dossier: Eric Regimbald for BLACKBIRD

Eric and I met awhile ago now, about four years ago when we were working with a small Boal-inspired, forum-based theatre company. One of the best things to come from that experience, and probably what has become my favourite, was meeting Eric. The only way I know how to describe Eric is, “as a guy who likes to laugh.” Every time we’re together, this is the thing I remember most: laughing. I was happy to be able to write a character for Eric to act in the past that just allowed him to play, and now, I’m happy he’s stumbled, almost by accident, into the studio I work with in Toronto, hub14. 

Hearing and reading about Blackbird makes me so curious, so excited for Eric because he’s not only cast in a challenging, somewhat uncharacteristic role, but is also one of the instigators making this production a reality. And I can’t wait to see what happens.

Blackbird opens this Friday, March 14th at hub14.

But before then, let’s learn a bit more about one of its key players with dossier #29: 

Eric Regimbald

Who are we talking to?

Eric Regimbald

What gets you going in the morning?

Knowing I got a job in what I love to do (a touring kid’s show) and that I have a current project going on. i.e Blackbird. The kid’s show and commercials pay the bills, but theatre feeds the soul.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, I need, or want, to do this with my life?

Well, early on I went to a pretty strict Catholic French school, St. Rene Goupil. This place had its own School board and you were only allowed to speak in French. I got in trouble a lot just by my nature and was constantly told to smarten up by the teachers. When the class was having a test it was quiet and, naturally, I would make some offhand remark aloud about one of the questions and the class’d laugh; it felt good to get those laughs even at the cost of being thrown out, detention or deducted marks. In Grade 6, they brought in Improv and I loved it! I found an avenue for my energy and natural ability to make people laugh; I found it to be the only thing I was good at. That, and presentations. I liked speaking out loud, having my voice heard. I think that was probably the beginning of it.

Have there been times you seriously question why you pursue this lifestyle/art form? If so, what was it that kept you in it, or brought you back?

I never question why I do it, I question what is the next thing that I have to do to further my career. As soon as I get a gig or am working on a project I put heart and soul in to it, I’m able to enjoy it and love working with new people. When its done I want to find that experience again. What keeps me in it is the hunger for new characters, telling stories and it’s always a new experience with each project. I’m very nomadic, especially with my job of touring Canada. Acting is a profession that works for nomads: where am I off to next? I go where the work is and I don’t like standing still.



It’s an intense show. Very visceral. It’s written really well and the language kind of juxtaposes what’s happening with the characters. When I first read it it hit me in the gut; it moved me. And that’s the kind of theatre I wanna do: theatre that punches people, pushes buttons all the way to the back of the room. Unless I’m doing a comedy which should make them laugh all the way to the back.  It has an intention: it tells a beautiful dark love story that’s relatable. It seemed very challenging. But possible. So we jumped in, feet first!

Isn’t there another play called Blackbird?

Yes there is. There’s Blackbird by David Harrower which is also a male female two-hander. Oddly enough more people seem to think of this show first before the Adam Rapp Blackbird. Which is nice ’cause I’m glad not everyone has heard of Rapp’s Blackbird. It seems to be the rarer of the two.

How did your collective of artists form? Who’s idea was it, to put this show together?

Blackbird came about in a few ways. One, my touring gig is fun but not character satisfying. I also don’t want it to become my life. I yearn for more so I was looking for a project to do. Enter Alona Metzer. We met through Ryerson simulations and she had asked me to write something for us, preferably a screenplay. I thought about it but was into writing other things. So I came back to her and said how ’bout a play? She was game. We read a couple of shows and Alona had brought Blackbird to the table and we decided on it. Then we just had to find a director we met with a few people that I thought would be interested. I approached TJ Cheslea. He was a guy who came from co-coaching an acting studio. I had worked with him in class a couple of times. We basically wanted a director that was going to push us and work intimately with two actors; [someone who] can be comfortable telling this story truthfully and not necessarily be focusing on what the show will look like. We needed a guy who’s gonna peer into the journey and hearts of these characters and TJ is that guy. The rest kinda fell into place.

What’s a favourite memory, or story, from performing on stage in the past?

