Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Shaina Silver-Baird’

A Chat with Jason Maghanoy, Playwright of THE NAILS at SummerWorks

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

SSB: Is this play inspired by true events? If yes, how so?

Jason Maghanoy: This play is like all of my other plays: it’s all true but none of it is true.

SSB: Where does The Nails fall on the realism spectrum?

JM: It’s like real life… which sometimes doesn’t feel real, you know?

SSB: Where does the title The Nails come from? 

JM: There’s a line in the play that explains it and I don’t want to give it away.

SSB: Have you worked at SummerWorks before? Why is this festival a good match for your play?

JM: This is my fourth time doing SummerWorks. I always have fun doing it. The Nails is the most ambitious project I’ve ever had as part of the Festival.

SSB: What did you take into account when assembling your team?

JM: Tanya Rintoul built the team. She was the first person I brought on-board and she has been amazing. Rigorous. Ambitious. Smart. I love what she has created.

 

SSB: The play addresses family issues, racism, homophobia… Did you set out to write a piece that dealt with these things?

JM: Yup.

SSB: The play takes place in America. Is it specifically American or is that just the setting? How does it relate to Canadians?

JM: My dad lives in Texas and Houston is like… my CITY, you know? But the themes of the play are universal.

SSB: What can people expect from The Nails?

JM: A good time. Hopefully you’ll want to talk about it after.

SSB: Describe the play in 5 words. 

JM: Faith. Freedom. Love. Cruelty…Four words is enough.

The Nails

Who:
Company: jsquared.theatre
Written by Jason Maghanoy
Directed by Tanya Rintoul
Performed by Jeysa Caridad, Jake Runeckles, Alexander Thomas, William Ellis, Ellie Ellwand
Stage Management by Meghan Froebelius
Set Design by Christine Urquhart
Lighting Design by David Costello
Sound Design by Jaiden Davis-Jones
Costume Design by Claire Hill
Production Management by Alanna McConnell

What:
Ally and Josh spend every summer with their father as he goes from small town to small town working for a construction company in America. But this summer is different. This summer they grow up. This is the summer that everything changes.

The Nails is a play about family. It is a play about faith. And it captures a world of freedom and extremism in all directions; love and cruelty exist within the same space here. Sometimes they feel like the same thing.

Where:
Factory Theatre Studio
125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON

When:
Tuesday August 8th 10:00pm – 11:15pm
Thursday August 10th 7:30pm – 8:45pm
Saturday August 12th 4:15pm – 5:30pm
Sunday August 13th 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Tickets:
summerworks.ca

Advertisements

In the Greenroom’s Next Stage Theatre Festival Favourites

We couldn’t think of a better way to start 2017 on a high note than with a jam-packed festival of new theatre, dance, music, storytelling and improv; watching artists take their work to the ‘next stage’; and, of course, some good beer tent times re-connecting to old friends and meeting new ones!

We wanted to share some of In the Greenroom’s Festival Favourites, with the hopes of inspiring you as you begin your final NSTF scheduling. We’ve chosen something different, something new, something bloody and something true… maybe.

Be sure to share your favourite festival moments!

Connect with us on:
twitter: @intheGreenRoom_
facebook: @ InTheGreenroom.ca
instagram: @inthegreenroom
#NSTFestivalFaves


Something Different: MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS

manic-2

Go to MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS if you want: something different… completely different!

It’s hard to find just one word to describe MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS. Wild, weird and wonderful, this show is bold, hilarious, absurd, athletic and completely fun! There’s nostalgia. There’s glitter. There’s incredible “wow-did-they-just-do-that” dancing, blow-up props, Garden State references, singalongs, and bags of milk! Yup, it’s a total trip and the more we think back on everything we experienced during MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS, the more we smile.

**We also recommend reading the program note on the work by choreographer Alyssa Martin either before or after for an even deeper appreciation of the piece.

What:
Join dance-theatre renegades Rock Bottom Movement for a hallucinatory romp through millennial nostalgia and classic indie film. Choreographer Alyssa Martin conjures a gleefully glitter-soaked pop-culture mashup featuring 90’s singer-songwriter karaoke and athletic dance breaks.

Where:
Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst St.)

When:
January 11 at 06:45 PM
January 12 at 07:30 PM
January 14 at 09:00 PM
January 15 at 05:15 PM

Tickets:
fringetoronto.com


Something New: Songbuster, an improvised musical

songbuster-1

Go to Songbuster if you want: something new… every time!

