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Posts tagged ‘Site-Specific Theatre’

Artist Profile: Rosamund Small, Playwright of Outside The March’s “TomorrowLove”

Interview by Brittany Kay

Rosamund Small has always been the most kind-hearted and generous artist that I know in this city. Her passion and love for her craft is always apparent. She is insanely smart, courageous and incredibly funny, which always shines through in her work. We sat down over nachos to talk about her current show TomorrowLove, which opens tonight with Outside the March. We talk about the magic in site-specific/immersive work, her writing process and the much anticipated experience audiences will have in this fantastical show.

Brittany Kay: Tell me a little bit about your show?

Rosamund Small: The show is called TomorrowLove. It’s an immersive experience with Outside the March. It’s about love and it’s set in many different versions in the very near future, where one piece of amazing technology exists. Everything else is pretty much the same as our world except for just one thing. It’s about exploring different relationships and how this one thing activates change in the way that two people relate to each other. Sometimes it ends up bringing people closer together and sometimes it pushes them further apart. TomorrowLove touches on a lot of things to do with love and identity and sometimes consent and sometimes loss. The dream is that it will be a varied experience no matter what. There’s a lot of material and the idea is that you’ll wander through this futuristic environment and find yourself in these different stories.

BK: So things are happening…

RS: Simultaneously. There are multiple things happening at the same time. I think sometimes immersive theatre is structured so that you purposefully miss things. You miss whole stories, you miss the beginning, and you miss the end. In TomorrowLove, you grasp an entire story. It’s short but it’s complete, and then there’s another one and another one. It’s quite curated and carefully put together to make sure that you get the entire narrative and then a different entire narrative.

Photo by Neil Silcox

Photo by Neil Silcox

BK: Can you talk about this lottery system the actors are going to take part in each night? There are so many layers to this experience!

RS: So many layers! It’s got a lot going on underneath in terms of how the show is put together. One really exciting thing that we came across is that I wrote all of the characters to be gender blind, so they are not necessarily man or woman. I just didn’t make that decision when I was writing it.

Typically we have really gendered stories about anything from a break up to sexual violence to anything really to do with how two people relate in a relationship. Those stories can be super valuable, but in this case I wanted to sort of push out of those ideas and explore the idea that if I didn’t know the gender of the person, how would I navigate that in the writing? The characters have genders because whatever actor is playing them inhabits their gender, but that, I think, is part of a larger piece of the feeling of the show. It’s about the self and the individual and what is innate to you and how did you end up in your life?

There is also an aspect of the show where every night there’s a lottery and the actors get assigned their roles.

BK: So the actors have to learn a lot of material?

RS: Yeah.

BK: Shit, that’s fun. Cool!

RS: That is the reaction I’m hoping for: “That’s fun!” I hope they all say that. I think it’s going to be one of those things that ends up being really fun and then really hard and you cry and then it gets really fun again. All of the actors are going to be learning about as much as Hamlet or a little more, in terms of numbers of lines

BK: Wow!

RS: They are also playing different people, so they’ll inhabit very different stories. In one sense, in a lot of theatre, you feel like you want to rehearse and rehearse until you’ve hit something, but in another way that sense of rehearsal can take away from a sort of urgency or hopefully a sense of live-ness that I think we’re finding. It’s a big risk, obviously. They’ll be rehearsed. Their scene partner will be changing. Their goals will be changing. I think the experiences intrinsically will be a little bit out of control. Where you end up is a little bit out of your control. That’s a really big theme of the show.

Photo by Neil Silcox

Photo by Neil Silcox

BK: How did you start writing this? How did this idea come to be?

RS: I started working on it about two years ago. In a way it started because Mitchell Cushman and I wanted to work on another project together. It took us a really long time to shape what that would be. We had some specific goals. We wanted to make theatre that would appeal to people that often don’t go to the theatre. That’s kind of a tenant of a lot of theatre companies, but definitely of OTM. He’s really generous and I think he really wanted to create something that was my voice. It’s not like it was going to be something that he would come up with and I would execute. He really wanted to do something that we both felt really passionately about.

We started with short stories about sex. The idea to push them into a place that couldn’t quite happen was the next thing, so then you end up in the world of technology. For me, personally, I realized that the idea of a show about technology doesn’t really interest me because I think about technology a lot in a literal way. I can think about my phone and what it means but I think this show is more of a metaphorical access point to that. The pieces of technology are very nearly possible, in fact, I think a few of them have become more possible since I’ve started writing them.

BK: What kind of technology are we talking here?

