TWO SHOWS ONLY: Wide slumber for lepidopterists @ Harbourfront Centre‘s Studio Theatre, 235 Queen’s Quay, November 11-12 @ 8pm (doors 7:30pm, no latecomers).
On Monday, I started a week-long residency at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, working with Theatre Commutiny to attempt to translate my book from page to stage. We’ve had an intense and amazing whirlwind creation period, covering a lot of ground in very little time. As of today, day four of our workshop, we have close to 25 minutes of serviceable performance. By Saturday, we’ll add 30 more.
Day one was a huge scoop of ice cream, reading through the portions of Wide slumber we wanted to try this week. Before lunch, we had a show and tell with the excellent Geoff Bouckley; my god, we’ve been so spoiled to have Geoff in the room all week, building his light design as we work and acting as a second pair of eyes on the project.
By afternoon, we were on our feet, attempting the prologue and figure one. Amanda Brugel and Mika Collins have bubbled over with enthusiasm, light, warmth, throwing themselves full-body into our experiment. Conor Green’s direction hasn’t missed a step, leaving lots of roof for goofy humour to seep into our exploration time, but also guiding us gently and swiftly towards our as-yet unknown destination. Absolutely blessed to have his sensitive and honed eyes and ears and brain working on this show.
Day two, we started off reviewing our previous day’s work and developing what we’d need for the afternoon. And *what* an afternoon. Susanna Hood joined us for an intense and eye-opening three-hour movement workshop. Amanda, Mika, and I were full of exclamation points and raspberry fizz working with Susanna. She joins us again tomorrow for a final workshop; oh yes!
Day two ended in a fiery hour-long sound experiment. Richard Windeyer, who will run the sound board from the audience, building our soundscape with his fabulous toys, morphed our voices on-the-spot as we spent ten non-stop minutes riffing on the syllables of “Welcome to the Centre for Sleep and Dream Studies.”
After rehearsal ended, I joined Conor, Geoff, and Richard for a production meeting to figure out the shape of the show and its application to light/sound design. Got home at an exhausting 10pm, skipped dinner, worked as co-producer until midnight, and forced myself to stay up for half of The Daily Show/Colbert Report to get my daily dose of news. They combined their shows for the special Midterm Midtacular to report on the US Midterm Elections, so I didn’t want to miss it.
Day three, as you might guess, started groggy, exhausted, and stressed. My body was feeling pretty worn down, dehydrated, underslept, underfed, and achy from all the physical work. Day three, as a result, had a sleepwalking feel to it. We started the day similarly to day one, returning to a need for further creation of movement, intention, text delivery as the design team hung and focused lights onstage. Relegated to the Brigantine Room, we had a productive creation period working through figure two, cut short by a staff yoga class filtering into the space. As the first two staff came through the door, I was in the midst of laying on top of Mika, where we then moved simultaneously to a seated embrace. (Body on body.) One staff member says, “Is this… is this yoga?… ‘Cause I’ve never done yoga,” laughing nervously. No no, it’s dance, no worries; you won’t have to do this!
Wednesday afternoon featured in-depth exploration of figure five, which has proven awesomely challenging to manoeuvre. Again, I think we have something serviceable; now I must memorize a list of lepidoptera.
Today’s day four, and I’m a little stiff in the muscles but feeling much more glee than I did yesterday. I woke up an hour earlier just so I could attend to co-producer stuff, finish the programme, and write this blog post. And now, to shower and get me to the studio. Really, really excited for today: Richard’s with us again, and I can feel a sense of chrysalistalization with the piece. !! !! !!!!!!!!
Nice preview mention of the show in NOW today, alongside the big news for Crow’s Theatre. Congrats to Chris Abraham! Also, make sure you check out Insomnia, which Conor has told me repeatedly was the best play he’d ever seen live.