Songbuster, an improvised musical is perfect if you’re looking for heart-wrenchingly hilarious ballads about _____ (You fill in the blank!) At this fully improvised musical, audience members get to choose the subject matter of the play! On opening we witnessed an entire saga about comicon that we won’t soon forget. We especially loved the improvised flamenco duet… Enough said!

What:
Fast paced, ridiculous and always entertaining, the cast creates an hour-long musical from suggestions provided by the audience. This dynamite cast has been seen in mainstage musicals and comedy clubs around the country and knows how to make you laugh one moment and break out your jazz hands the next.

Where:
Factory Theatre Studio (125 Bathurst St.)

When:
January 11 at 07:00 PM
January 12 at 05:30 PM
January 14 at 06:00 PM
January 15 at 01:45 PM

Tickets:
fringetoronto.com


Something Bloody: Blood Ties

blood

Go to Blood Ties if you want: something bloody…fun & musical!

Witty, charming and funny dialogue, plus beautiful songwriting with clear and engaging narrative sung throughout, Blood Ties is a bloody fun musical. Hats off to their thoughtful and clever costume design and a special shout-out to performer Jeremy Lapalme!

What:
Sheila’s uncle shoots himself in his bathroom on the eve of her wedding, and when her three best friends arrive in town to celebrate they are instead faced with the task of cleaning up the considerable mess left behind. This flagship musical show by Dora-nominated team Anika Johnson and Barbara Johnston has previously been a hit at SummerWorks, the Edinburgh Fringe, and on BBC America’s ‘Orphan Black.’ Based on true events.

Where:
Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst St.)

When:
January 12 at 05:15 PM buy tickets
January 13 at 10:00 PM buy tickets
January 14 at 02:00 PM buy tickets
January 15 at 07:00 PM buy tickets

Tickets:
fringetoronto.com


Something True (or False… either way there’s Spam!): Two Truths And A Lie

truths

Go to Two Truths and a Lie if you want: something true… or false! Regardless, someone is going home with a can of SPAM after this truly feel-good, laugh-out-loud, intimate storytelling show, so how could you miss it?

Though filled with lies and liars, Two Truths and a Lie promises to be filled with hilarious laugh-out-loud moments for a truly feel-good time in a cozy venue. These three talented storytellers transport us to horrifying yet still somehow endearing moments in their lives, and whether you can figure out who the ultimate liar is or not, a can of Spam is up for grabs, so… who wouldn’t want that?!

What:
Each night of the festival, Graham Isador (Situational Anarchy), Helder Brum (Born with a Tale), and Rhiannon Archer (Life Records) will regale audiences with three unbelievable stories…one of which is completely made up. After the critical successes of their honest and funny solo shows, these veterans of Toronto’s storytelling scene are coming together to make you laugh while lying to your face.

Where:
Factory Theatre Antechamber (125 Bathurst St.)

When:
January 11 at 05:55 PM
January 12 at 08:40 PM
January 13 at 06:40 PM
January 14 at 05:40 PM
January 15 at 04:25 PM

Tickets:
fringetoronto.com


We hope this inspires you to kick off your weekend NSTFestival schedule planning and be sure to see something you wouldn’t normally! This list is just the beginning.

There’s 10 shows that have each been selected to offer something different. Be bold. See something on a whim! That’s what the festival spirit is all about. You never know what you might be surprised by.

Happy Closing, NSTF! We’ll cheers you in the beer tent!

cropped-untitled-1-12.jpg


 

“It’s the scariest performance I do. But it’s also why I love this job.” – A Chat with Kristian Bruun on SONGBUSTER – an improvised musical

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

I had the joy of chatting with Kristian Bruun, one of the artists performing and creating nightly Songbuster – an improvised musical on now at the Next Stage Theatre Festival. He spoke about the need to put on more musical improv in the city, how they prepare for a performance that is always changing, and how this is both the scariest kind of performance and why he loves his job. 

Shaina Silver-Baird: How did Songbuster start? What was the inspiration for creating a fully improvised musical?

Kristian Bruun: It started with Stephanie Malek and Josh Murray in the summer of 2015. They both wanted to see more musical improv represented in the city and went out to all the people they thought would not only bring top talent, but also be fun to perform with. We all love musicals, and the excitement that comes from improvising one is unlike anything else. Originally, we were just doing a couple shows for Blockbuster Week at Bad Dog and Big City Improv Festival and it just grew from there.

songbuster

SSB: How did you get involved?

