OLD PECULIAR – PROGRAM GUIDE CORRECTION

PLEASE NOTE:  There is a printing error in the program guide.  The times and dates for OLD PECULIAR, at the Factory Theatre Studio are incorrect.  The proper times are as follows:

Venue: Factory Theatre Studio
Performances:
August 6th @ 8:00pm
August 8th @ 2:00pm
August 9th @ 10:00pm
August 12th @ 6:00pm
August 15th @ 10:00pm
August 16th @ 2:00pm

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Interview Series – Old Peculiar

Matt Baram of Impromptu Splendour interviews Bronwyn Davies Glover of Old Peculiar

Old Peculiar2

1 – WHAT SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT:

I think we, as artists performing here at Summerworks, should discuss both the similarities and extreme differences between the art forms our companies are presenting in the festival. Sometimes clown and physical theatre can be a form of improvisation and I believe that improvisation, like bouffon and clown, maintains an openness with the audience that keeps them engaged in the process of the artist. The breakdown of the fourth wall supports the possibility for spontaneous magic to happen for both sides of the experience: the artist’s and the audience’s. I think this is important to note for it is what draws me to the mediums I explore in my production ‘Old Peculiar.’

2 – WHAT IS YOUR SHOW ABOUT:

Our show ‘Old Peculiar’ is an absurdist black comedy that follows the presentation traditions of vaudevillian cabaret with short interspersed scenes and several complicated characters. It is about displacement, deviance and defiance. Something we can all relate to as individuals in contemporary society. We are all displaced. ‘Old Peculiar’ is a flamboyant exploration of human shame and happiness through the eyes of the transient hobo clown. There are three main characters that appear onstage between the narration pieces. These characters are each accompanied by the haunting of their alter egos and the provocation they elicit.

‘Old Peculiar’ pokes at the audience’s opinions of disorder, consumerism, addiction, poverty, and capitalism. The production is 100% recycled materials: the wigs, costumes, set pieces, props … it’s all been recycled or dumpstered – in true respect of the hobo, the hobo code of ethics.

3 – WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD CONNECT WITH YOUR SHOW?

I think that our show will appeal to a large audience. It is about displacement, which many of us feel for various reasons during our lives. It’s funny, dark, honest, interactive, thought provoking and celebratory. It is an adult show. Who will connect with it? Men and women, people of colour, people who are white, people with different abilities, theatergoers, queers, summerworks fans, trans people, the privileged, the poor, the disordered, the healthy, the single, clown lovers, the married, the heartbroken, the deviant and the hobo.

4 – HOW DO YOU CREATE YOUR WORK?

We, myself and Tre Whan, create our work through discussion, research and play. We do not have a director, playwright or designer. We do everything ourselves. We don’t force the process of creation together, when it happens it happens. We go to theatre and cabaret and get inspired by other performers. We watch clips and videos of historical clowns, physical performers and bouffons. We research circus, the hobo and political commentary through theatre.

When we sit down to ‘work’ we alternate between on being on our feet and engaging in discourse. We base everything off a politic. That’s truly how we start. We believe in performance being the most effective medium to create change and shake controversy so we bring our politics to each rehearsal.

We sit down and say to one another “what are you thinking about these days? What has affected you? What are you angry about? What do you want to change?” And we take it from there.

5 – IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME AT SUMMERWORKS?

Yes, this is our first time performing in Summerworks. We are so excited.

It has been incredible thus far and the community is so supportive of one another. Artists have been communicating with us since the first all company meeting, the festival has been responsive, honest and reliable. We can’t wait!

6 – WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF SUMMERWORKS IN 2009?

I’m thrilled to be part of the intense creative process that comes with producing a show in an indie theatre festival. The walls of pretense are broken down. We communicate with one another, share knowledge, desire, and an almost childlike giddiness about being part of something together – as individuals. I can feel the energy of all the performers, designers, writers, actors, directors and producers. It’s an addictive experience.