RS: One is an implant that you can get that prevents you from saying certain things that you really want to make sure you never say… so you don’t let something slip, which obviously has huge implications for relationships. Another one is you can choose to show your partner an extended montage of all of your memories. Another one is an online chatting app that actually finds you your soul mate. Another one is you can get a piece of someone’s DNA put into a little mixture and inject it into yourself so that you can experience their emotions.

BK: Why site-specific and immersive for this show?

RS: I think immersive and site-specific theatre is very magical because you immediately don’t know what’s going to happen and that’s very much how I feel about all relationships. I think how I feel about progress and technology is really surprising and personal. Immersive theatre really lends itself to heightening that experience. Sometimes people have an idea of immersive theatre being scary or that it’s going to put you on the spot or make you uncomfortable and I think, in a lot of ways, it’s the opposite of that. It’s an invitation to this world.

Photo by Neil Silcox

Photo by Neil Silcox

BK: I know a lot of your plays has been verbatim or immersive in their nature and presentation. What draws you to that kind of work? What makes you keep doing this?

RS: It’s funny because TomorrowLove is such a departure from that. This is heightened and fiction.

The draw to documentary and to interviews and to Vitals (which was fiction but really well researched) is that the world is really interesting. I would always advise writers who were stuck in their writing or were just starting to write, to think about starting there because it grounds you in the way that people actually talk and the way that things actually happen. You put so much of your heart and yourself into your documentary work but a lot of the time people don’t know that because they assume it’s more distant from you. I think, for this piece, it’s scary because it’s going to be really hard to hide that the characters and observations are going to seem like they are from me.

BK: What was your process to write this script?

RS: This is such a boring answer because it’s such a writer answer: I would just start. A lot of it is really just like improvisation except I was writing it down. I would just go. I would always go for a relationship problem or a change in a relationship or a relationship crisis and then ask how would a piece of technology either begin that or change that or heighten that? So I never made up a piece of technology and wrote the play to go with it. I started to write the story and then the necessary technology would merge into the story.

There are definitely pieces that are inspired from things that have happened to me or to people that I’ve loved. I think all writers steal shamelessly. They are much more me, honestly. They are much more from my own questions about people. Fiction is so embarrassing, somehow.

BK: The audience is invited to the Aorta? What is that?

RS:

BK: Ahh, a mystery?

RS: (she smiles.)

BK: Love that. How are your actors rehearsing this show?

RS: There has to be more than one thing rehearsing at once because there is so much material. They are all crazy pros. These artists are really, truly the real deal and really experienced, as well as being really good. They are like a crazy dream. It’s a real ensemble. So we’re reading the pieces, we’re doing the pieces, and we’re trading off because there will be more than one actor playing every part. There’s a bit of a tap in tap out mentality going on. We also have two amazing assistant directors (Llyandra Jones and Griffin McInnes) and Mitchell and myself. We’re all “do-si-do”ing the rehearsal process.

Photo by Neil Silcox

Photo by Neil Silcox

BK: Are there any fears or excitements for this show?

RS: No.

I’m joking. I’m joking so hard.

I think the fears and the excitements are always the same thing. The fear and the excitement is that I think the pieces are very vulnerable. The characters are in really vulnerable places. I feel very vulnerable. They’re really raw, sometimes in a comedic sense and sometimes in a tragic sense with really painful experiences. So the fear and the excitement is about sharing that, but that’s also such a part of theatre and such a part of love.

BK: What’s your working relationship like with Mitchell Cushman? How did you guys meet? What makes you want to continue to collaborate with him?

RS: We met at the Paprika Festival. He was working there and I was one of the oldest participants. He directed a staged reading of mine in the festival and so that’s the first time we worked together really. I think you can tell immediately when you work with someone like him that you can just trust him. You can trust him to be honest. You can trust him with your work. Actors trust him. He’s just a really sort of subtly supportive and reassuring person, you know? You also trust him because it’s so obvious how wicked smart he is.

He saw a little bit of Vitals and he asked to direct it and we turned it into Outside The March doing this huge production of it. It was incredible. It’s a very close working relationship. We’re really in each other’s business. It’s not like I write the script and he directs the show, it’s very collaborative. We argue and we compromise and we work really well together. I’m incredibly lucky to work with someone like that and to work with our whole team, as well.

BK: Why Outside The March for your show?

RS: I think the short answer is because this is the kind of work that Mitchell wants to develop with the company. I remember when I saw their production of Mr. Marmalade and it blew my mind. I was like this is the kind of theatre that I want to do.

BK: What do you want audiences walking away with from this show?