KB: Stephanie approached me and said she was putting a group together. How could I say no? I’ve worked with some of the cast before (like Nug in Evil Dead! The Musical) and it seemed like a fun project.

SSB: Is it scary going out on stage not knowing what’s going to happen?!

KB: Always. It’s the scariest performance I do. But it’s also why I love this job.

songbusterfringe-07472

SSB: How do you prepare/rehearse for an improvised musical?

KB: We run songs, scenes, mini versions of shows. We work on different varieties of songs and song structures. We revisit classic story arcs found in musicals, and character archetypes, and always go back to the basic foundations of storytelling. It always helps having an expert eye to guide us and this year we’ve been working a lot with Carly Heffernan, who is brilliant and always sharp with her notes.

songbusterfringe-07533

SSB: You did this show before at the Fringe Festival. Will this version be any different?

KB: Not really. Of course, we hope we’ll be even tighter as a group. We love these chances to do a run of shows because we always learn so much from night to night. It’s improv, so every show will be wildly different and wonderfully weird.

SSB: Do you have any favourite moments from the last run?

KB: We had a musical take place on the moon that got very randy. Everybody was making out and grinding on each other. The audience really got their money’s worth that night. Yeah. That was fun.

songbusterfringe-07550

SSB: Many people know you from your TV/film work. How is this style of performance different? What are the challenges and are the two related for you?

KB: This is a type of performance where I’m left to my own creativity and that of my cast mates. No script, not much of a plan… It’s so open and nerve-wracking and fantastic! It’s a complete rush being on stage with no script (also a common theme in my nightmares). I sometimes get to improv on set, but here the world is our oyster and we shuck the hell out of it.

songbusterfringe-07418

Rapid Fire Question Round:

Favourite play you saw this year: Obsidian Theatre’s stunning production of “Master Harold”… and the Boys.

Favourite movie: Swiss Army Man.

What’s on repeat on your iTunes: The Hamilton Soundtrack.

Favourite food: Roti.

Most embarrassing moment (or the most embarrassing one you’ll tell us): Anytime someone recognizes me I turn beet red, get all shy and start flop sweating. I walk away embarrassed every time. Thank god it doesn’t happen too often…

Describe Songbuster in 5 words: Musical appears before your eyes.

Songbuster – an improvised musical

songbuster-1

Photo by Tanja Tiziana

Who:
Presented by Songbuster Inc.
Created by the Ensemble – every night!
Featuring Tricia Black, Kristian Bruun, Ashley Comeau, Alexandra Hurley, Stephanie Malek, Josh Murray, Nug Nahrgang, Nicky Nasrallah and Connor Thompson
Musical Director Tom King

What:
Fast paced, ridiculous and always entertaining, the cast creates an hour long musical from suggestions provided by the audience. This dynamite cast has been seen in mainstage musicals and comedy clubs around the country and knows how to make you laugh one moment and break out your jazz hands the next.

Where:
Factory Theatre Studio (125 Bathurst St.)

When:
January 06 at 09:00 PM
January 07 at 04:00 PM
January 08 at 08:00 PM
January 09 at 09:00 PM
January 11 at 07:00 PM
January 12 at 05:30 PM
January 14 at 06:00 PM
January 15 at 01:45 PM

Tickets:
fringetoronto.com

 

Talking Canadian Stories & the Upcoming Production of AGENCY with actor Ben Sanders

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

Shaina: What’s different about working on a new play like this that’s never been done before, compared with something that has been in the theatre canon for awhile?

Ben Sanders: It’s very liberating when you don’t have to worry about the burden of a precedent for your character. Rather than doing the ten thousandth Mercutio, I get to be the very first Peter Gottschild (my character in Agency). There’s a great freedom that comes with that. My impulses and choices are brushstrokes on a fresh canvas.

Shaina: What is a ‘Canadian’ story? Would you say this is a Canadian play?

Ben: Canadian stories are anything dreamed up in the mind of a Canadian (including brand new Canadians) or anything set in Canada. Aside from some of our indigenous stories, just about all Canadian stories involve relationships to other countries. Agency is set in Germany, and features all German characters, but it also has a whole lot of the heart and soul – and some of the heritage – of Eva Barrie, a Canadian artist.

Photo of Eva Barrie & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Photo of Eva Barrie & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Shaina: What’s been the biggest challenge and biggest joy in tackling your character so far?