Of course I am excited about presenting our new work – something both myself and Tre Whan have been speaking about for two years now. It’s a piece that epitomizes the Summerworks festival for me at this time. ‘Old Peculiar’ is timeless. It is about humanity, all of our absurdist tendencies and queer peculiarities. It is about darkness, irony, mainstream corporate media and finding the humour in being free. It is in this way that I hope our work will speak to many people.

7 – WHAT DO YOU FEEL THE FESTIVAL BRINGS TO THE CITY IN AUGUST THAT DIFFERS FROM OTHER SUMMER FESTIVALS?

Summerworks brings an edgier theatrical festival than others. Due to the professionalism and support each company receives from the festival, I believe that the caliber is higher and the artists work harder to ensure the quality of the work they present. Summerworks also brings a collective feeling of theatre as social commentary and a form of activism to the artists and audiences of Toronto during the festival. We are all a part of this eclectic community. We have a culture that is different from others and we nurture it together in order to effectively be heard, be seen and create change.

8 – WHEN DID YOU AND YOUR GROUP BEGIN WORKING TOGETHER?

Tre Whan and I began working together in 2002, in Sydney Australia. I moved to Sydney to attend a ten month master clown program with Alan Clay at Playspace Studio. We fell in love, moved back to Canada together in 2003 and started Dot & Dribble Productions in Prince George, BC. We were hired to perform at birthday parties, exhibitions, medieval theme galas and University graduations. We weren’t picky and we didn’t turn anything down!

Eventually we moved out to Toronto with a children’s curriculum and were brought into schools to perform and teach the art of theatrical clown. Since then we’ve toured Fringe festivals, children’s festivals, performed in cabarets in Montreal, Vancouver, Berlin, London, Australia and Amsterdam, produced our own queer carnival, ‘Abnormals Anonymous’ and Toronto’s first ever ‘Trigger Festival’ this past April 2009, a reclamation of queer survivors and art as activism and activism as art.

We’ve trained at Mime Centrum in Berlin, Theatre de L’Ange Fou: The International School of Corporeal Mime in the UK and continue to develop as a duo. Life is exciting together. Our strong histories of physical training, vocal training, film work, dance, classical theatre and clown make us very different performers. We work to compliment one another with our styles and always bring out something entirely different during each project.

SOME RECKLESS ABANDON – Free Ticket Offer!

We’re offering free tickets to the first 30 people who come to our opening performance (Friday Aug. 7th at 4pm) and say the code word ‘COWBOY’.

Some Reckless Abandon@ SUMMERWORKS (National Series)


Written by Leah Bailly

Staring Cara Yeates

Directed by Lori Triolo

“It Works Perfectly!” Four and a Half Stars – Calgary Herald

“Leah Bailly’s prose is stellar” – Fast Forward Magazine


“Yeates gives a tour-de-force performance. A revelation from beginning to end.” – CBC


Playwright Leah Bailly debuts this one-woman tour de force as part of the SummerWorks National Series, starring past Fringe star Cara Yeates (Bye Bye Bombay) and directed by New York native Lori Triolo. After stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, the Calgary Fringe Festival, and Victoria’s UNO festival, Reckless will be in Toronto for seven performances at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace.


The story is simple: Madeleine Cross, just turned 18, about to hop on a plane ALONE to a country she’s never heard of (Honduras) that her Mother hates and her boyfriend thinks is crazy, but will get her the HELL out of her puke-hole prairie town– Maybe Teenage Jesus Camp isn’t such a bad idea?

Interview Series – “Forget Zis” Experiment

Allistair Newton (Ecstasy of Mother Theresa) Interviews Bembo Davies of the:

“FORGET ZIS” Experiment

Directed by Andrzej Sadowski
Presented by The Institute for Non-Toxic Propaganda
Featuring: Bembo Davies

An elder statesman returns from his voyages with some nagging observations: Can the ‘Good Audience People’ permit him to exercise upon them his theories? Exerting virtuoso quibbling, and interweaving comic skills with militant theatrical nakedness, veteran Bembo Davies subtly nudges us towards the intricacies of our collective denial mechanisms.

