Moments of joy from 2020, pt. iii

Continuing the 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 throughout.


Odditi(m)es | A Tragic Comedy in Pandemic Times

In the summer, as the pandemic continued and restrictions were becoming a little more lenient, my friend and collaborator Troy Hourie received funding to create a live performance adapted for the then-current realities. His idea was to adapt an old form of puppetry, following the traditions of Portuguese Dom Roberto and English Punch & Judy shows, and adapt it for a contemporary Canadian audience. This allowed us to speak directly about the lives of three individuals during the pandemic lockdown.

Dom Roberto puppet shows are often played behind a tall, four-sided cloth covered box, with the puppets appearing at the top. Troy’s idea of opening up that box to create one long counter, made of four equally sized panels allowed us to showcase 3 different houses: a snapshot of a neighbourhood. This gave us a 2 meter distance between puppeteers. It also meant having 3 puppeteers instead of one, myself, Colleen Snell and Troy.

Odditi(m)es was live-streamed to, well anyone who wanted, but specifically to a group of beautiful puppeteers in Portugal called Teatro e Marionetas de Mandragora. A document of the performance can still be viewed on Troy’s site:

Odditi(m)es | A Tragic Comedy in Pandemic Times – Troy Hourie Portfolio (format.com)

The Learning

Outdoor theatre during a pandemic is possible and so important.

Opening private spaces to community is beautiful. This show happened in Troy’s backyard, which just so happened to be designed as a raked outdoor amphitheatre. It was possible to distance and clump households together because of this. If you have the space, use it!

Small puppets and loud colours read from a distance.

Nature is the greatest stage.

Projecting through a mask is difficult but possible.

3 days to create, rehearse and learn how to use these newly-made puppets really lets you understand what is meant by the “exquisite pressure of time.”

I need to work on my wrist strength.

I am still ambidextrous.

Puppets are the best.

Performer Profile: Colleen Snell & Andrew Gaboury

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artists:

A dancer and an actor who also write things.

abstract:

They’re going to read some writing, maybe move some writing. Three segments, many pieces.

portals:

Colleen can be found through her award-winning, site-specific performance company Frog in hand.

Andrew can be found right here.

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myth, n.

myth

A person or thing held in awe or generally referred to with near reverential admiration on the basis of popularly repeated stories (whether real or fictitious).
– from OED definition, “myth”

Myths are specific accounts of gods or superhuman beings involved in extraordinary events or circumstances in a time that is unspecified but which is understood as existing apart from ordinary human experience.

While the outline of myths from a past period or from a society other than one’s own can usually be seen quite clearly, to recognize the myths that are dominant in one’s own time and society is always difficult. This is hardly surprising, because a myth has its authority not by proving itself but by presenting itself.

[…]it is clear that in their general characteristics and in their details a people’s myths reflect, express, and explore the people’s self-image.
from Encyclopaedia Britannica entry, “myth” (emphasis mine)

With this in mind, I’ve assembled a diverse collective of artists (teacher/actor Michael Reinhart, dancer Colleen Snell, musician/writer/performer Alex Eddington, actor Ximena Huizi and myself) to lead two workshops this Saturday, Sept. 26th as part of Etobicoke Lakeshore Culture Days.

WE’RE LOOKING FOR YOUR STORIES! YOUR STORIES OF LIVING, WORKING AND PLAYING IN ETOBICOKE.

The goal of the day is to take these stories, extract their essence and form them into the contemporary MYTHS of your town.

The day will culminate in a FREE PERFORMANCE at (around) 2PM @ the HUMBER HOTSPOT (Lakeshore and Kipling).

So please, come on out; take part in our FREE WORKSHOPS from 1am-1pm and check out what kind of thing we’ll have made with your help @ 2pm. You can also participate from afar by using #mythsofmytown on twitter or instagram!

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CALL FOR ARTISTS: Off the Wall 2015

off the wall 2014 i

Today I bring exciting news. My friends and collaborators over at Frog in Hand (if you don’t know this company, check them out. They are a multi-disciplinary group co-directed by sisters Colleen Snell and Noelle Hamlyn doing amazing things out in Mississauga and beyond) have announced a call for artists to participate in the 2015 instalment of OFF THE WALL. This was, personally, one of my performance highlights from last year.

CALL FOR ARTISTS

Off the Wall is an exciting, multi-disciplinary project with Frog In Hand and the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.

If you’ve ever wanted to work alongside musicians, actors, dancers, visual artists, writers and performance artists

-or-

if you’ve ever wanted to challenge yourself with site-specific performance in a short, but intense creation period

click the link below (or the image above) to find the application form.

Be part of something fun.

http://colleensnell.wix.com/off-the-wall