Ben: We’re playing with time and memory in the play. Sometimes my character is onstage as a part of someone else’s memory, rather than really being there. So I can’t be too picky about my “reality”, or my circumstances. The biggest joy, so far, is the crackling dialogue – Eva’s lines just roll off your tongue. Makes my job easy!

Shaina: Describe the show in 5 words.

Ben: Suspense. Surveillance. Betrayal. Obsession. Turtlenecks.

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Shaina: Do you think it’s important for the other characters to explore the past as they do? At what point is this exploration positive and at what point is it detrimental to get trapped in the past?

Ben: Everybody’s got skeletons in the closet… everybody. So if you want to dig into your own past, or your family tree, you’ve got to do so with empathy, and brace yourself for unseemly discoveries. A family history is just a story we’ve been told, usually edited and revised for our benefit by people who care about us. Do you really want to challenge that story? It takes a lot of courage and offers little reward. But, then again, some stories demand to be told, and don’t ask politely.

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Shaina: Did you have to do any research into the specific events of 1980s Berlin to tackle this play? What was the most interesting fact your discovered?

Ben: The extent of the surveillance state was pretty astounding, especially the network of “Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter” – informal collaborators. These were not official Stasi agents, just ordinary people feeding the authorities information on their acquaintances. Friends reported on friends; family reported on family. Once the wall fell, and it all came out in the open – once the hundreds of thousands of shredded files were pieced together by hand – reconciliation was not easy.

One of the most moving stories was of a woman who was devastated to learn, after the wall fell, the names of all the friends that had been reporting on her behind her back. At the end of her research into her file, she was reminded that she, also, had briefly informed on her friends, and completely forgotten about it. Surveillance and betrayal were just a part of everyday life.

Photo of Earl Pastko, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie by Greg Wong

Photo of Earl Pastko, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie by Greg Wong

Shaina: There is so much going on in the city right now, why should people come see this play? What will they get here that they won’t get anywhere else?

Ben: Eva Barrie is a major new talent. Her writing is totally engrossing: it’s got an impressive technical complexity – lots of tasty plot – but also a very natural, relatable tone that will catch you off-guard. And she’s written a terrific role for Earl Pastko to act the hell out of. Which he does.

arn_3517

Photo of Earl Pastko, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie by Greg Wong.

 

About Ben Sanders:


headshot-ben-sanders

Ben Sanders is a Toronto-based actor. He has performed at the Shaw Festival for seven seasons, appearing in 14 productions, including The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with the Key to the Scriptures, The Sea, Major Barbara, Cabaret, Our Betters, French without Tears, Misalliance, Serious Money, and four world premieres: Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, Peter Hinton and Allen Cole’s musical version of Alice in Wonderland, Lisa Codrington’s adaptation of The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, and Michael Healey’s reimagining of On the Rocks. He also performed with The Grand Theatre (A Christmas Carol, Dry Streak, Playwright’s Cabaret) and with Toronto’s Praxis Theatre (Objections to Sex and Violence, Tim Buck 2). In 2015, he was named one of NOW Magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of the year, and the My Theatre Awards Performer of the Year. He trained at Ryerson University.
Up next, Ben will be back at the Grand Theatre in The Lion in Winter.

Agency

A New Play by Eva Barrie

agency-banner

Who:
Presented by Yell Rebel
Written by Eva Barrie
Directed by Megan Watson
Dramaturged by Thomas Morgan Jones
Featuring: Earl Paskto, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie

Set & Costume Designer: Karyn McCallum
Lighting Designer: Mikael Kangas
Sound Designer: Lyon Smith
Stage Manager: Théa Pel
Technical Director: Tamara Vuckovic
Design Assistant: Echo Zhou
Producer/Production Manager: Noah Spitzer

What:
In the height of the Cold War, Hannah’s father is killed as her family makes a desperate escape out of East Berlin. Years later, she reads her father’s Stasi files and unearths a 25 year old mystery. The only one who can help her solve it: the man who spied on her father. Demanding answers and getting far more than she bargained for, Hannah takes a trip into the past.

Where:
The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West

When:
November 10th – 20th
Tuesday – Saturday 7pm
Saturday/Sunday 1pm

Tickets:
General Admission: $22.00
Arts-worker/Student $18.00
PWYC Performances: Nov. 10th (7pm), Nov. 12th (1pm), Nov. 13th (1pm) & Nov. 19th (1pm)
tickets.theatrecentre.org

Connect:
w: yellrebeltheatre.com
fb: /yellrebeltheatre
t: @yellrebelTO

 

“Corpses, Neo–Alt Theatre and Community” In conversation with David Ferry, director of BREATHING CORPSES at the Coal Mine Theatre

 

“It’s really important in this company that everybody has ownership in the room. It’s the way I like to work. My job as a director is to create an empowered room. It’s not ‘director as boss’, it’s ‘director as facilitator’.”