RS: That’s hard because you can’t really control it, no matter how hard you try. I hope they experience some empathy and have been entertained. I think entertainment is really undervalued as a quality. Not thoughtlessly, but entertained. I think it depends what kind of person you are – if you are interested in a mind-bending puzzle, you might be interested in crazy technology and its implications, if you’ve been through a break up, it might stir some things up, might make you think about your own life or it might just be an experience that you leave behind you at the door. I just hope for something.

Rapid Fire Question Round

Favourite Book: What? That isn’t fun, that’s so hard.

Favourite Play: What? What is this? Like which is your favourite parent Brittany?

Favourite Food: Pizza. Is that a boring answer? It’s why I moved to Little Italy.

Favourite Place in Toronto: The Island, Ward’s Island specifically.

What are you listening to: I’m leaning heavily into this Carly Rae Jepsen album “Emotion”. It’s like really good… Love good pop music!

Best advice you’ve ever gotten: Katherine Cullen once told me, “When you feel like you just can’t go on and something terrible has happened, it’s really important to just go to bed and wake up tomorrow.” We can fall asleep and escape and wake up and something will be recharged in us. It’s amazing.

TomorrowLove

by Rosamund Small, Presented by Outside The March

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Who:
Written by Rosamund Small
Directed and Developed by Mitchell Cushman

Ensemble
Damien Atkins
Katherine Cullen
Paul Dunn
Amy Keating
Cyrus Lane
Mayko Nguyen
Oyin Oladejo
Anand Rajaram

Producer – Michelle Yagi
Stage Manager – Kate Sandeson
Production Manager/Technical Director – Alanna McConnell
Scenic Design – Anahita Dehbonehie
Lighting Design – Nick Blais
Costume Design – Lindsay Dagger Junkin
Composition and Sound Design – Richard Feren
Choreographer – Robert Binet

Associate Director – Llyandra Jones
Associate Director – Griffin McInnes
Associate Production Manager – David Costello
Apprentice Stage Manager – Kate Hennigar
Assistant Producer – Deanna Galati
Front of House and Group Sales Manager – Sabah Haque
Assistant Choreographer – Cassandra Martin
Production Consultant – Katherine Devlin Rosenfeld
Publicist – Samantha Eng

What:
An intimate immersive encounter that imagines the future of romantic connection.

Navigate your way through a series of simultaneously-unfolding duets, in which innovations in technology grant physical transformation, time and space travel, immortality, the extraction of the human soul, and a fridge that expands to hold infinite groceries—all in the name of love.

If you roll over in bed and reach for your iPhone, if you store more memories on your feed than in your brain, if you’ve ever longed to upgrade yourself or your partner, then welcome to TomorrowLove™.

From the creative team behind Vitals (2014 Dora Awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding New Play).

Where:
The Aorta (733 Mt Pleasant Rd)

When:
Show runs from From November 19 – December 18 (Mondays excluded)

Tickets:
Tickets: $40 General, $30 for under 30/arts workers http://tomorrowlove.brownpapertickets.com/

Connect:
w: outsidethemarch.ca
fb: /OutsideTheMarch
t: @outsidethemarch
ig: @outside_the_march

 

Embracing the Fast & Funny in the Site-Specific Fringe Show “Behold, the Barfly” – In Conversation with Justin Haigh

In the Greenroom’s Madryn McCabe sat down with Justin Haigh, writer, director and co-producer of Behold, the Barfly! playing at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival, to chat about the thrill behind how the show came together, working with a killer team, and the challenges and joys of working in a site-specific venue.

MMC: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about the show?

JH: 

Behold, the Barfly! is a surreal and cerebral sketch comedy revue set in the subconscious mind of a slumbering barfly. It’s got traditional sketches, some rather dark humour (bring the kids!), some theatre of the mind, a couple of musical numbers, a Christmas pageant that is just plain ridiculous, and a loose through-line that I won’t spoil here but that I hope will add just a smidge of genuine emotion to counterbalance the sheer silliness of it all.

MMC: I’ve read that you were asked to do a site-specific show after one had dropped out. What was it like putting together a show in only two months?



JH: I got an email at the end of March (I guess that actually makes it three months from email to opening night… but still, a timeline of madness) informing me that another site-specific show had dropped out and I was next on the waiting list, and did I want to take their place? Having no script, no plan, no venue, no cast, no creative team, and no budget, I was hesitant for obvious reasons, but Sarah [Thorpe – assistant director/co-producer/actor] said, “If you don’t do it, you’ll probably regret it.” I realized she was right. The Fringe is probably the most affordable way of independently producing a show in Toronto with the bonus of having a built-in enthusiastic audience willing to take a chance on just about anything. I’ve always loved sketch comedy and had always wanted to give writing it a shot, so I figured this was the universe telling me to shit or get off the pot.

