Sunday, 29 May 2011

My Friend Grant

The never-ending cycle of artist grant-writing continues. What an unnerving task; baring your artistic soul for a panel of strangers, hoping that the samples of your work that you have selected will adequately convey your skill, talent, and passion. Not to mention your worthiness of the grant, need, desperation even? It is like an audition where you don't even get the chance to try to talk your way out of an awkward choice or presentation.

In other news, in my many pieces of planning for departure, I have been aiming to downsize my considerable closet. I am selling many pieces of clothing that are much-adored, but oft forgotten. Not surprisingly, I am very attached to each piece, recalling when and where it was purchased, important occasions on which I wore it, who it reminds me of. It is a sad procedure, but at the same time quite uplifting. It was satisfying  to look into my closet unit and see far less clutter, only keeping those things I actually need and use. I would strongly recommend this to all for a "lightened" perspective. I will be posting a link to photos of the pieces later this week....consider a purchase a donation to my "london" fund!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I was on the bus with my 7 year old yesterday, trying to keep her amused after a long day at the zoo. She really loves art, so I hauled out my iPad, opened up the app for the British National Gallery to look at some paintings with her. We were scrolling through images of paintings from the 19th century when she came across Monet's "water lily pond" and exclaimed "Mom, that is the one I have in my room!". We proceeded to discuss what the real painting looks like, how large it is, the brushstrokes, etc. She then asked how many of this painting existed, and I tried to explain that part of what makes a work of art is that there is only one.

This got me thinking about creation and art and things. I think that to me, the most appealing part about art, and specifically theatre, is just that; the immediacy of a piece. Thinking back to that has long been one of my favourite paintings, since childhood I have had prints, postcards, stationery, and am very familiar with the work. Yet the first time i saw the actual painting I was awestruck. The size, proportion, colours, were unreal. And it seemed to have the effect of a calm wave moving over me as I stood before it.

I can't recall who said what i am about to paraphrase, but it will always stay with me as a nugget of gold from all that university reading; what makes a work of art timeless is that you can encounter it over and over again, and take something new from it each time. It will resonate within you going forward, and impact the way you see the world.

I endeavor to create something which will have this kind of impact.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Once in awhile, an artist gets to be part of a project that is truly unique, one that pushes boundaries and extends the understanding of their work. I had the fabulous opportunity to be part of such a work with Theatre Incarnate this winter. The piece, which I have referred to in earlier blogs is called Dionysus Is Getting Impatient, a co-creation led by Brenda McLean, with myself and Claire Therese. Our starting point for this creation was the work and influence of August Strindberg, tracing the lineage from his play Miss Julie, to Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Genet's The Maids, and Sartre's No Exit. Using physical theatre techniques, and the text of each play, we created a piece examining the situation on women in drama historically, and celebrating our modern situation which allows women to create this kind of work.

It all sounds a bit academic when put that way, but this process was a truly visceral experience. In our meetings to develop the piece, there was debate on the philosophical and social implications of each woman, which we then translated into physical movement. Constant experimentation played a large role in this, regularly moving lines or movement from one character to the other. After several weeks of this creation process, it became inherent to the three of us that the "art" here wasn't only in the production of the final product for an audience, but also in our daily experimentation and discussion of the piece. Going to rehearsal each day was a joy, something we looked forward to heartily.

The production itself was a success; many audience members spoke to us afterward about how the piece moved them, and how it continued to resonate with them days or even weeks after the performance. It had the same impact on us as performers - after our last performance, I found myself continuing to consider the ideas evoked in the piece both from an intellectual standpoint, and a performance standpoint. Not all who encountered the work felt this way, some audience members and reviewers were left confused by the script....and that is ok too. What is important though, is the things they noted about the show; often what was confusing to them was intended to be so, in staying true to the expressionistic style of Strindberg, and the feminist non-linear approach.

I would be doing a terrible job of promoting my work if I didn't link to some reviews of the production.So here they are...the good......and so good.
Kenton Smith, Uniter
Allison Mayes, Winnipeg Free Press
Joff Schmidt, CBC Theatre Blog
Jen Zoratti, Uptown

We took a break of nearly two months after the production completed, each of us going to separate projects. Then in March, wanted to return to the piece to create archival photos and video to send out to festivals and theatres to potentially pick up the piece as part of their season. What was truly amazing was upon our first return to the piece, we remembered a majority of the physical and text work, as if we had never stopped rehearsing. It sat in our bodies, dormant, waiting to return. This "second coming" of the show ended with another performance for an invited audience of family and friends who had missed the original dates. This performance felt every bit as new and exciting as it had months before.

Also, some production stills by Leif Norman