– David Ferry

 

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

Shaina: The title “Breathing Corpses” is quite potent. What does it mean to you?

David: Well, it’s kinda like The Walking Dead isn’t it? In the idea that people are walking around dead already, they just don’t know it. And they don’t know when they’re going die. For instance, with the characters Kate and Ben, she’s already dead in their relationship in an odd kind of way. So she’s a breathing corpse. And then there’s fate at play: she’s already marked for death. And Amy is marked for death. And Richard is marked for death… So there’s a sense that there’s nothing you can do about it. You may be marked for death sooner rather than later. I think the playwright is saying: we’re all walking around dead, we just don’t know when it’s going to happen.

Shaina: But there are actual dead corpses in the play?

David: The one dead body that we see onstage is at the top of the play. And we find out later that it’s one of the characters we meet during the course of the following scenes. So we go back in time as the play progresses. He’s fated to be dead in a month when we meet him on stage. The other dead character – whose body is found offstage – we see her breathing as well. So at the time that the first scene of the play occurs, two people that we meet on stage, are already dead.

It’s so bizarre trying to figure out the timeline of this.

benjamin-sutherland-kim-nelson-in-breathing-corpses-at-coal-mine-theatre-bensophoto

Photo of Benjamin Sutherland & Kim Nelson by Shaun Benson

Shaina: So as a person discovers a dead body, does that mark them for death? Or is it more complicated than that?

David: There are a couple of things that seem clear to me. Everybody is marked for death. We’re all going to die. But some people are marked for death early, before their time. One of the things I’m playing with in the play is that each character who dies prematurely appears at some point in their bare feet. Nobody’s going to understand what that’s about! But it will set them apart, because they are already walking towards death. And Charlie, who is death himself, also appears in bare feet – he carries death with him… It’s an odd play.

erin-humphry-and-richard-sheridan-willis-in-breathing-corpses-at-coal-mine-theatre-bensophoto

Photo of Erin Humphry & Richard Sheridan Willis by Shaun Benson

Shaina: This is the first Canadian production of this British play. Do you find there’s a difference between working on British, Canadian and American repertoire?

David: English theatre is hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years old. Canadian theatre is not. It’s a baby, relatively speaking. And the tradition of Canadian-written plays is, relatively speaking, new, especially in comparison. The tradition of English playwriting is far more influenced by the editor, literature and form. They have a different rhythm to them. And American plays are completely different, as well. They have a tradition of writing for commercial theatre, which we essentially don’t have in Canada. The idea of a play being written for a marketplace that has to please a lot of people who are willing to pay $130 – $500 doesn’t exist here. Most Canadian plays are done once, which is a tragedy. It’s a completely different crucible of what a play has to go through.

So when you work on an English play, even with a young feminist writer like Laura, you’re dealing with a long tradition of a commercial theatre, a regional arts funded system which has a long gestation period (think a 6 month rehearsal period instead of a 3 week period). You’re dealing with a play that comes from a more literate background. And you’re dealing with structures and forms and rhythms that come from another culture. And deal with different issues. I mean the whole issue of immigration is treated completely different in English plays than in Canadian plays because it’s a different issue. So it’s always interesting to work on plays from other cultures.

For me, English rhythms, especially urban rhythms, are very fast and very quick thinking. Not that we don’t have that in Canadian theatre, especially with our young playwrights like Jordan Tannahill, who deals with highly literate people and quick thinkers. But even his plays are a different rhythm because he’s Canadian. I would argue that Mamet cannot happen in England and Churchill can’t happen in the United States because they come from different traditions all together.

Photo of Simon Bracken, Erin Humphry & Richard Sheridan Willis by Shaun Benson

Photo of Simon Bracken, Erin Humphry & Richard Sheridan Willis by Shaun Benson

Shaina: So are you using accents in this version?

David: Yes, because it is such a distinctly British play. Ted and Diana – the producers of the Coal Mine – picked the plays. And it was really important to them that in the casting we really find actors that can deliver on the dialogue.

Shaina: How is it different working with Coal Mine, compared with other companies?