It’s been pretty non-stop ever since then. I’ve found the biggest challenge (other than the lack of sleep and absence of free time) was to have to put a lot of pieces together simultaneously that would normally be done sequentially. I was writing the script at the same time as securing a venue, working on graphics, approaching potential cast members – I even had to come up with a description for the show for the Fringe program when I didn’t even have the thing written.

Needless to say it’s been an incredibly stressful yet productive two and a half months, and we will see what audiences have to say, but I’m quite proud of what we have managed to accomplish in so little time.

Photo Credit:

Photo by Laura Dittmann

MMC: You’ve got a great cast, full of popular indie theatre actors. How did you put this cast together?

JH: 

Your question makes it sound like I put together the A-Team – which in some ways is accurate. We’ve got performers Jeff Hanson and Sarah Thorpe, who are well-known in the indie scene; Eric Miinch, Ned Petrie, Marsha Mason, and Steve Hobbs, who are known within the sketch and comedy community; Elizabeth Anacleto is a respected figure in the clown community; and Kevin MacPherson is a classically trained actor who has made his mark in the east coast Shakespeare scene. It’s a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of a cast in that sense, which I love because everyone brings something a little different to the table and makes for a more interesting production over all.

As for how we assembled it, I was already friends with half the cast, so call that the benefit of having a social circle filled with talented individuals. It wasn’t really a question of if we wanted to work with them, but just what parts they’d be good for. The other half were either actors that I or Sarah saw perform somewhere at some point and we made a note of their talent and that we should keep them in mind for future projects (that’s how we got in touch with Kevin and Marsha who I think were both kind of surprised to get messages out of the blue from someone they’d never met), or actors who were recommended to us, like Steve.

MMC: How do you find doing a site-specific show different from a more traditional theatrical venue?

JH: 

The biggest difference is the lack of tech – you are very much dependent on the concept, writing, and performance to get the idea across. In some ways this is a limitation, but I think it enhances the immediacy of the work. The less artifice on stage, the closer to a shared reality you are with the audience. There is also that magical element of seeing a room or space unexpectedly brought to life by performance; theatre in a theatre leaves no room for surprise or spontaneity, but theatre in a non-theatre setting still feels fun and oddly risqué.

Behold, the Barfly! 4 (Credit - Laura Dittmann)

MMC: You’re known for the cabarets Love is a Poverty You Can Sell 1&2. What can your audience expect from Behold the Barfly! that is similar? Or what sets this show apart from your others?

JH: Like LIAPYCS 1 & 2Behold, The Barfly! is set in a licensed establishment so one can expect the mood to be a bit more relaxed and a little more festive. We hope to give audience members more time than at a traditional venue to settle in, enjoy the atmosphere, grab a drink… maybe chat with some of the characters who will be floating around. I think the joyous atmosphere of the LIAPYCS shows and this one is the greatest common factor. I hope audiences will find the work to be intelligent but not labourious; the world is an increasingly dark and nutty place – I hope we can offer respite from it, even if it is only for 75 minutes.

What sets it apart is the fact that as a format and genre, this is totally unlike many of our past works which include Antigone and No Exit – Greek tragedy and existential drama this ain’t.

Behold, the Barfly!

Presented by Spoon VS Hammer as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival

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Behold, the Barfly! 1 (Credit - Laura Dittmann)

Photo by Laura Dittmann

Who:
Written By: Justin Haigh
Company: Spoon vs. Hammer
Company origin: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cast: The Spoon Vs. Hammer Players

What:
From the writer of the smash hit ‘Love is a Poverty You Can Sell’ (★★★★★ / NNNNN) comes a surreal and cerebral sketch spectacular featuring some of Toronto’s finest comedy talent! Peer into the pickled subconscious of a slumbering barfly and behold the wonders within: Mirth! Adventure! Mediocre Poetry! Sober contemplation of life choices! Dinosaurs?

When:
June 29-July 3 & July 5-10 @ 7pm; plus July 9 @ 3pm
12 Performances!

