A couple of guests who passed out early - Image by Aislinn Rose
Recently we held a fundraiser at the home of one of our generous donors, Irfhan Rawji, and we’d like to take a moment to offer thanks. We had an amazing line-up of artists and performers from our community, and want to thank everyone who attended, volunteered, created art, played music, or sent us good tidings.
Blair Francey, Bridget MacIntosh & Gillian Hards
Hosts Irfhan Rawji & Christine Armstrong
Matthew Dixon & Charlene Heath
Nicolas Billon, Tommy Taylor & Kate Bullock
Local 164 – Image by Neil Fleming
Praxis AD Michael Wheeler & AP Aislinn Rose
A couple of guests who passed out early – Image by Aislinn Rose
When we began planning our fundraiser, we also set up an IndieGoGo page for people who wished to contribute but couldn’t attend. That campaign ends at 11:59pm on Tuesday, July 3rd.
[Co-Ed. Note: This piece was created in May while IXOK’ was part of Aluna Theatre’s Panamerican Routes Festival: performed by Mayahuel Tecozautla and directed by Beatriz Pizano. Please consider joining Aluna this Friday evening for the next installment of their very popular Aluna Cafe series in their gorgeous new studio. ~ Aislinn]
by Shira Leuchter
Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of IXOK’. It was refreshing to witness a rehearsal that was happening in a language I can’t really understand; I was able to simply watch how the people in the room worked together and watched each other.
Materials: Copper etching, watercolour
Performed by: Mayahuel Tecozautla; Created by: Carmen Samayoa and Edgar Flores; Directed by: Beatriz Pizano
Shira Leuchter is an actor who also makes performance stuff and other art stuff. Earlier this month she performed in Cahoots Theatre’s production of Paper Series at Magnetic North in Calgary. She is an Associate Artist with UnSpun Theatre.
Tonight is the 33rd Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, which are being held at the St.Lawrence Centre for the Arts in the Bluma Appel Theatre. I will be there tweeting live for Praxis via @praxistheatre from the awards ceremony, as well as the pre-show reception in the Lower Lobby of the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. I think by the time the after-party rolls around, it will be best for me to put @praxistheatre to bed, though there may be shenanigans available via @AislinnTO.
If you can’t attend the awards tonight, but want to follow along, below is a handy live-stream of all tweets Dora, or at least, tweets using the #Doras hashtag. If last year is anything to go by, tweeters should avoid #Dora (minus the s) as you may find yourself being followed by people searching for “The Explorer”. You’ll also find all of Praxis Theatre’s tweets here, and I’ve added #DorasTO to the mix to cover our bases.
I’m looking forward to spending the evening with my date, famous tweeter – and rollerskating performer/playwright – @nancykenny, and I’ll try to grab a few photos of guests on the red carpet schmoozing with red carpet co-host @colindoyle.
The HATCH performing arts residency at Harbourfront Centre is going into its 9th year as a program designed to incubate and foster invention and innovation in the local performance scene for Toronto artists in theatre, music, dance and performance. It culminates in a week in the Studio Theatre with one public presentation of the work in progress.
Trevor Schwellnus is the Guest Curator for the 2013 season. He recently spoke with HATCH coordinator (and frequent Praxis collaborator) Margaret Evans about the program and the call for submissions, due Wednesday June 20, 2102.
HATCH submissions are due in 5 days- What advice do you have for those applying?
On an artistic level: Be honest and be curious. If you’re doing it for the art, you have your way in. For this stuff, it’s all about knowing what interests you and having an idea that you want to play with. I feel that HATCH offers two things at once: a chance to move a project forward, and a chance to give an artist breathing room / an incentive to develop their own practice. So my advice is: know what you need to work next, and use that as the basis of your proposal.
On a practical level: You will want to apply for a development grant (or three) this summer to pay yourself and your collaborators. This application is a great first step in getting your plan together – budgets, schedules, and how you think you might use your time – for the bigger applications. Think about moving the whole thing, and how this is a step on the way. Use the deadline as motivation. Also: talk to your collaborators right away! You don’t have to make big promises to anyone – we all know that an application is just an application, and next April things might have changed – but invite them to the table now to get your dream team in the application.
HATCH Coordinator Margaret Evans
What was your first HATCH project and how did you learn about the program?
My first encounter with HATCH project was the first project in the program, Matt MacFadzean’s richardthesecond. Things were pretty open back then, and at the time HATCH (whatever the intentions were for the program) worked as a kind of opportunity for indie companies to mount their stuff for a week. I was TD for that show, and we were developing it as a possible piece for touring to schools
You might hold the record for participation in HATCH projects, I’ve also seen you in the audience for many others. How do you feel the program has evolved?
I think the indie participants quickly learned that a week isn’t a lot of time to put up and mount a work in progress, so the “road house” aspect of HATCH was less useful to a young company than the opportunity to work out issues with the tech support. So companies started coming in with proposals that were in development, and tended to present a single showing at the end.