David: In an important way, it’s very focused on the actor: good acting, good plays, in an intimate space. There’re no grants, they do everything out of the pockets of the producers and that gets paid back through box office. It’s a big part of their mandate to have a serious footprint in this (Danforth) neighbourhood. This year, their season passes have doubled from last season. We can sell 1700 seats for this show, and they’ve already sold over 500 in advance, which is fantastic for a tiny little theatre like this. It works because of the funding model. You aren’t doing it for the big paycheques. But it also gives you the ability to work on a schedule that is really actor-friendly. For example, I decided to have intense, 5 hour days for the first 2 weeks instead of 8 hours with a break, because the actors have auditions, they have days on set etc. It’s feasible to do all that in this model.

It’s really important in this company that everybody has ownership in the room. It’s the way I like to work. My job as a director is to create an empowered room. It’s not director as boss, it’s director as facilitator.

Photo of Erin Humphry & Johnathan Sousa by Shaun Benson

Photo of Erin Humphry & Johnathan Sousa by Shaun Benson

Shaina: There’s a huge amount on offer in Toronto right now for live performance. What do you think people will get here that they won’t get anywhere else?

David: Well we’re a part of the rise of post-alternate theatre (which is what I call it), “a neo–alt”, like The Storefront Theatre, Red Sand Castle, Coal Mine, site-specific work, which has come to Toronto with a vengeance. What’s interesting to me, is that a lot of the generating forces behind these theatres are female. And for young women like Diana Bentley (producer at Coal Mine Theatre and one of my favourite actors in the world) – there are doors that aren’t open to her that are open to a certain generation of men like myself.

Instead of saying “That’s a drag,” Diana says: “Fuck it, I’m going to start my own space.” These young women are taking ownership of storytelling in a neo-feminist mode. I’m finding it particularly exciting.

I think what these theatres have to offer is access for voices that didn’t have a place to speak before. Access for new faces. Access for types of theatre.

Also, this theatre is an example of theatre owned by a community.

This theatre is not theatre-centric. It is community-centric. So the majority of the people that come live in the Danforth, Leslieville, Riverdale, Beaches area. They come because they can walk to it! And as we see an increasing neighbourhood separation because transit is so bad, people try to live, work and stay in their neighbourhood as much as possible like in New York. I think that’s really important.

Shaina: How would you describe this production in 5 words?

Watch the video to hear David’s answer:

 

Breathing Corpses

Presented by Coal Mine Theatre

14670781_963250057120206_4274674844723645368_n

Who:
Written by Laura Wade | Directed by David Ferry
Starring Simon Bracken, Erin Humphry, Kim Nelson, Johnathan Sousa,
Benjamin Sutherland, Severn Thompson, Richard Sheridan Willis
Set and Lighting design by Steve Lucas
Costume design by Ming Wong | Sound Design by Verne Good
Fight Director Casey Hudecki | Dialect Coach Rae Ellen Bodie

Where:
Coal Mine Theatre, 1454 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

When:
October 23–November 13, 2016
Tuesday-Saturday @ 7:30 • Sunday Matinee @ 2pm (new this year!)

Tickets:
All Tickets $35 (previews $25)
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/752042

Connect:
w: www.coalminetheatre.com
fb: /coalminetheatre
t: @coalminetheatre
#CoalMineThree #IndieTheatre #BreathingCorpsesTO #Season3

“Concord Floral: A real, raw look at teenage life.” Interview with ensemble member Rashida Shaw

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird  

SSB: How long have you been involved with this play?

Rashida Shaw: I have been involved with Concord Floral since its first workshop presentation at Canadian Stage’s Festival of Ideas and Creations in the spring of 2012. The following November, we did another workshop at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Bring The Buzz Festival. In October 2014, we presented the full 80-minute world premiere production at the Theatre Centre (co-produced by Why Not Theatre). All three iterations were drastically different from one another, yet depicted similar themes of adolescence, suburban sprawl, and modern representations of medieval images/text.

Photo by Erin Brubacher

Photo by Erin Brubacher

SSB: How has it changed from its first workshop to now?

RS: The very first workshop we did was seven pages long with very little dialogue. It relied heavily on image-based aesthetics through the use of tableaux and a projection screen that showed medieval themed paintings. The piece was largely centred around little snippets of a day at a high school and through the incorporation of live music and images; it provided a unique visceral experience for the audience.