Where:
Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton Street, Toronto



Tickets:

$12, here: http://fringetoronto.com/fringe-festival/tickets-and-passes/



Connect:
Web: www.SpoonVsHammer.com
Facebook: SpoonVsHammer
Twitter: @SpoonVsHammer
Instagram: @SpoonVsHammer
#BeholdTheBarfly

WARNINGS: Strobe Light, Nudity, Sexual Content, Mature Language

2014 Fringe Preview – Love’s Labour’s Lost – Shakespeare BASH’d

Interview by Bailey Green

As I entered the rehearsal hall for Love’s Labour’s Lost (presented by Shakespeare BASH’d) I was struck by the amount of people in the room. With no role double cast, the cast of 16 generated such an exuberant atmosphere that I couldn’t believe they had just finished a run. Their attitude as an ensemble reflected the youthful energy of the play.

In Love’s Labour’s Lost, the King of Navarre and his three men swear an oath to remain celibate so that they can focus on academic pursuits. Unfortunately the day after the men swear this oath, the Princess of France and her three ladies—a group of fierce, grounded, intelligent women—arrive on a political mission. Passion, poetry and chaos ensue. I sat down with the four—that’s right, four—pairs of lovers to chat about their character’s relationships, their own quirks and the upcoming Fringe production.

Love's Labour's Lost - Hallie Seline & Jesse Nerenburg - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Hallie Seline & Jesse Nerenberg – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Princess of France (Hallie Seline) and the King of Navarre (Jesse Nerenberg)

Hallie’s Pet Peeve: Slow walkers.
Jesse’s Fave Rehearsal Snack: The vietnamese steamed buns from Banh Mi Boyz
Post-Show Drink of Choice: “Wine wine wine” (Hallie), Hawaiian Pale Ale (Jesse).
Describe your characters’ relationship:
Hallie: We’re both people in power. We like to outwit each other, top each other. We don’t want to admit that we’re into each other but we are. We totally are.
Jesse: We’re both the leaders of our kingdoms so that definitely plays a part. But why I’m attracted to her is because she’s not afraid to push back. I don’t see her for many pages after the first meeting, but when I do, I am really in love with her. I’ve written all of these poems about her. Once you’re in, you’re in.

Love's Labour's Lost - Suzette McCanny and Jeff Hanson - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Suzette McCanny and Jeff Hanson – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Rosaline (Suzette McCanny) and Berowne (Jeff Hanson)

Suzette’s Pet Peeve: Bus windshield wipers.
Jeff’s Favourite Rehearsal Snack: Chocolate chip cookies.
Post show drink of choice: Apricot beer (Suzette), “Any drink anyone will buy for me” (Jeff)
Describe your character’s relationship:
Suzette: They have such a love/hate relationship, as in they love to get the best of one another. Rosaline would like to pretend she doesn’t love him or that she’s better than that. But she’s very intrigued by his wit. She thinks he’s smart and he can hold his own next to her. She also sees his cons and can be open about that. She can be herself with him.
Jeff: They had met before at the same party [as Longaville and Maria] and for Berowne he doubts the oath the men all swear to right from the beginning. He doesn’t really think it is going to work. Berowne’s always had control over his emotions and has never fallen madly in love. When they first meet, what Rosaline says to him, how she uses her wit and beats him at his own game, it really intrigues him. He doesn’t really get it, being in love, he’s taken aback. He almost goes through the seven stages of grief, but more like the seven stages of love. He doesn’t understand why but he does truly love her.

Love's Labour's Lost - Catherine Rainville & Joshua Browne - Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Catherine Rainville & Joshua Browne – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Katherine (Catherine Rainville) and Dumaine (Joshua Browne)

Catherine’s Pet Peeve: People chatting in the background while she’s rehearsing a scene
Josh’s Rehearsal Snack: Cigarettes. If he could eat ’em, he would.
Post show drink of choice: A glass of Scotch (both).
Describe your character’s relationship:
Catherine: It’s so instantaneous for everyone, but Dumaine and Katherine have moments of looking at each other and trying to figure each other out. It’s really playful. I get to be aggressive which is fun. We all tease the boys, which for Katherine is her way of playing hard to get. But she’s so obvious when she’s around him.
Joshua: We don’t have a lot of text together, or any really. But we have built this aspect of Katherine being the aggressor. I catch her checking me out at the beginning and I’m a bit more timid. I’m sort of shocked she likes me. Similarly [to the Princess and the King] we have many pages where we don’t see each other at all yet I’m madly in love and have written horrible poetry about her. She’s also pretty sassy. I like that.

