darkest after the dawn.
JASP: Whatever.
MORRO: (singing) Feeeeeelings!  Nothing more than feeeeelings!!!
Jasp gets up and leaves. Morro continues to sing until she notices Jasp has left, then is silent, with no one to hear her, she becomes still.

– fin

Cirque is back – Amaluna hits TO

September 18th 2012

Interview by: Noah Vanderlaan

Stacy Clark worked in marketing and advertising, but somewhere in all that grown up career stuff discovered circus. She started flying trapeze with the Toronto School of Circus Arts in 1996 before founding her own troupe, High Strung. Yet there comes a time of transition in every acrobat’s life, and Stacy returned to her hometown of Montreal in 2006 to begin a career at Cirque Du Soleil. Amaluna, which premiered in Toronto two weeks ago, marks her shift from casting to acrobatic coaching. In the Green Room sat down with Stacy Clark to discuss how Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna presents a different spin on the traditional circus spectacle.

Coach Stacy Clark before Toronto premiere of Amaluna. Photo by Ben Freedman

NOAH VANDERLAAN: Amaluna is one of the first productions by Cirque du Soleil that really forefronts the role of women in the circus. What drove that decision?

STACY CLARK: Traditionally there have been more male circus artists and male acrobats, not only in Cirque but globally, particularly at the level that we’re looking for. A classic example might be a flying trapeze number, where you have several hotshot male flyers and a couple of beautiful girls who do lower level skills and sort of add a little bit of beauty and flare to the number, but they’re not necessarily delivering acrobatic caliber.

The intent behind Amaluna was to really turn the tables and try to pay tribute to the strength and skill of women, all of that of course put into the context of storytelling.

NV: Does this production possess the inherent potential to be a real game changer, in terms of equity, both for Cirque du Soleil and for circus troupes worldwide?

SC: Coming from a casting perspective, I regularly see certain disciplines as a breeding ground for more women than men or vice versa. What I think we’ve managed to do here is transcend the discipline and simply showcase powerful women with enormous talent, and that’s not just the acrobats, it extends to the musicians. It’s the first time we’ve had an all female band and they are rocking out with a power and aggression that is really noted by the public. People are responding to these talented four gals and their driving rock n’ roll sound. It’s again, another push in that direction.

NV: Are there particular segments of acrobatic choreography which you feel stand out?

SC: I’m a little biased, obviously, but I could probably highlight just about every act in the show. It was a very deliberate choice from the creative team to bring in the kinds of acts that we have, in order to showcase diversity and contrast, to find a great rhythm to the show so that we have the big acrobatic WOW and the more sublime still and enchanting numbers. For example the balance goddess takes you to a different place all together than the male teeter board number, which is all POW POW POW action acrobatics.

That said, the uneven bars act, performed by fiery Amazons, presents the strength and power of Amaluna. What we’ve done is taken a traditional Olympic discipline and put a Cirque du Soleil spin on it, creating new combinations and skills that aren’t done due to the confines of sport. Add in strong character development and choreography and the act transcends gymnastics and becomes circus.

Backstage at Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna. Photo by Ben Freedman

NV: I’m super stoked to check out this play.

SC: I think it’s interesting that you call it a play. That’s nice, it’s an element that the director is striving for, to bring a more theatrical bend to the presentation of what circus is traditionally know for, which is high level acrobatics. It’s kind of nice to have the reflection that maybe Amaluna presents a little more than what people have seen before.

NV: It does seem like a hybrid, and without giving much away incorporates Greek and Roman character references, and Shakespearian plot elements. What’s next, for the show and for you personally?

SC: We are here for 2 months before moving to Vancouver. For me personally, I’ve really enjoyed the transition from casting to coaching, and it’s still so new that I’ve got little ways to go yet. My perspective on the touring life is that it’s city by city; every city brings with it a whole new set of experiences and challenges.

NV: Any words of inspiration for someone who is looking to break into the circus community?

SC: Yes: follow your bliss. It’s really important to set your sights on what it is that you love the most. There’s no greater privilege than going to work every day in an environment that you love, surrounded by people that you want to be with. When you love your job it’s no longer a job in the traditional sense. For our artists, being and working here has been a dream of theirs for a very long time. To go back to my casting perspective a bit, Cirque du Soleil is absolutely accessible and available as a terrific career option, it’s a very special and unique organization and you just have to go for it.  It takes a lot of work. This is not easy, and everybody here works really really hard, but the privilege of being on stage and sharing what you love with the public is insurmountable.

Amaluna Runs from Sep 6  to Nov 4. $58.50-$158.50, stu/srs/child from $43.50. Grand Chapiteau Tent, Port Lands, Commissioners at Cherry. cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna