Once in awhile, an artist gets to be part of a project that is truly unique, one that pushes boundaries and extends the understanding of their work. I had the fabulous opportunity to be part of such a work with Theatre Incarnate this winter. The piece, which I have referred to in earlier blogs is called Dionysus Is Getting Impatient, a co-creation led by Brenda McLean, with myself and Claire Therese. Our starting point for this creation was the work and influence of August Strindberg, tracing the lineage from his play Miss Julie, to Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Genet's The Maids, and Sartre's No Exit. Using physical theatre techniques, and the text of each play, we created a piece examining the situation on women in drama historically, and celebrating our modern situation which allows women to create this kind of work.

It all sounds a bit academic when put that way, but this process was a truly visceral experience. In our meetings to develop the piece, there was debate on the philosophical and social implications of each woman, which we then translated into physical movement. Constant experimentation played a large role in this, regularly moving lines or movement from one character to the other. After several weeks of this creation process, it became inherent to the three of us that the "art" here wasn't only in the production of the final product for an audience, but also in our daily experimentation and discussion of the piece. Going to rehearsal each day was a joy, something we looked forward to heartily.

The production itself was a success; many audience members spoke to us afterward about how the piece moved them, and how it continued to resonate with them days or even weeks after the performance. It had the same impact on us as performers - after our last performance, I found myself continuing to consider the ideas evoked in the piece both from an intellectual standpoint, and a performance standpoint. Not all who encountered the work felt this way, some audience members and reviewers were left confused by the script....and that is ok too. What is important though, is the things they noted about the show; often what was confusing to them was intended to be so, in staying true to the expressionistic style of Strindberg, and the feminist non-linear approach.

I would be doing a terrible job of promoting my work if I didn't link to some reviews of the production.So here they are...the good......and the..er...not so good.
Kenton Smith, Uniter
Allison Mayes, Winnipeg Free Press
Joff Schmidt, CBC Theatre Blog
Jen Zoratti, Uptown

We took a break of nearly two months after the production completed, each of us going to separate projects. Then in March, wanted to return to the piece to create archival photos and video to send out to festivals and theatres to potentially pick up the piece as part of their season. What was truly amazing was upon our first return to the piece, we remembered a majority of the physical and text work, as if we had never stopped rehearsing. It sat in our bodies, dormant, waiting to return. This "second coming" of the show ended with another performance for an invited audience of family and friends who had missed the original dates. This performance felt every bit as new and exciting as it had months before.

Also, some production stills by Leif Norman