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Love’s Labour’s Lost – Andrew Gaboury & Sheelagh Darling – Photo Credit: Jesse Griffiths & Kyle Purcell

Maria (Sheelagh Darling) and Longaville (Andrew Gaboury)

Sheelagh’s Pet Peeve: People who stand really close to you for no reason. Also, toe shoes.
Andrew’s Favourite Rehearsal Snack: Nuts, specifically almonds.
Post show drink of choice: Oatmeal Stout (Andrew), St. Ambroise Apricot Beer (Sheelagh)
Describe your character’s relationship:
Sheelagh: We really like each other right from the beginning. There’s no qualms, we know we’re going to get together. I play along with the Princess but whenever Longaville’s around I’m just making googly eyes and waving. Even when the rest of the girls are berating and chiding the boys, I’m just still waving at Longaville.
Andrew: We kind of met before, it seems we were at the same party. I’m the most serious in terms of the oath the men swear [to stay away from women]. And then I see Maria and I throw it all away. It’s funny watching how I try to logically get around the oath in my poetry.

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Bailey: What makes this production stand out? What will an audience member experience coming to see your show at the Fringe?

Jesse (King): Love’s Labour’s Lost is a very youthful play, it’s one of Shakespeare’s earlier work and it has a rhyming structure which is really unique. The women hold their own. And it’s not a play that is done very often. People are going to be coming out to see a show where they can have a beer and experience a classic that they may have never seen on stage before.

Josh (Dumaine): It’s zany. The men are writing really bad poetry and dressing up as “Russians”. The show is going to be fast, snappy, fun and silly, but it also has vulnerable moments. It’s really relatable.

Hallie (Princess): James [Wallis], our director, said at the beginning that the best way into this story is through yourself. These characters come alive through the energy of the people doing them. And in this cast you have a bunch of really interesting, funny, weird and smart people who come out through the words of these characters. That’s what makes it fun. I hope that will stand out to our audiences.

Suzette (Rosaline): The characters play the whole time! Let’s play this game, let’s play that game. Whenever I see a BASH’d show I feel like I’m part of the team as an audience member, that I’m part of how the story unfolds. Each time we run the show there’s new surprises. And it’s so refreshing to be in a play where my character doesn’t have to be a lost puppy who only cares about being in love. It’s a love story, for sure, but there’s an edge. My goal in life is not just “to be loved by another person.” I still feel that’s very rare.

Jeff (Berowne): People will get a sense of [director] James’ respect for the text, but there’s also a joy and a sense of ensemble and the fun that this rehearsal room has been that I feel will be evident for anyone watching. The audience hopefully should go through the journey with us.

Andrew (Longaville): There’s a real sense of great respect for the text, but also using it as a blueprint. There’s a balance of not bulldozing the words, but really using them and at the same time using yourself in the text.

Hallie (Princess): All pomp is taken out of it with a BASH’d show. It has that “Fringe” energy. You go to the Victory Cafe just a step away from the tents and everything that’s going on in the Mirvish alley. You can sit down and have a beer and listen to a classic tale that is so clear and fresh and fun and full of energy. It’s enjoyable, which is sometimes exactly how you want to spend your time. There’s also wonderful dance that happens that I cannot WAIT for each audience to experience.

Bailey: Well I for one can’t wait for the dance number.

Love’s Labour’s Lost

by William Shakespeare, presented by Shakespeare BASH’d

Love's Labour's Lost - Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Directed by James Wallis

Where? The Victory Cafe, 581 Markham St.
When? Thursday, July 3 @7:00pm
Friday, July 4 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, July 5 @9:00pm
Sunday, July 6 @5:00pm
Tuesday, July 8 @7:00pm
Thursday, July 10 @7:00pm
Friday July, 11 @7:00pm
Saturday, July 12 @7:00pm
Sunday, July 13 @5:00pm
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased via the Toronto Fringe website: https://www.fringetix.ca/

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Follow this wild bunch on Twitter:

Shakespeare Bash’d@ShakesBASHd
Hallie Seline (Princess) – @HallieSeline
Joshua Browne@joshu_ashua
Andrew Gaboury (Longaville) – @afieldofcrowns
Jeff Hanson (Berowne) – @The_Hanman
Suzette McCanny (Rosaline) – @suzettemccanny

In the Greenroom Writer Bailey Green: @_baileygreen

** Want In the Greenroom to catch your Fringe show or have an interesting idea for an interview? Email us at inthegreenroom.ca@gmail.com! **

Artist Profile: Tanya Rintoul Talks Creation, Collaboration & the Rules of Being a “Good Girl”

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

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SSB: Tell me about your upcoming show Good Girl at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

TR: I started writing last summer, after I did a 10 minute Alley Play in the Fringe called Change Room. I had watched a documentary about a serial killer named Aileen Wuornos. If you’ve ever seen the movie Monster with Charlize Theron, that’s her. And I was so interested in how little care there was in actually finding justice. Did justice mean someone being punished and that was it? I felt like no one actually took the time to figure out why she did what she did. So we’ll never know and no one will ever understand her point of view. She was put in dangerous situations and she responded by killing. And I don’t think that that’s someone who necessarily is a “killer.” But I don’t know that for sure. I still have a lot of questions and I’ve watched it over and over and over again.

