Moments of joy from 2020, pt. i

This is the first in a series of posts detailing some of my projects from 2020. Because of the nature of the projects and the Big Shift that happened last year, I wasn’t very advertisey in the moment. While many planned things dropped, I was still able to be part of a bunch of interesting and inspiring projects. Over the next little bit, I’m planning on detailing each and sharing some lessons learned during each.


First up is a project I co-lead with Alice Cavanagh, produced by Frog in Hand in collaboration with Clay and Paper Theatre.

Cyclops

CYCLOPS was a project that manifested as 3 distinct wandering performances roaming neighbourhoods in Port Credit, central Toronto and in the east end of Toronto. These localized parades shared a few elements: they needed something tall (like a banner or large puppet), they needed to be mobile (wheeled methods of transportation highly encouraged), and they needed to include music and ways to make sound. Aside from that, artists had freedom to create what they wanted.

My group, the “Planting Queens” (a play on the Abba song “Dancing Queen” which became our silly anthem) were a wandering quartet of clown gardeners (because everyone took up gardening in 2020) designed to spread joy along the lakefront. Trowel (me), Sprinkle (Drew Berry), Fern (Rohan Dhupar) and Petal (Mackenna Martinez) wandered the streets of Port Credit from the piers of the harbour to the bridge across Cooksville Creek. We sang for, laughed with, cheered on cyclists and runners and greeted people we met on our way.


I did mention there were other Cyclops groups happening around the city at the same time ours was parading around Port Credit. Here’s a quick peek at Alice’s group, Space Force, with the wonderful Clarke Blair and Erin Eldershaw wandering the east end of Toronto:

photo by Tamara Romanchuk

And the wonderfully bizarre group of wild animals caught on the prowl in central Toronto, with their group The Pond. This group included Lizzie Moffatt, Keitlyn Seibold, Zachary Bastille, Jeremy Pearson and Michael Derworiz:

photo by Tamara Romanchuk

The Learning

My only real regret is our scheduling. We scheduled each of these pieces to be wandering at the same time. It was a tricky thing, being our first live performance since the lockdown in mid-March. On the planning end it seemed fine: focusing on our own geographical neighbourhoods and coordinating at a distance would limit travel. Keeping the numbers low would, ideally, minimize the risk of infection. Each group was advised to have all necessary safety measures on-hand (face masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes). But each group member was also performing. We planned to keep these self-contained, and because of this inward-looking focus we didn’t notice the big, person-shaped hole right beside us.

The groups needed a support.

We misplanned the importance of an outside body to accompany the groups: someone whose sole responsibility would be to act as a reminder to clean, to take breaks, to field questions from the audiences and to step in in case anything happened to ensure the safety of the performers.

This should have been myself, or Alice. Our schedule didn’t allow this and so we were both performing, simultaneously, in different cities. I especially didn’t see this need because my group actually had Colleen Snell (director of Frog in Hand) accompany us every day. This meant I didn’t flag it until things were well underway. While we are lucky that nothing drastic happened during these performances there were definitely situations, such as people getting a bit too close, where it would have come in handy to have that extra body.

field notes.04 // Helen Donnelly & Neil Muscott

field notes.
episode 04 // Helen Donnelly & Neil Muscott
a foolish conversation about clowns

June 2nd, 2016
8:30pm
Sorauren Park

I catch up with my clown teacher, Helen Donnelly and her partner/director Neil Muscott to chat about clowns, flat tires, preconceptions, clown logic and realness.

helendonnelly.com
fooproductions.com
fooandfriends.com


reverend foo

The Reverend Foo Revival Time
playing June 8th, 10th & 12th at Factory Theatre
as part of the Toronto Festival of Clowns.

2011-TFOC-Logo-SM

field notes.03 // Claire Armstrong

field notes.
episode 03 // Claire Armstrong
a conversation about The Crackwalker

April 1st, 2015
5:30pm
R2 Espresso

claire-armstrong

After a few missed meet ups due to sinus colds and flus, Andrew and Claire finally hit a Queen West café and share delicious baked goods as they talk about Claire’s experience with the latest staging of The Crackwalker. SPOILER ALERT: We kind of gush about Judith Thompson a bit. Be warned.


crackwalker

Waawaate Fobister, painting by Randi Helmers, picture by Joseph Michael Photography

The Crackwalker runs until April 10th @ Factory Theatre, as the last play in their NAKED SEASON.

Produced by ::: a field of crowns :::
Andrew Gaboury, interviewer


 

Call for Performers

Seasonal Activities, v. V

CALL FOR PERFORMERS

Seasonal Activities is a series of live performance. It strives to bring artists and audiences of disparate backgrounds together to the same space, opening conversations between participants of the often-individual Toronto arts disciplines.

I am looking for new or pre-existing pieces, running 5 – 20 minutes in length.
Projects can be of any live performance style.
They should be able to work in an intimate setting with low tech.
Pieces should be willing to acknowledge the audience and interrupt their experience beyond traditional staging. Interpret this how you like.

Volume V will take place Saturday, April 30th @ hub14 (14 Markham Street, Toronto, ON)

Tickets will be $15 @ the door / $10 in advance

Seasonal Activities will provide:

  • Company Artist fees will come as a profit-share of ticket sales
  • Basic tech (simple lighting / the ability to rig a couple specials / audio support) & stage management
  • One performance and tech time (times TBD during the evening of April 26th)
  • Audience feedback if desired

To submit, please send:

  1. A short description of your piece (100 words max.)
  2. Technical needs, including length of performance and number of performers
  3. Artist bios
  4. Support material (if submitting links, include it in the package with sufficient headings or short descriptions of what lies beyond. Links will be clicked, but please don’t send me to pages I’d rather not open)
    • videos can be submitted via links to online postings (I probably won’t watch more than 5 minutes of any given thing… but who knows?)
    • photos can be submitted the same way (links to online albums), or as attachments (5 photos max.)
    • music can be attached as .mp3s or links to streaming content
    • websites (I will browse webpages, but specific links with reasons are most welcome)
    • script samples (send it all – a 20 minute performance can’t be that wordy, right?)

All material can be sent as .pdf or .jpeg where applicable and sent to afieldofcrowns@gmail.com by

Friday, April 8th @ 11:59pm, 2016

hub14_black