Bembo Davies

Bembo Davies

1.  You were creating work in a very exciting period in the history of independent theatre in Toronto; one still hears murmurs about the excitement of the late 70s/early 80s in the right circles.  What are your memories of that time and how did that milieu influence your development as a theatre artist?

Alistair, are you suggesting that the excitement has dropped off of late?
Actually, I’m even older; in 1969-71, as a local teenager without any imprinted desire to do theatre, I was dragged into 9, or so, very divergent productions. ( Nowadays, I suspect the list would be longer, as all the impromptu/happening events would have become CV-fodder as conceptualised, hyper-documented performance installations.)  Major blood-transfusions included FUT ’70 (Festival of Underground Theatre). THOG’s tribal rants, and the open stage all-nighters at Global Village where i had my start as floorwasher.  Entering Number 11 (old Passe Muraille), or Theatre 2nd Floor the space was as evocative as the performances.  Cutting my teeth working with some very innovative souls, the legacy must hopefully be an  adherence to the raw energy of creation with a minimalist, found-art scrap nature.  I don’ t know if the city still houses dirt-floor basements on which to rehearse.

2.  You have lived and created theatre in some of the most exciting centres for alternative theatre practice in the world.  How has that artistic/theatrical/cultural experience shaped you as an artist?  Have any of the great Eastern European masters (Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor etc) influenced you as a theatre practitioner?

I beg to differ on a central placing, but provincial Norway is perhaps closer to the loop than provincial Upper Canada.  I wouldn’ t have survived but for Sven Åge Birkeland’s programming for Bergen International Theatre which has regularly brought unique theatrical voices such as: Societas Rafael Sanzios, Theatre de la Radeau, TG Stan and the Houkka Brothers.  The greatest cultural difference to my Canadian upbringing, is that these are freelance ensembles, rather than a rotating pool of freelance actors.  As a result each troop develops their own expressive language coloured by the need to exist beyond linguistic borders; story is often subservient to the actor’s physical task.  These pieces are survival tools, life rafts; uncomfortable artists who spread their web as gestures of resistance.
The Forget Zis piece had its genesis the day after witnessing Devero Theatre Society’s toughest of the tough, butoh street theatre parable The Execution of Pierrot/Arkan in Szczecin, Poland.  For some of us, it was the eve of the tenth anniversary of massacre at Sczrebrenice, and these Russians in exile, based in Dresden were waving their sausages for Polacks in the courtyard of my Prussian Jewish ancestor the Überpresident of Pomerania. Negotiating such resonance may be less accessible in let us say — a Toronto bistro.

Forget Zis takes as its psycho-dramaturgical model Andrzej Sadowski’s A Maudlin Tale, so it was natural to get him aboard as director. I deliberately set rehearsals in Krakow in order to absorb vestigial elements of Granny’s Uncle Julius.  The best part of Polish theatre is the acute chauvinism: since Poles believe that theatre has preserved their culturally identity; everyone seems duty-bound to go to the theatre twice a week.
3.  You’ve billed your upcoming piece as an “experiment”.  What is the role/importance of experimentation in your process as a theatre artist?