I was also fascinated by the fact that she was imprisoned for years, and yet every time someone came to interview her, she would fix her hair the second she saw the camera. And she was a wreck; she didn’t have any sort of glamour left. But she’d smile as though she were a movie star, just because there was a camera in the room. Even when she was on death row, she still cared about how she was perceived. So, those two things: the concepts of justice and of perception, really triggered a lot for me and I started writing about it. The play itself is about a woman who’s committed a crime and she wants to figure out why she did it, because she didn’t plan to.

SSB: Where did the title come from?

TR: It came out of one of the stories the character tells in the play, about being told as a child that she’s a “good girl.” We tell children: “Good job! You’re a good boy” or “You’re a good girl.” As a society we’ve come up with rules for what it means to be good – what good people do; what bad people do – but sometimes good people do bad things and sometimes bad people do good things. So what does that even mean?

SSB: Why did you choose to do this piece in a site specific location? Can you talk a bit about your venue?

TR: When I did the first, 10 minute version in the Fringe last year, it was in a small shed. I could fit 12 people and they were closer to me than you and I are right now. It was really terrifying. But I loved that I could talk right to them. I could connect with different people at different times based on who they seemed to be or what they seemed to connect with. I also wanted her to have a world of her own. I thought of warehouses, garages, basements, anywhere really contained where you would go to hide. And I wanted the audience to come into that world. In a theatre the audience is coming into a familiar place. There’s a safety, a contract, an understanding of what’s going to happen and I wanted the audience to feel like they were coming into her space in a really visceral way.

My creative partner (director Elsbeth McCall) and I, were wandering around the Annex one morning around 9 am, and we came across this shop. We didn’t even pay attention to what the shop was selling. We were interested in the sketchy stairs that went down to a basement apartment that looked abandoned. So we started snooping around and this man came to the door and said: “Can I help you?” We told him we were looking for a space for a show in the summer. He seemed really interested in helping us but didn’t know how he was going to do that. We gave him my card and he called 5 minutes later and said “I think I might have something.” So we go back to this pawn shop that he was opening – he’d literally been there a week, he takes us to the back of the store, which is all industrial shelving and storage for his products: 20 stereos, an old coke machine and a robot, really weird things, and it was perfect. Ever since then, he has had everything we needed. I’ve worked in theatres where I haven’t been able to access things that he has. He had lights, chairs; he’s providing us with all the means. He was up on the ladder running cables and chords for us during tech. And he’s a lovely, generous man. He’s so excited.

SSB: Why did you decide to do this piece as part of the Fringe?

TR: I feel like it works because there’s a context for people – a festival is accessible. The Fringe does a lot for you. They set up a structure and ask you the right questions at the right times and that’s really great. It’s our second time doing the Fringe.

SSB: Tell me a little bit about barking birds theatre. Why did you start the company and what has it become for you?

TR: We (Elsbeth McCall and Tanya Rintoul) started the company because we really loved working together. I’ve never met someone who I just connect with on every level. I get really emotional talking about this. We literally say half a sentence and that’s the conversation. We are both on the same page. We met in theatre school and we continued to work together more and more as time went on. We see theatre through the same lens and we tell stories in a similar way.

We’ve always been really interested in people and character-driven story telling. We work in a very multi-disciplinary way as well – although this particular show is a little different. We like to take realism and deconstruct it. Use memory, image and storytelling the way the human mind works: in fragments and flashes.

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Good Girl by Tanya Rintoul

SSB: How was it balancing the roles of writer and performer? Is it hard to relinquish to your director’s vision?

TR: I found it easier than I thought I would. I try to treat them as if they’re two roles. There are things I do in the show that, as an actor, I feel very uncomfortable doing, but as a writer it is really important to me that they be done. So, in a way, I really do have to separate those things. On the other hand I’ll get distracted by the wording of something while I’m in the middle of working on a scene and I’ll have to stop and think about it and say: “Can I cut this?” It’s a weird feeling that I’ve never experienced: the level of distraction that I go through. I literally slow down as I’m speaking to try to process it. But they’re really patient with me, my director and stage manager. They let me figure things out as I need to.