I think this version differs from the earlier workshops as you get to learn more about each individual character: their thoughts, hopes, and fears. Having more text allows you to watch these characters go through a much more developed narrative journey. There is no projection screen and it’s a very minimal set, with a greater emphasis on sound and lightning. The first workshop was a glance into an event that took place during one day, inviting audiences into “the teenage world”. In this version, we dive to a much greater depth of what is means to be a teenager in our present day. We explore questions concerning the notion of collective responsibility, not only as young people, but as humans.

Jessica Munk, Erum Khan. Photo by Erin Brubacher.

Jessica Munk, Erum Khan. Photo by Erin Brubacher.

SSB: What has been the biggest challenge of the process?

RS: The biggest challenge of the process thus far is being true to this version’s iteration and not falling back on how I performed my role in 2014.  I’ve realized it’s been extremely difficult for me to stray away from my muscle memory of how I used to talk and move, and challenge myself to find new nuances in the role and be open to trying something different.

SSB: Why do you think this story is important?

RS: I think this story is important because it shows realistic views on what it is like to be a teenager. We are complex individuals who face heartbreak, joy, disappointment – some teenagers have to grow up before their time. The play examines topics and themes that are largely considered taboo for adults to talk about and that are especially rare for young people to be seen talking about in theatre (or any artistic medium), let alone doing. It’s important because teenagers are not what you see on a television show played by thirty year olds. They are humans living on this planet trying to figure things out just like everyone else and this show gets that.

Photo by Erin Brubacher.

Photo by Erin Brubacher.

SSB: Do you think this play is an accurate representation of your peers?

RS: I believe this play is an accurate representation of my peers because of the casual conversational style of dialogue in the play; the slang terms that come from our day-to-day life; having actual young voices and bodies on stage, and the fact that as a cast, we relate to the characters we play because they are so close to ourselves.

SSB: What’s it like working with more than one director?

RS: Well, we basically have three directors and it’s surprisingly easy and seamless for the most part. Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner, our co-directors, are like our moms and Erum Khan, our assistant director, is like our big sister (even though she’s a year younger than me). Erin and Cara are so in sync that they usually finish each other’s sentences like weird couples or identical twins. There are also times when only one of them can be at a rehearsal and we might get conflicting notes but when they’re both back in the room one of them will say: “Oh yeah, I see what you’re saying. We should try that.” They all have different yet similar styles that mesh well for us in this process. It allows us to appreciate and understand the piece and our roles through a multitude of viewpoints. One director might ask us to try to think about a line from a new perspective, another will ask us to approach something in a different way, while the other might ask how/if a specific moment felt different and why. It’s nice having different views and a sort of 360° super director. We’re very fortunate and lucky to have three cohesive directors.

Photo by Erin Brubacher

Photo by Erin Brubacher

SSB: Why do you do theatre?

RS: In grade 5, I played The Grinch in “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and was bit by the acting bug. I do theatre specifically because it’s a living, changing thing; you never know what’s going to happen with live art and that’s what’s so exciting and what keeps it fresh. Audiences are a big part of that through the give and take between performer and viewer. When I hear their first reaction, I’m like “Ok, now we’re in the same world, now we can play.” I do theatre because I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t. It’s my greatest passion and it brings me the most joy in life (next to food of course).

SSB: Who do you think this play will speak to?

RS: Anyone who has ever been a teenager.

Photo by Erin Brubacher

Photo by Erin Brubacher

Concord Floral

A Brubacher / Spooner / Tannahill production presented by Canadian Stage

concord-floral_erin-brubacher

Who:
Written by Jordan Tannahill
Directors | Erin Brubacher & Cara Spooner
Assistant Director | Erum Khan
Lighting Design | Kimberley Purtell
Sound Design | Christopher Willes
Sound Consultant | Matthew Pencer
Stage Manager | Chad Dembski

What:
A haunting tale set around Concord Floral, once a million square foot abandoned greenhouse and hangout for neighbourhood kids in Vaughan, Concord Floral re-imagines Giovanni Boccaccio’s 13th century literary masterpiece The Decameron in a contemporary Canadian suburb, in which ten teens must flee a plague they have brought upon themselves. This Canadian Stage production brings together ten youth performers from the GTA and across the country to play ten teenagers (plus a fox, a bird, a couch, and a greenhouse), in this piece about beauty, cruelty, mercy and the modern adolescent experience.