One my favorite memories of performing on stage had to be when I was doing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein back when I did community theatre in Fergus; I was playing Victor Frankenstein. I was young and would do just about anything asked of me and I liked things to be as real as possible. The show was pretty ambitious with its big wooden carpenter built sets and period costumes. There’s a part in the play when Victor says “Bring down the chains!” Which is an integral part of the process in reviving the monster. Now all through rehearsals I had asked the director, “So, we’re gonna get chains right?” He assured me yes. “Like, real chains, right?” So we get to dress rehearsal in the space: still no chains. The director assures me that we will have chains for opening night. “Awesome!” I get there opening night. “Hey, where the chains at?” He tells me their up there and they will trickle down at the appropriate time. “Great!” I don’t even check them out or run that section to make sure it works; I was just excited to have chains. So sure enough, “Bring down the chains, Henry!” I’m super immersed in the role. I’m walking toward the table with the monster on it, now what i’m about to explain all happened in a split second: in mid-stride I hear from the air: zzzzzzzzzzip! What comes down from the sky is about 25pounds of bundled up rusty chains attached to a rope that a stage hand decided to drop at about 85 miles per hour! I put my arms out, caught it like nobody’s business and continued on.

Now if had been a split second earlier those chains would have knocked me flat out! I remember thinking afterward that how the hell did I catch those chains without even thinking or knowing where they were coming from? That’s theatre: you never know what’s gonna happen and when something different does happen it’s a gift and you go with it.


Describe BLACKBIRD in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.

Surviving, Putrid, Lovely

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

What I’d like to add is this:

Come see the Blackbird link for tickets:

A link to my comedy web series: Van Damme Motors. Be sure to check out all 7 TV spots:

Also, check out Eric on twitter!

dossier: Rob Faust for FALLEN APPLES

I heard of Rob Faust and Faustwork while I was still in university. I’d always been interested in mask work (it being one of the forms I had always been wanting to experiment with but never had the opportunity), but, sadly and probably due to the sheer vastness of acclimatizing to the independent theatre world in Canada after graduation, I never really knew where to find him. It wasn’t until last year, after being successfully and passionately introduced to the world of clown and all its associates, did I see Rob perform a few of his best pieces at Helen Donnelly’s Foolish Cabaret. The audience was in stitches. The full house was on the edge of their seats as he performed his backwards ballerina and introduced us to The Creep.

Rob has that effect on people.

A couple months later, the night of the Great Deluge of Toronto, did we actually meet, in a leaking garage opening onto a flooded stage and an audience that was smaller than the number of performers crammed in the back. After a soggy performance, we all headed to Squirly’s for a much needed pint. 

And the rest, to use a tired cliche, is history.

I couldn’t be happier to be working alongside Rob and this talented bunch as we animate 30-some-odd-years of his masks for an all-new fully-mask cabaret: FALLEN APPLES, happening on March 10th @ Unit 102.

dossier #28:

Rob Faust

Who are we talking to?

You’re talking to born and bred New Orleanian who grew up in a carnival culture that identified with fun, masks, and ritual, but it was after moving away from Mardi Gras that I encountered masks-for-theatre in physical theatre classes.

What gets you going in the morning?

Besides the obvious answer of rich strong coffee and hot milk–the way people in New Orleans have always liked it—what gets me going these days is the work of making masks, coordinating and promoting the biz of Faustwork Mask Theatre, performing, and these days looking forward to the serious fun of pulling together the first (perhaps of many) Mask Cabarets.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, I need, or want, to do this with my life?

When I was 9, Grandma gave me and my sister and cousins a silver dollar each for doing a nativity scene at her big family Christmas party. It wasn’t REALLY the money as much as it was having all the adults paying close attention to what we were doing and smiling and laughing. I played Joseph and asked the innkeeper for connecting rooms with an adjoining bath.

Have there been times you seriously question why you pursue this lifestyle/art form? If so, what was it that kept you in it, or brought you back?

Pure and simple: it’s fun. That’s what keeps me coming back. I’m fortunate to earn a living at it and the business owns me. There are of course many days it’s difficult and I want nothing to do with it, but I can’t figure out what else I could do to pay the rent as effectively.

White Head for CK copy


I love the point of view twist on “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” This Mask Cabaret is all about family and all the positive and negative that that implies. We 12 co-creators all told family stories to each other and then deconstructed them and turned them into comic and poignant vignettes. Much of the material is cartoony in the best sense of that word… aka, clownish.

Why mask theatre?

I was blown away by their power in a physical theatre class. During those workshop days a fellow student taught me how to make masks and it turned out that i was good at both the performing and the making.

You’ve compiled quite a cast of artists for “FALLEN APPLES”. Can you let us know the roster, or some of the roster?