SSB: If you could assemble your dream team for your next project – including any celebrated artist you can think of – who would be in it?

TR: I really want to work with Graham McLaren, because the Hamlet that he did with Necessary Angelchanged the way that I saw theatre. I don’t know if I even understand how my work has changed since I saw that show. The experience I had in that audience definitely changed the way I approached this piece.

SSB: I noticed in the trailer for your show you have some suggested nudity. How do you feel about women showing their bodies in film and theatre?

TR: I think that as a society we’ve forgotten how powerful nudity can actually be because it’s everywhere. I remember when certain words and certain things weren’t shown on TV before a certain time and that’s completely over. And I think it’s too bad, because it has the potential communicate this vulnerability and television has ruined that. In theatre it can be uncomfortable because the people are real and they’re right there, naked in front of you. If an actor is self-conscious you know it, and if they’re not, you start thinking about why, because it’s not “ok” to be naked in front of a room of people. It’s one of those things we just don’t do. I’m certainly interested in the power of it and examining how we use it. It adds to the belief that we’re watching someone in a private moment.

SSB: What’s your favourite thing to do in your time off?

TR: Surprisingly enough, I love seeing my friends. I feel like I should want to be by myself and do something really glamourous. But the thing I miss most when I’m too busy to do anything but work, rehearse and sleep, is calling up someone last minute and making plans. I love spending time with people that I care about… or being here in my house. This interview is the longest I’ve been here, awake, in forever.

SSB: What are you most afraid of?

TR: I have definitely have a fear of being the only person left, which is a very real thing in my family: I’m an only child, I have my parents and that’s it. My extended family is very small. And I have this knowledge and understanding that eventually I will be the only one. And that is something I think about a lot and am afraid of. And I’m afraid of windows at night.

SSB: What is your character most afraid of?

TR: Everything that’s happening to her in the play. Specifically, her biggest fear is being wrong and doing the wrong thing.

SSB: What inspires you, as a person and as an artist?

TR: People. I love learning about people and watching people. I watch documentaries endlessly because I find different points of view so incredible. I’m especially fascinated by people who aren’t anything like me. I grew up in a theatre family. I’m really interested in people who know nothing about theatre. I work at a restaurant and I talk to all these people who come there after their 9 to 5 job and I realize I will never know what that life is like. And I want to know, I want to look in other people’s houses. When I walk down the street at night I’m always looking into people’s windows. Someone said to me once: “You’re afraid of windows? It’s like you’re afraid of being seen.” And that’s terrifying. There could be someone over there and you can’t see them. That’s what the fear is based on. Because I’m always seeing and watching, I feel like someone could be seeing and watching me. It’s a weird cycle. What do we present versus what is actually there? That is a huge part of this play as well. The character really tries to figure out how she’s supposed to be. I’ve been told my whole life I should change things about myself because it’ll be easier. But if I do that, then what will I lose because of who I actually am?

CRASH COURSE on Tanya

Favourite book: Fall on Your Knees and The Time Travellers Wife. I hate that they made that awful movie out it.

Favourite playwright: I have a really hard time with this question, because I have seen so many good productions of bad plays and really bad productions of good plays. Theatre is supposed to be seen so it’s hard to judge a piece without all the other elements. It isn’t simply the words that define it for me.

Favourite vice: I’m not going to say the first thing that comes to mind. But, beer.

If I was to pick up your Ipod right now what artist would be playing: Nina Simone

GOOD GIRL, A barking birds production presented as part of the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival
Written & Performed by Tanya Rintoul
Directed by: Elsbeth McCall
Stage Managed by: 
Jade Lattanzi
Sound Design by: 
Hallie Seline 
 
Runs: July 3rd-July 14th
Wednesday July 3rd – 8:30pm
Thursday July 4th- 8:30pm
Friday July 5th- 8:30pm
Saturday July 6th- 8:30pm
Sunday July 7th- 8:30pm
Monday July 8th- 8:30pm
Wednesday July 10th- 8:30pm
Thursday July 11th- 8:30pm
Friday July 12th- 8:30pm
Saturday July 13th- 8:30pm
Sunday July 14th- 8:30pm
 
Where: 1044 Bathurst Street (Annex Pawn) Enter through back ally off of Vermont Ave. 
Tickets:  $10 at the door/ $11 in advance at https://www.fringetix.ca/scripts/max/2000/maxweb.exe?ACTION=ORDER
 
For more info on Barking Bird Theatre: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Barking-Birds-Theatre/187191241329340
Or check out their facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/147961018727546/?fref=ts