Where:
Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street)

When: 
September 27 – October 16

Tickets:
canadianstage.com

Connect:
facebook – Canadian Stage
twitter – @canadianstage
hashtag – #csConcord

 

 

 

One-on-One with Sasha Singer-Wilson, co-creator of “Inside” at SummerWorks 2016

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

Shaina Silver Baird: How and why did you decide to create a one-on-one site-specific piece? What does this approach offer you that traditional theatre doesn’t?

Sasha Singer-Wilson: I am interested in revitalizing the audience/participant experience and I love creating performance in unlikely places. How can we, as theatre artists, employ an audience in our ephemeral art form? With Netflix so seductively calling from my laptop, this nature of performance offers transformational magic that I am hungry for, both as a maker and as an audience member. If I am hungry for it, I trust that others are too. With Inside, we invite our participants into an experience of close proximity and fly-on-the-wall connection, with the opportunity to witness performers in a private moment. The creation process is really unique – we build our characters and their “scores” out of interviews with our collaborators and then work slowly and organically from the kernels that stand out to us. It’s rewarding and super fun.

Shaina: What role does Cat and the Queen’s music play? Or is that a secret?

Sasha: Cat is an incredible multi-disciplinary performer. To find out how her musical skills are featured, which they are, you’ll have to come and see the show!

Photo of Cat Montgomery by Samantha Madely.

Photo of Cat Montgomery by Samantha Madely.

Shaina: Why create in theatre? Why not some other medium?

Sasha: Theatre is living and breathing. It is right here, right now. This confounds and energizes me. Theatre’s ability to gather people and give the gift of a shared experience is so powerful. Theatre’s subtlety and inherent transcendence bring grace.

Shaina: Why the name The Blood Projects?

Sasha: When Sarah Jurgens and I started creating together in 2009, we were interested in the connective tissue of stories and found our interest lay in work connected to family, to questions about life and death, and the intricacies of the human experience. We dug the idea of “projects” because we both identify as multi-disciplinary artists and wanted to create a home for whatever we made. Mostly, the blood projects makes immersive, intimate performance in unlikely places, but is interested in including film and video, musical experiences and photography.

Shaina: Describe “Inside” in 5 words:

Sasha:

home. heartbreak. birthday party. fly-on-the-wall. meditative.

Inside

13510925_826683224132583_7694727319619811091_n

Who:
Company – the blood projects/Cat and the Queen
Created by Cat Montgomery and Sasha Singer-Wilson with Tabby Johnson, Sarah Jurgens, Krista Mennell, Nadeem Phillip, Adrian Rebucas, Giovanni Spina, Heather Watts, and Jada White. Produced by the blood projects and Cat and the Queen.

What:
Hi. Thank you for being interested in our show. We are Sasha and Cat. We make theatre and music. Join us and our friends on a series of eight site-specific one-on-one encounters in a secret location west-end apartment that ask who we are when we’re alone, at home.

We asked our collaborators a series of questions like “does the public presentation of yourself differ from the self you experience in private?”, “what’s one thing you’ll only do when you’re alone at home?”, and “if someone were to peek in on you, all alone, in your bedroom, what might they learn about who you truly are?” We built our piece around kernels of truth, dipped in fluorescent colours – a celebration of shared humanness in all its strangeness and simplicity and beauty. We hope you’ll join us.

Curator’s Note
“Am I most myself when I’m alone? If so, what does that say about me? Working with the available light of their site, the artists Inside offer us one to one encounters with(in) the privacy of others.” – Guillermo Verdecchia

Where:
Starting Location: Pia Bouman
6 Noble Street
Toronto

When:
Thursday August 4th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Thursday August 4th 9:30 PM – 10:45 PM
Friday August 5th 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Friday August 5th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Saturday August 6th 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Saturday August 6th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Saturday August 6th 9:30 PM – 10:45 PM
Sunday August 7th 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Sunday August 7th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Monday August 8th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Monday August 8th 9:30 PM – 10:45 PM
Wednesday August 10th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Wednesday August 10th 9:30 PM – 10:45 PM
Thursday August 11th 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Thursday August 11th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Thursday August 11th 9:30 PM – 10:45 PM
Friday August 12th 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Friday August 12th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM
Friday August 12th 9:30 PM – 10:45 PM
Saturday August 13th 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM
Saturday August 13th 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Saturday August 13th 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM

More Show Info:
summerworks.ca

Tickets:
summerworks.ca/inside/

Connect:
web – bloodprojects.com
twitter – @bloodprojects
facebook – bloodprojects
instagram – @bloodprojects