dossier: Adam Lazarus for The Art of Building a Bunker / SummerWorks

As SummerWorks gets ready to open, and as the performers are applying the last of their pre-audience polish to their shows, I am trying to figure out my schedule and how to fit everything in. Just like the artists’ minds before opening a show, there is always so much to do and not enough time to do it. 

Luckily, I was able to connect with Adam Lazarus a couple times this year about interviewing him for this site. The first was for The Toronto Festival of Clowns, but, as it goes when you are organizing a festival, time just disappears. Adam then got in contact with me shortly after the festival to do something for his SummerWorks show. I said I’d be more than happy. We gave each other so much time! Almost too much time… I almost forgot about it, this time. 

But! Here we are: a day before the festival, and a dossier for proof. I’m very excited to share this honest and humourous dossier with you today. The first time I saw Adam he was dressed as a recently deceased Vladimir Lenin who took to haunting a soldier stuck in a boxcar of a motionless train on its way to Tyumen. I remember it well. It was definitely one of my top Fringe experiences that year.

Enough said. Here we go, with dossier #22:


Who are we talking to?

Adam Lazarus. Born and raised in Toronto. Theatre maker, teacher, husband, father. Travelled around, learned some here and there and then started making shows. I love actors and creative thinkers. I love problems and the process of finding possible solutions.

What drew you down this path? (to theatre, to this particular show, to wherever the hell you are in life)

Bunker is born out of a meditation on my difficulty functioning in the world — I’m too sensitive, I’m not always a great communicator, I’m not well read enough, I’m misunderstood, I’m moody, I’m angry, I’m defensive, I’m an egomaniac, I’m an underdog, I’m private. I want a better world and can’t do anything about it. I want my family to be safe. I want to take more naps.

More generally, I wanted to write a show about how people are tricky.

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

I’ve always been a bit of a masochist with art. I like impossible situations and put pressure on projects to fulfill an impossible artistic desire — to fully fulfill. If a project doesn’t, I change angles for the next venture. What I’m doing with my life is always changing and evolving. I’ve never had an absolute, resolved moment of career realization. I just keep working: I love acting, writing, directing, teaching, studying, producing, gardening, hiking, swimming. I do them all and then some.

Why The Art of Building a Bunker or Paddling the Canoe of Myself Down the River of Inclusivity and Into the Ass of the World?

As a title? Cause it’s funny and you remember it. Or at least remember that it’s the long titled show.

As a show? Cause that’s what we’re all doing right now – we’re building our bunkers, our safe spaces, and happy places. We do it to protect ourselves from, or to function better within, this complicated world we’re living in.

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect when attending BUNKER?

Prepare to enter the mind of Elvis Goldstein. It’s a little noisy in there. And funny and sad and confused.

How did you and Guillermo Verdecchia meet?

I met him outside the theatre a few years ago. We were introduced. We shared a few jokes. A beautiful relationship blossomed.

Have you two ever co-created a show before? If so, what drew you back together? If not, how did this all get started?

This is our first time working together. Guillermo is a deep and intelligent thinker, and a fantastic storyteller. He’s also very funny. Really, it evolved naturally. We got into a room, started improvising, and now we’re premiering the workshop presentation of our play 8 months later.

What is your favourite memory from a past Summerworks experience?

In 2011, Susanna Hood’s Shudder. I love her work. That, and winning the Spotlight award for my bouffon show Wonderland…

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


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

Early on in rehearsals, Guillermo and I listened to this terrifying and mesmerizing woman rant about the world for 20 mintues. As Guillermo puts it, she became our spirit guide as we ventured along the rivers of our bile and toward the shores of our spleens.

Here’s the poster of the show (click on the image to be taken to its SummerWorks profile):

bunker poster copy