I didn’t have a method on this one: a pile of notes is a pile of notes.  Working with anyone else, I’d build a safe thematic grid to fill in and stretch them over.  This time, I was adamantly circumventing the director/dramaturg role.  After  25 years, I felt the push to force myself back on stage as an extreme sport. The ‘experiment’ is if I can weave a palatable understanding with the audience people with my bare words.
In a European context, I’d describe this as archetypal Canadian theatre.  The willingness to perform the equivalent of a sod hut: it needn’t be pretty, you can throw it up in an afternoon, and one needn’t be sentimental about abandoning things, it can only get cumulatively better.
This became an essential element of my acting experience after partaking a re-education program as a Christmas Mummer in Newfoundland.  It was the perfect antidote after two years potentially damaging exposure at the world’s driest theatre training institution.  Playing the Mummers’ Play’s traditional medieval name calling ritual at parties, in the prison, on buses and foreign fishing vessels, one had no choice but to augment the raw text with palpably, spontaneous invention.  This theatre of the moment has followed my work: yesterday’s brilliant discover can always be sacrificed in favour of more pressing engagement.
During the first edition of the FZ experiment, I felt the need to jettison my first two pages of considered introduction, in favour of a naked, truthful start.  Nakedness is a major tenet of my work: that the actor/writer can most genuinely assemble the elements of a performance under the added ingredient of the audience’s glare.  At times one is desperate, but as far as I have ascertained the ‘super sub-text’ of all theatre is: “Am I saying this correctly?”.  When the actor is so intransigent as to ignore all but the certified gems of the writer in favour of some curiously scented, loose thread of a possibility, who knows what may transpire…
That I begin the evening trying to claw my way out from the depths of a black hole isn’t actually very smart.  So far it’s just about even: 2 hard-fought wins, 2 tortuous losses, 11 honorable draws and 1 no-show.
4.  I can hear you wrestling with the nature of the relationship between the writer and the performer in the creation of this piece.  Can you speak to some of the ways in which you navigate what can be a challenging endeavour: performing your own writing?

It is horrible, it is childish, it is humiliating.  The playwright impulsively throws an unfinished work at the feet of the actor; aware that his gems will be sabotaged, he counts upon the neural St. Vitus dance of the actor to supply some kind of infectious, satisfactory resolution.  The actor doubts the wisdom of this proposition – but gamely twists and turns every wee scrap and clue in hope of distilling a navigable emotional through-line; gems may fall by the wayside, but if the attendant Gods of Theatre are willing, tonight’s solution will delve new depths.  The director, knowing all too well that the actor will only dismiss his helpful hints as those of a pedantic busybody, concerns himself with having faith in the process.  The producer lifts his head from his hands to put on a brave front.  The PR department can only bluff.

5.  What is your view of the social function of the theatre?  I get the sense that you believe in Aristotelian catharsis and theatre-as-ritual.  Do you believe that Theatre can serve as a kind of secular church service?


It gave me an enormous confirmation reading Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines.  He traces how theatre-like song and dance, predate speech in the evolution of human interrelations (circa 50,000 years ago).  Yes, we are shamans, yes we negotiate with the Gods on behalf of the audience, yes it hurts. Raised playing theatre in Curling Rinks and Union Halls, the post-performance debate and church tea has always provided the moments of social healing.

6.  You write about your ideas with a passion that is absolutely palpable; even though we are conducting this “interview” by intercontinental email, I can almost feel your fire.  What daemons are you hoping to exercise, and what do you want your audiences to walk away with from your experiment?

You Bastard! I operate subconsciously hoping against hope that each performance will spawn a flock of raving lunatics that can’t wait to occupy each his/her own street corner, and rant their way forth to community consensus for decisive, visionary political action.  This much is obvious: the first step towards breaking the the straight-jacket culture of passive consumerism is an exorcism through active self-purging.
7.  How do you view the role of the artist in society?  Does the artist exist to instruct and demonstrate to an audience or is his/her role simply to probe and investigate?  To your mind, is there a place for answers in a theatre of questions?

You’ve now asked me four questions about being a ‘theatre artist’.  I’ve skirted them until now, but I shouldn’t deny this…  I probably still believe in the theatre’s capacity to distill truths.  The discussion of instructive theatre has been done to death.  For a while, I concerned myself with being ‘poetically correct’.  This included placing oneself as subject of each piece, and as such the one least likely (and most badly placed) to draw political conclusions.  Of course, this was a construct, but the only viable rhetoric with which to shape a participatory process.  The question is built into the pitch of the production; answers are found through the performance of it.  The audience is asked to verify the findings.  Be prepared to re-write.

8.  I hope you find these questions interesting, I’ve stayed away from probing you to reveal too much of the actual content of the argument you will be presenting with the piece but I’m interested in hearing you discus it if you’d care to.


