I’m seeking to connect with a small number of theatre artists to form a group (say, 3 to 8 people) to explore, experiment, mutually inspire, and create around the broad theme of life in the shadow of the pandemic and looming environmental catastrophe (i.e., the world we live in). This would be a collaborative venture, and would likely (I hope!) extend over time. I have some skills (writing, solo performance) and lack others (directing, teaching). My hope is that we could challenge and inspire one another, in a spirit of partnership. I’m not proposing myself as the “leader,” but more as the coordinator. This will be a circle, not a hierarchy. I have a broad idea of what I'd like the project to become, but I am deliberately leaving it open so that it can adjust to the artists involved.
Why this particular theme?
At a time when so much is falling apart, theatre has the unique role of being an art form centred around human interaction—of the performers amongst themselves, of the performers with the audience, and of both with the society at large. We need to counter the ambient technological alienation and eco-despair by exploring our human experience directly, through theatrical work (for our own well-being) and performance (for the inspiration of others).
Given that the mess we find ourselves in is a result of rampant capitalism and its offshoots, this venture will be, of necessity, a resolutely non-commercial project. I would hope that any future performances would be free (or pay what you want). At first, I would like us to meet to discuss issues and possibilities, to undertake exploration through theatre exercises, and to collectively write and create drama that affronts the questions of today. Eventually, I hope, spectators/audience will become part of the picture. Essentially, it’s all about human interaction, which I believe is the key to healing. As there is no money involved, there will be formal commitment, at least at the outset. The idea is that we will all love what we’re getting from our interactions.
Who am I?
I trained as an actor in Toronto in the 1980s, and have been exclusively writing and performing monologues since 2009 (my last pre-pandemic show was Running to Saint Sebastian, at the Montreal Fringe in 2019; here's a review from when I did the show in Prague). I also perform as a spoken word artist, and am a graduate of the 2013 Spoken Word program at the Banff Centre. I’m better connected with the spoken word community in Montreal than the theatre community, which is why I’m reaching out in this way—I just don’t know a lot of theatre folk in this city, and this is a theatre project.
Who are you?
I’m interested in working with others who combine an interest in writing and performance, in a broadly theatrical tradition. If you like working somewhat independently but have a desire to reach out to create something with others, that sounds perfect to me.
This project is about process, not product. There is no fixed goal. I see our meetings as opportunities for each of us to receive feedback from the others, perhaps write scenes for the others to perform, experiment together on existing texts, including classic texts that have relevance to our present-day dilemma (Chekhov springs to mind). The form will grow organically out of who is in the group.
As mentioned, this isn’t a commercial venture, so if you need income, this project wouldn’t be a source of it. I think the project would appeal to artists who would like to try something different, experiment, and ultimately create something that we can share with people in order to address the need for support and expression at this difficult time we live in.
I would hope, to begin, that we could meet once every couple of weeks, perhaps with an initial meeting in November to discuss the project and then beginning to meet regularly (not virtually!) in January, in a central location.
If this sounds interesting/intriguing/weirdly compelling, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the following: (1) a bit of an idea of why this project interests you, and maybe what you think you can contribute; (2) an indication of when you are/aren’t available to meet up (i.e., only on weekends/never on Mondays/after 6 p.m./etc.); (3) whether you’d like to talk to me to get more info. I’m conscious of the fact that this project may all sound slightly vague. It is vague, because I can’t know what it is until I know who the participants are. So if you want to talk, let’s talk.
Once I know whether there is anyone out there who is interested in this, I will contact you to invite you to an informal group discussion session where we can all exchange with one another whilst respecting distancing require-ments. At the very least, we can get together once and talk about how we’re all managing the challenge of being theatre folk in a pandemic. If it ends there, nothing will have been lost, and we will have had some relief from pandemic isolation.