The cast is amazing!! We are in alphabetical order: Andrew Gaboury, Allan Turner, Christel Bartelse, Dana Fradkin, Eric Double, Helen Donnelly, Neil Muscott, Nicole Arends, Nicole Ratjen, Oliver Georgiou, and Rob Faust.

What’s a favourite memory, or story, from performing in mask in the past?

I performed a beautiful duo mask/dance piece nearly naked with a beast mask on top of my head.”Burden of Paradise”… think elemental dance/theatre version of “Beauty of the Beast”. Critics and audiences loved it, found it very sensual, almost erotic. My partner was friends with Carly Simon and her friends and we performed on a sweeping lawn under a willow tree for 160 swells at a benefit to help elect Mario Cuomo governor of New York. We blew minds! There were many people there who would never have bought tickets to see such a thing as us. We had celebrities–including Mario Cuomo and Charles Grodin (a fav of mine) in our faces gushing afterwards. The topper was that my father-in-law overheard Ethel Kennedy say to one of her grandchildren seated next to her, “Sheer depravity!!” Quite an endorsement if you ask me.

Describe “FALLEN APPLES” in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.


Do you have anything you’d like to share with us?

FB page: Faustwork Mask Theatre


YouTube clips: Faustwork Mask Theatre

Rob talking about his process and some of his favourite masks:

snippets of some of the first pieces I ever saw Rob perform:

and a fun bilingual interview:

Faustwork Mask Theatre presents “FALLEN APPLES”

Rob Faust directs a series of comic, poignant, and bizarre vignettes based on the dark and the light side of family dynamics. The show was created collaboratively by Rob and the following cast.

Allan Turner, Andrew Gaboury, Christel Bartelse, Dana Fradkin, Eric Double, Helen Donnelly, Neil Muscott, Nicole Arends, Nicole Ratjen, Oliver Georgiou, Rob Faust.

Tickets: $20, CASH ONLY


VENUE: Unit 102, 376 DUFFERIN STREET just south of Queen

Arizona High School students masked

dossier: Adriana Disman for LINK & PIN

Working with hub14 over the last year has really broadened my horizons in regards to what types of performance, and what types of performers are on my map. With this partnership, my map of the world has finally been updated from one of those old maps where North America is somehow connected to Russia to a slightly newer one where all the continents have more or less their true outline but there are still things like giant serpents in the sea and the four winds controlling the air.

While exploring these new, defined worlds, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working alongside Adriana Disman, a passionate, caring and ambitious creator who I really want to describe as fiery, but if I do you’d have to imagine the cool blue flame that keeps burning on after all that crazy orange has had its time. 

I digress. 

Let’s just get on with the interview.

dossier #27:


Who are we talking to?

Adriana Disman: I’m a performance art maker, thinker, and curator based between Toronto and Montreal. I’m currently curating a performance art series at hub 14 entitled LINK & PIN as well as completing my M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

What gets you going in the morning?

A foolish optimism.

And right now: Anne Michael’s writing, a particular video recording of Glenn Gould playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?

God, I think I have that realization everyday. One moment, each day, when time stops and all I hear is my heartbeat and I think, “Oh. So this is what life is for me.”

Have there been times you seriously question why you pursue this lifestyle/art form? If so, what was it that kept you in it, or brought you back?

Absolutely. I originally trained and worked professionally as an actor for many years before growing unhappy with my path. When I found performance art, I essentially had to choose to leave a world I had worked very hard to learn. A profound leap, for me. And one that required taking ownership of my craft — to trust my way of doing things. And an absolutely freeing one. Now, even when I occasionally agree to do a theatre piece, I carve out space to make the work in my own way. Maybe that’s just part of aging as an artist.

What was the inspiration for creating LINK & PIN?

The inspiration for L&P grew out of a series of house shows that I curated in Toronto called A Home for Performance in 2011. The events took place in my Grandmother’s house (thank god for grandmothers who love performance art!) and were borne out of a desire to open space for people whose work I loved and wanted to see.

Eventually the shows got too big for Gram’s house.

So when hub 14 awarded me the Community Chest to put on a series, I was thinking a lot about the sense of community that sprung up around Home. Part of that was from having shows in the afternoon, which allowed for a different kind of attention to bring to the work. And, since it wasn’t 11pm when the performances finished, people would hang out and talk about the pieces afterward, meet each other. I watched beautiful friendships and collaborations spring out of these talks.


In thinking about the name for the series, I was questioning how to articulate an intention to create community, to forge links between people, without falling into an idealistic unicorns-and-rainbows-lets-all-hold-hands-and-love-each-other. I mean, I love unicorns as much as the next person but I don’t take community building lightly. I think community building is sticky- it so easily becomes exclusionary and snooty.