I suspect I should, but in the tabla rasa modus described above, it is difficult to retain the over-all plan.  I wanted to make a humanly human ritual that would address our chronic post-traumatic stress dysfunction.  In my dreams, it would break the taboo of naming our collective denial mechanism, and result in a uniquely liberating agent with which to spur many a constructive discussion.
We have known about ecological breakdown since when?  The Limits to Growth, 1972?  I’m a parent.  My thoroughly bribed generation hasn’t really lifted a finger.  Every international congress of concerned citizens that I attend strands upon the same issue.  We know the problems, we can’t envisage anything more than discussing minutiae.
At this moment, the results of the experiment are at best inconclusive, but I am distinctly looking forward to bringing it all back home.

SUMMERWORKS OPENING PARTY – La Grosse Merde! – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 5th!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 5th!

Come and KICK OFF the SummerWorks Theatre Festival at their opening party. Music by Dance Yourself To Death and Dan from Hooded Fang. Doors at 8pm.  NO COVER! @ The Theatre Centre.  All Ages.  OkaY!

Dance Yourself To Death

Dance Yourself To Death

hooded


Morwyn Brebner

Morwyn Brebner

We are also launching a book of plays with Playwrights Canada Press

Alan Dilworth

Alan Dilworth

SUMMERWORKS: Great Plays from the Indie Arts Festival. We’ll be presenting short readings by SummerWorks Anthology Playwrights – Morwyn Brebner, Matthew MacFadzean and Alan Dilworth. AND COME BUY THE BOOK! HooRAY

Matthew MacFadzean

Matthew MacFadzean


FREE FOOD – PIZZA AND CLAFOUTI AND DUFFLETS

CASH BAR


SEE YOU AT THE THEATRE CENTRE AND WELCOME TO THE FEST.

Interview Series – The Art of Catching Pigeons by Torchlight

Amanda Nicholls of “Keen” interviews Jordan Tannahill of

THE ART OF CATCHING PIGEONS BY TORCHLIGHT.

Jordan Tanhill

Jordan Tannahill

1. How many arms and legs does the Suburban Beast have? If any are lost/severed, do they grow back?

My father told me two nights ago (apropos of what, I cannot remember) that you can split a tapeworm’s head dozens of times and they will all continue to operate independently.

So, with that in mind, the various limbs of Suburban Beast at the moment:
– Nathan Schwartz and I, along with our ‘fraternity’, are creating a new, completely immersive, 12-hour re-envisioning of our balls-to-the-wall frat extravaganza-cum-exposé Takes Two Men to Make a Brother at The Theatre Centre for Nuit Blanche. 4 real frat houses will each host a different three hour segment of the night.
– The Parlour, a new dinner party-cum-performance laboratory we’re launching, will be inviting five exciting artists to challenge themselves and Toronto this fall.
– And generally, Rebecca Powell (General Manager) and I will just continue developing some ridiculous/obscene/ball-busting shows this winter/spring for want of anything better to do.

2. What is the definition of the Suburban Beast/ how does is interact in this world?

You know Plato’s Cave Analogy where the men are chained to the wall with a fire behind them and they believe the world to be their own shadows? Well I think that’s where the Suburban Beast would live: in the shadows of Plato’s cave. It’s bite numbs and it offers us illusions as opposed to the fire itself, the cave itself, and what lies beyond the cave’s mouth. It would have us not question the shadows or their origin. And I guess we’re trying to slay the Beast one performance at a time.

Actually in this Platonic vein, there was once the concept of ‘memetic’ and ‘methexis’ modes of representation; the former being, say, a painting of a chair and the later being the chair itself. I would consider what we’re doing to be Methexis Theatre… A play is a chair. I guess we make plays you can sit on (or, in the case of our blanket fort, in).

3. Is catching pigeons by torchlight really an art or simply a necessity? Discuss.

4. What is the history of this event of capturing pigeons? How did it first emerge and what is the meaning behind it?

I will answer these two together.

