War of the Worlds Reimagined

In 2020 while the world was pivoting to understand the new realities of life under a pandemic, Colleen Snell, Callahan Connor and I brainstormed a way to do the same with what was supposed to be the next show from Frog in Hand: a live Toronto Fringe dance-performance set to an audio version of H. G. Wells’ classic tale War of the Worlds.

All of a sudden, we didn’t have a deadline. The realities of live performance anytime soon seemed like a dream that disappears as soon as you wake up. So what’s a dance-theatre company to do? Probably many things, but we decided to turn to the world of audio dramas, having already been inspired by Orson Welles’ famous 1938 reimagining.

We didn’t want to just copy the brilliance of Orson Welles’s piece. We wanted to make something different. Something our own. And now, locked away in our homes because of a deadly bug, we had time to create.

The three of us decided to split the task so we would each have an opportunity to tell a portion of the story. Together we listened to the original book and collected images and narrative techniques that resonated with us.

What really stood out to me, listening to this story written in 1897, was the sense of awe the narrator in the first half showed in the face of the unknown and potentially unknowable. Everything seemed, on that listen, uncertain; details would change from paragraph to paragraph. The narrator would question their own senses. It reminds me of the same techniques Jeff Vandermeer uses so effectively in his weird fiction such as Annihilation and Borne. I talk about all this in a bit more detail here.

And so my story began: the story of Alix, a person wanting to escape it all and reconnect with the world around her. So she plans a trip with her friend Sam, a solo canoe trip in the heart of the Algonquin before convening at a meeting place to venture further into the woods as a duo.

Little do they know that while they are dealing with their own journeys, something much larger is about to change the world forever.

After months of joint writing time over Zoom accompanied by instrumental albums; workshopping with the Frog in Hand Summer Company; engaging audio genius Miquelon Rodriguez (@troysteel) who advised us how to set up recording studios in our closets surrounded by sweaters and blankets for optimal sound capture; rehearsing and then finally recording everything, we had something. By the end of the year we were able to hand it all over to Miquelon.

And what he sent us back was stunning. To imagine a world and write it on paper is one thing. To hear that world come to life in your ear holes is quite another.

My introduction to the War of the Worlds Reimagined project, The Algonquin Tapes, premiered at 2021’s Digital Toronto Fringe a received some wonderful reviews.

And now the entire trilogy is available online.

Each part takes a different angle and throws you into a new setting and cast of characters as the world deals with this new unknown.

Here’s an excerpt from part three: Back on the Air written by Callahan Connor.

I’m really proud of what the team has created here. Colleen’s piece, Last Day, is a visceral piece of writing and Callahan’s, Back on the Air, is this charming bit of hope and community.

If you’d like to get away from a screen for a bit and listen to a 3-part story about the world ending and then not ending, I’d be so happy to hear what you think.

“Acting” in my closet.

thursday morning viewpoints

This year I’ve been fortunate to delve back into the Viewpoints system of movement with two separate post-secondary groups. Building from the ground up: I relish pairing down movement to its basics and building it up again with specific focus, concern and intention. Tasks and movement. Listening to and trusting your impulses. Relationships onstage between performers and space, between action and time, between audience and performer. I love investigating the different aspects individually, interrogating them, exhausting them only to then add another on top. This deconstruction to layering is complex and insatiable. Leading this work, I am pleased to realise how deeply ingrained it is in my own practice: oftentimes focusing on one of the nine viewpoints over others to help craft a character, or, unconsciously playing and adjusting the dials to explore a whole vocabulary.

Which is why I’d like to open up a community jam on Thursday mornings. I want this training to keep going. I know there are many actors, dancers and other performers who have crossed paths with Viewpoints throughout their training. I know there are others who have never experienced it before but have heard its name.

If you fall into any of these categories, I invite you to join me at hub14‘s new Artscape studio @ 910 Queen Street West on certain Thursday mornings, from 9 – 10am, to come jam and explore this movement for yourself. Space will be available from 8:45am for personal warm-ups.

In an effort to make cross-disciplinary training more commonplace and low-risk, all of these drop-in sessions will be offered at no cost. All you have to do is send a message to afieldofcrowns(at)gmail(dot)com (there’s a form here) so I can come and get you.

*note: unfortunately, hub14 is not an accessible venue, as it is located in a basement without access to a public elevator.*

Upcoming sessions will be:

March 7th, 21st & 28th, April 4th, 18th & 25th

Collective Creations

This year has been a relentless teacher. Its lessons, and my shifting artistic interests, have had profound influence on my person – influences which I feel are only beginning to settle (or, at least, not float directly into my eyes as I’m trying to walk). As the fall approaches, I am looking forward to getting back into the studio to run my second series of classes at hub14. I don’t know how these lessons will influence the way I teach, but I do know these will be the next version of what I was exploring back in the spring. As we live and make theatre, theatre becomes our lifestyle. See you in the studio.


UPDATE Aug. 31st, 2016 — A show I’m part of, the [elephants] collective’s A Wake for Lost Time, has been accepted into the DaPoPo Live-In in Halifax! We’re going to be performing this intense 24-hour ritual for time on October 21st. Meaning, I’ll be in Halifax, rehearsing with our new, local Haligonian members the week leading up to it and, therefore, class on the 19th is cancelled. This iteration of Collective Creations will run for 5 classes. 


Collective Creations ii

Collective Creations
hub14 (14 Markham St., Toronto)
Wednesdays
Sept. 21 & 28
Oct. 5, 12 & 26

7 – 9pm
$15 / class
$10 for multiple classes

Collective Creations returns this fall to hub14 led by Andrew Gaboury.

Collective Creations will focus on two main areas of theatrical exploration: (i) physical training for the theatre, and, (ii) collective creation techniques for material generation. The goals of these classes is to provide an affordable and accessible space for artists to continue their individual training; to provide a platform for the spontaneous generation of ideas; and offer an arena to challenge our  understanding of what it means to work in a collective.

Each class will follow a similar structure with the second half, the collective creation aspect, exploring a different technique or launching point. These classes will combine vocal improvisation techniques and various movement forms, including aspects of Viewpoints, clown, contemporary dance improv and archetype work. Using time as our adversary (and collaborator), we will create new, imperfect works destined to fail and find success in the jewels hidden amongst the rubble.

Drop-ins welcome. Each class is standalone although we will be building on concepts as the weeks progress.

To reserve a spot send an email to afieldofcrowns@gmail.com

Seasonal Activities v.V // Performer Profile: Antonios Vellerefontis

antionios vallerefontis

artist:

Studied Architercture and Fine Arts.
Lived in several countries… and different continents.
I use hybrid mediums and crafts in order to challenge my skills and as result my Art.
Searching for inspiration by analyzing human responses when emotions and comfort zones get challenged by being exposed and stimulated artistically.
Searching for the positive within the negative and vice verse in order to charge my art emotionally and express muscle memory and mental images. My reason is a visually debatable subject that can involve through time.
Other disciplines I am exploring are Acting, Directing, Writing.

antonios vallerefontis i

abstract:

A live audio visual mapping projection performance of my visual works.
The name of the project is IN/Vision and is a subjective understanding of the objectives.

portals:

web:
http://antoniovellerefontis.wix.com/vellerefontis

instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/vellerefontis/


vV poster with logo correct