Link-and-pin is actually a coupling technique that was used to connect train cars. Links protruded from each end of the cars and would be brought together so that an employee would drop a big “pin” through both, connecting them. However, it was actually exceptionally dangerous- apparently, many folks lost fingers or were even crushed between the cars. Yeeesh.

This, for me, is a perfect example of community building: usually simple until unexpectedly violent.

Tell us a little about the last two LINK & PIN instalments  Were there loose themes that determined who was involved, or did the themes come about after you looked at the rosters?

The first event, FEMINIST FIBRES, actually grew out of the work of Helene Vosters and Thea Fitz-James, two artist whom I love and whose work I saw a strong affinity between. From there, I invited Joce Tremblay and Maryam Taghavi, proposing the theme for them to create in response to, because I thought they would bring wonderfully different viewpoints to the event.

PARTICIPATION on the other hand, was theme-first. Most of my own performance works have been participatory and I have huge ethical questions about the genre. As an audience member, participatory works have been both some of the most transformative and some of the most violating works I’ve experienced. So I invited contributors whom I thought would have an interesting take/ response to the theme. It’s worth mentioning that two of the artists were actually crowd-sourced: I sent out a message on facebook asking, “Who is your favourite Toronto- or Montreal-based participatory performance artist?” I researched everyone who was suggested and then invited two artists from the resulting list!

I keep stretching the way that artists are given space to perform within the series because I believe that some curatorial methodologies prioritize certain kinds of artists / people. It’s a small gesture but one that I hope begins the large task of opening the series to more and more different kinds of artists.

Who are some of the artists involved this time around?

Oh baby. It’s gonna be good. For REPERFORMANCE, Victoria Stanton is coming in from Montreal to present the second iteration of a durational work that was shown at VIVA! this year. Also on Saturday, Feb 8th: hollyt and Jack Bride are presenting a very exciting piece inspired by Breyer P-Orridge. On Sunday, Feb. 9th, Julie Lassonde is reperforming a persona from Margaret Dragu (who’s also in town that weekend performing with WIA projects!), Brianna MacLellan is presenting a work by Julie Radul, Shannon Cochrane is presenting a top-secret piece, and Paulina Wiszowata is inviting the public to reperform Vita Acconci’s Following Piece with her!

Basically, I’m swooning.

And I want to mention that all of this has been made possible by the help of my fantastic intern, Veronia Abrenica.

Describe LINK & PIN in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.


Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

Yes! Actually, you are in luck because it just so happens that we’ve JUST released L&P’s online platform for REPERFORMANCE. Our first video addition to the series by Lee Henderson and Bee Pallomina is, essentially, spectacular. I love this work so much that I literally start squealing and get all wiggly when I read the description.

So now, for your viewing pleasure, from The Marina Abramovic Institute Department of Puppets presents Relation in Time:

“The Marina Abramovic Institute Department of Puppets is pleased to launch Seven Easy Puppet Pieces, a collaboration by its first graduating class of students and their research into performance, video, duration, and the limits of the puppetbody.

Relation in Time references the absence and presence of a bodily audience, and the gradual loss of connection between puppets. Beginning with its premiere as part of the LINK&PIN online platform, we at the MAIDP are remounting seven historical works of performance by Marina Abramovic and Ulay. In so doing, we are bold enough to demonstrate what has long been suspected by the performance community worldwide–that we are all, now, Marina’s puppets.”

You can check out documentation from past events and read about future ones on LINK & PIN’s website. You can also check out Adriana’s performance work and curatorial practice here!

dossier: Yury Ruzhyev for VIVA CABARET

Yury and I met this summer while attending Volcano Theatre’s Conservatory. It was a crazy, lovely, relaxing and frustrating time that I am so thankful for. It really was this perfect little escape within the city this summer. I just got off three back-to-back shows and it was so refreshing just to go into a studio and be able to play (even if all of the offered training didn’t necessarily agree with me) without any expectations. 

It was in this atmosphere that Yury and I met. There’s something so valuable about devoting all of your time and energy to study. It allows your mind freedom, lightness, and distances you enough to make connections with what you are learning to what your life has taught you up to that point. So of course, existing in this productive mental landscape, the people you meet become all that more interesting. Yury and I (and some other friends) bonded over diner food and beer between classes while dissecting exactly what it is about this live performance thing we like, we agree with, and what we disagree with. It is intellectual rigour at its best.