There are reports that on several estates in the Carolinas, African slaves, after grueling fifteen and sixteen hour days of work, would be given an hour at night to wander the forests on the property with torches to hunt wild pigeons. Whatever birds they caught they could keep for their own and eat. So, to answer your first question, I would say it is the art of necessity.

5. What was your inspiration/motivation for creating this piece?

My best friend has begun working as a high school janitor full-time. He’s quite cerebral so initially I was a little perplexed. I’ve come to understand that he loves the peace and quiet, especially given the fact he works the night shift. Visiting him, he would bring me to all of these hidden nooks and crannies throughout the school that I think most students would never know about… onto the roof, into the boiler room. So I guess this piece is an ode to him.

6. What other animals have you tried to catch by torchlight?

My first boyfriend.

7. What materials would one use in order to start a good and long-lasting torchlight?

One sinning heathen, a mock trial, centuries of religious intolerance, and a whole lot of wood. According to Carl Theodor Dryer, the light should last about ten to twelve minutes.

THE PLAY IS HERE

THE PLAY IS HERE

8. What would be the most appropriate type of sleepwear to wear for a slumber party séance?

Ideally one of those old, oversized white t-shirts that you never wear (or that you never let anyone else see you wear) with, like, a digital camera photograph of your cat or your family reunion of ‘94 on it.

9. Pigeons are the rodents of the avian world. Discuss for this argument.

Yeah I guess you’re right about that. I can’t help thinking though that, with slightly different coloring, they would be doves. And released at weddings and such.

10. What inspires or interests you about the animal world and hunting?

Well I suppose, like theatre, the animal world is the only other place where you can lick your own genitals and not feel out of place. And licking your genitals in the animal world is a very economic and organic action which serves a critical purpose; which, in my mind, describes the most effective on-stage choices. And I suppose like hunting, or being actually out in the wild as opposed to sitting on your couch and watching Animal Planet, theatre (or at least the kind we’re attempting to create) is also one of the few creative experiences you can have where you fear you might actually get seriously hurt, die, reach apotheosis, or somehow be forever, irreversibly alerted by the experience. Personally, I’m repelled by sport hunting – but after working on a show about frat culture, I’ve discovered that repulsion too can be a fascinating emotional state to plumb.

Interview Series – The Piano Tuner

Rob Faust (Faustwork) interviews Birgit Schreyer Duarte of:

THE PIANO TUNER

Q1: What is your background? How do opera/music/ theatre inform and influence your work?

BSchreyerDuarteBWPhotoI grew up in Munich, Germany, went to a music-oriented high school, and have sung in choirs throughout my whole life. Opera was always part of my life there, first as a kid in the opera’s children’s choir, later as a directing intern or as audience member. I then studied dramaturgy and theatre studies at the Bavarian Theatre Academy, before coming to Canada to do research in Canadian drama and cultural studies. Music has continued to influence my approach to theatre, either as dramaturge or director, be it as a key theme, a play with leitmotifs, or through my passion for integrating music strategically as a dramaturgical tool.

Q2: What is the primary message you want people to come away with after seeing “The Piano Tuner”?

There are so many thought processes and emotions the novel by Pascal Mercier, which this play is based on, evoked in me as a reader, and that I hope to convey in the adaptation of it. But the most immediate concern for me in this piece was the story of the twins, and the discussion about the power that music holds over the human soul came second. My own identical twin and I have been faced with both the immense advantages and the sometimes complicated emotional and psychological situations that result from being so close to one another. It can be hard to define one’s own identity and to claim one’s own realm of experience. This applies to both professional and personal definition. For the partners, too, it can be hard to accept that there is no human connection for the twin that will ever be as strong and limitless as the one to the other twin. So I am thrilled to stage a drama that processes the phenomenon of growing up as twins, but then I soon realized that this is also a love story that may resonate with everyone who had to go through a traumatic break-up to find back to themselves. The “message” of sometimes having to let go in life can also be applied to the story that the play tells about their father, the piano tuner, and the family as a whole. More than sending any specific message, however, I want audiences to be as much emotionally touched as intellectually stimulated.

Q3: Why should people who normally don’t see opera come see your show at SummerWorks?

The play’s form itself is not operatic, and there are no opera singers involved—although, I am already toying with the idea of making this into a libretto one day—all the elements of a good opera are there: murder, passion, heartbreak, jealousy, incest, tearful reunions and departures, shattered dreams… Otherwise, the play is actually only on two levels connected to the world of opera: an event that happens during an opera performance becomes the catalyst for the dramatic action, and the influence of music on a disintegrating family is one of the through-lines in the narrative.

Q4: What is the most and the least fun part of your creative process?

Most fun: Seeing the whole thing through from start to finish is amazing: from the translation from the German original, to adapting it with my collaborators into a stage play, to seeing it come alive through the actors.

Not so much fun: Cutting lines! I am horrible at cutting my own work, be it academic or creative, I get really attached to stuff. Oh, and chasing after sponsorship partners…

Q5: Talk about identity and transformation in your work.

Questions about identity have somehow become a marker of my academic and directorial focus—my doctoral thesis explored issues of Canadian identities and how they can be represented in the theatre; a recent production I did was connected to the identity of space and urban geography (what makes you who you are and how is your environment part of this process?); but this show is perhaps the one most obviously related to the discourse of identity formation. The Piano Tuner plays with the painful paradox that sometimes we need to create boundaries from the ones we love the most in order to become whole as an individual. In the end, all characters in the play are in fact able to be transformed through the traumatic events they encounter.

Q6: Is there a surrealist element in your work? Would you say your work is a fusion of PianoTunerPosterdifferent genres?

I would call this show only surrealist in so far as large parts of the action we see on stage take place in the memory of the twins, and often we can’t be sure what exactly comes to life in their retelling of the events, and what is in fact taking place in the present. The play is definitely a merging of genres: crime story, memory play, epistolary piece, romance, psychological study, family saga…

Q7: How important is your identity as a twin in your creative process? (and/or) How are non-twin individuals different from / same as twins?

I am very spoiled by being so in sync with my twin that we almost automatically know what the other one is thinking and feeling, so that any creative process with her is extremely intuitive and efficient. We don’t have to start from scratch all the time, we have nearly identical histories and backgrounds to draw from, and we feel totally safe in each other’s company. I think (we think!) we work extremely well together because we don’t really compete for attention and territories anymore, perhaps especially now that we have established our separate realms in different places and cultures, so that we both also bring our own, newly acquired experiences to the table (she is a photo journalist and lives in Italy). Yet I don’t think all this isn’t occasionally also possible between other artistic collaborators who aren’t twins!

Q8: What are the dominant themes in “The Piano Tuner” and/or your work in general?

I think I answered this in some of the previous sections: family ties and histories, the search for self-identity, the transformative power of art…

Q9: How important is narrative in your performances? Are they more about story or about experience (experiential)?

Despite the fact that often, both in Canadian and in German contemporary theatre I believe, traditional narrative forms are now slightly looked down upon, and physically devised and image driven performances are more sexy these days—I have to admit I also love a good narrative! I am also a visual person, I think in images as much as in words, but a collection of mind-blowing images in the theatre that in the end amounts to no captivating narrative can be disappointing for me as a theatre-goer—I want both!

Q10: What makes what you do unique? Do you feel your work transgresses the limits of traditional opera and theatre, or is it embedded in tradition?

Hmm… my work is probably both traditional and transgressive. What certainly influences my way of thinking in theatre is my background in a more “traditional” dramaturgy as well as coming from a culture that has a long theatre and opera tradition, Germany. But I am also inspired by the bold innovative approaches to opera that are popping up all over Europe that treat opera as a challenging contemporary piece of theatre rather than a way to preserve dusty conventions. I am also curious and open to new forms of performance and writing and have been observing exciting Canadian theatrical developments for almost a decade. So perhaps it is my positioning between both the “old” and the “new” world, and between my two languages (I truly enjoy the challenges of translating plays), as well as between “spoken theatre” and the operatic genre, that make my work somewhat unique.