I’ve heard so much about this cabaret. Yury was quite exciting to watch in the studio. I can only imagine what it’s like to see him under the lights and in the costumes. 

So, without further ado, I present dossier #26:

yury half

Who are we talking to?

I am a circus monkey. An actor, clown, performer, dancer, director, producer… it’s a lot really, but I love doing it all. Going from one extreme to another, whether with jobs or roles or lovers. Its great to play a mafia tough killer guy or Puck from Mid Summer Night’s Dream during a day and then run to the show to be Liza and Tina for the night. Trained theatre actor, with MBA in marketing. I lived in Bulgaria, Russia, and New York and worked all kinds of jobs from a Go-go dancer and McDonalds team leader to an Executive Director of international travel company…

…oh, you mean? I am Yury Ruzhyev.

What gets you going in the morning?

The fact that I don’t need to do anything, or to be anything till 4 p.m. as I can’t function in the mornings well. On the other hand, a 5 a.m. wake up call and the whole day of filming in front of me will get me going like crazy… but it’s coffee really.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?

When a was a kid I often played theatre, had curtains up on ropes across the room, changing area, and tons of different changes of clothes, I would have to put on, perform something and run off to change into something new… Look at me now, my show is a lot about quick costume changes, and performing. Weird. I never liked to perform for anyone when I was a child, I was always by my own. But now I can’t live without the live audience. Filming pictures and tv shows excite me a lot, but still not as greatly as the live performance.

But I never wanted to be an actor. Freight train driver was my first and longest dream job as a kid. I still dream to get a train car, turn it in to a traveling home and go all around Canada.

What draws you to live performance? What is attractive about it to you?

The fright, the thrills, the moment of happening and other silly things like dressing room lights, stage wings, curtains. It’s the need to be loved right then and there and the risk that it might not happen.

Basically, I’m asking why you do what you do? Why not another art form?

There are other art forms? Theatre is my next favorite one (although, much of it is dated, dull, and boring, but I take it as a challenge), movies are fun especially if the direction and art is at place. But talking to people from stage is above all, for me, anyway.



The name you mean? Or the genre? The name is the third option and it’s been a road of suffering, for I am horrible with names (my theatre company is called Hooligan Productions, for example). It was Cabaret Show at first, then Yury’s Cabaret and after my trip to Las Vegas, where I got inspired and named it Viva Cabaret, like a tribute to the genre. As for the genre – it’s live theatre, performance, dance, and comedy show. I pay tribute to old time divas, their hits, their lives… and I think it’s important once in a while to get away from your computer or a phone and get into a bar, have a drink, watch a show – face the real life. As in that song (which inspired me a lot):

“What good is sitting alone in your room?

Come hear the music play.

Life is a Cabaret, old chum,

Come to the Cabaret.”

Aside from the 35 Divas you’ll be portraying onstage (!), I’ve heard you’ve got quite a following. Any leads as to who will be in the audience?

It’s amazing how these talented and well known people are so supportive of me. I am very honored and extremely happy they want to come to see me perform. But I don’t want to name anyone, as they are my audience and friends, and they are coming to have fun and be gay /as in happy/. Come to the show and find out.

Do you have a favorite memory from a past, or present, VIVA CABARET?

There are so many, I even wanted to have a show where I would talk about things that happened in the fun, the ugly and the magical. I’d say it’s the difficulties and the impossibles that makes this Cabaret journey unforgettable.

Describe VIVA CABARET in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.

It’s anything you want it to be for it’s Cabaret and everything is possible. The sound of mother’s steps coming home, the smell from your childhood that brings the warmth all over you… anything that makes you happy or silly. It’s the place and time when you can fall in love, get inspired, have fun, drink till you are on a pirate’s ship on a sailor’s arms who stole you and broke your heart… come to the Cabaret and live your dream.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

It’s crazy how we can be so available and exposed and still be so incredibly closed and lonely. Here are the links:

my website:

my blog (lots of naked pics):

my twitter:

Video blog and show teaser:

Thought’s blog:

I wanted to mention that next year my theatre company Hooligan Productions presents KOMUNKA the play. 12 hours in a kitchen of a communal apartment in Moscow, during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, 2014 with four families, six tenants living in four rooms, and something in a box. Collective work based on the idea, characters, conflicts and dialogs outlines created by Yury Ruzhyev, directed by Sky Gilbert, devised and written together with actors.

The final version of the play will be produced during Summer, 2014 and workshop is scheduled for February 18-21, 2014 during and with live broadcast of Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

cab poster