It feels like a very natural evolution: the stress of tech and presentation doesn’t really allow you, in a week, to do anything exploratory – there isn’t much room to push limits and test things in a week if you are trying to sell a bunch of shows that week as well. It really came through for me that way the year Laura Nanni took on the curator’s job – she made that approach much more the focus of the program, allowing the artists involved to take real risks, and I think that’s when it took on a new life.
What do you think you will bring to the role of guest curator?
I like to think I bring a good sense of what it means to work collaboratively on stage, an eagerness to see what other people can do with it, how they reflect the world back to us through new media and much older practices. And on a practical level, an appreciation of the resources and ambitions of independent performance-makers who have to produce their own work.
Can someone put a HATCH application together in 5 days?
For sure – the key to any proposal is the strength of the idea that an artist is interested in, and having a sense of how to make it happen. Don’t bullshit – if you feel you’re saying things for effect, or saying the same thing over and over in your application, you might need more time to clarify your ideas.
But I find that putting an application together is actually the first step in making your project happen – otherwise it’s just a bunch of ideas that live in your head until you forget about them. Which sucks. So if you have a thought, put it down, get it out. Even if you don’t get into HATCH, you’ve started something.
For decades I’ve been a fan of Edward Bond. His plays deeply move me. They upset and haunt me. They assault my assumptions, my orthodoxies about justice, about identity, and about the purpose of theatre. They reveal strange dystopias in familiar rooms. And they force me to consider extreme questions.
In fact, Bond describes himself as an ‘extremophile’, and in a career spanning more than 50 years and 50 plays, it is hard to think of a contemporary dramatist who has thought and written about the extremities of human behaviour with more rigour, consistency and force than Bond has done.
Injustice, violence and the sources of violence are themes that run through his entire body of work. From early plays like Saved, Lear, The Sea, and Bingo, to later work like The Woman, and Restoration, to his recent ‘Chair Plays’ (Have I None, The Under Room, and Chair), Bond exposes the social forces that distort our lives and cause violence, despair, and social madness.
Despite the cruelty and irrationality depicted in his plays, Bond is an optimist. His plays, the fact of writing them, are acts of optimism. He believes drama itself is not so much a reflection of reality but is rather the place we construct reality; it is the means by which we forge our humanity. “Drama is not a luxury of culture but its basis,” he wrote recently.
For Bond, drama offers a site where audiences are invited (and provoked) to radically engage their imagination (and reason) to create a new understanding of the self and society. Bond’s plays are political not because they address political issues, but because they address the imagination. How we imagine, the need to imagine, is at the core of his work.
Today, Bond believes that drama is experiencing its ‘third crisis.’ The first crisis occurred in classical Greek theatre as we began to explore our relationship to the gods, questioning their role and authority, essentially creating the human psyche. The second crisis, Bond suggests, happened in the Jacobean theatre, when God was finally exiled from the stage, and a new self was created, self-questioning and self-sufficient. ‘Hamlet walked out of Christ’s tomb’ is how Bond puts it. But this new concept of humanness also led to the industrial revolution. It allowed a greater rapaciousness, expressed through early capitalism, which colonized the planet, and continues to brutalize millions while happily laying waste to the earth’s ecosystem.
Which brings us to drama’s current third crisis, as Bond sees it. Modern/postmodern capitalism (via technology) has accelerated and extended its global reach and its claims on the self. Bond argues that we need to reinvent our drama so that we can reinvent ourselves. I think it’s so refreshing to be reminded of the potential significance of theatre, its importance, despite whatever we may feel now and again about its marginality.
The Edward Bond Festival, so bravely and doggedly conceived and organized by Alan Dilworth and Maev Beaty, is an invitation to our theatrical community. Through readings, symposia, through the workshop of Have I None, Ryerson’s production of The Bundle, and through the 13thWrecking Ball, we have an opportunity to engage with Bond’s vast body of work, and to explore a different approach to theatre. Bond will be in attendance to discuss and describe his work and methodology, as will long-time Bond director Chris Cooper. It’s an opportunity to step back for a moment from our own ways of creating and thinking, to listen to some of the difficult things that Bond has to say about drama, about the world, and about what it means to become human. It should be a riveting and provocative nine days.
David Jansen is an actor, director, a grey, superannuated student, and a bright-eyed father.
He is thrilled to be working on Have I None with the exceptional cast of Allegra Fulton, Alex Poch-Goldin, and Christopher Stanton.
The hands of live artists Lorena Torres during Aluna Theatre's critically acclaimed Nohayquiensepa
Video artist Lorena Torres will be creating live projected imagery throughout the evening.
As guests arrive they’ll be greeted by the steel-string folk & blues stylings of Praxis friend Ian Rennie. Later in the evening, Local 164, made up of Gordan Bolan, Jenny Young, Jason O’Brien and Dave Chan, will play from their set of Americana/Roots songs. You can also check them out at the Evergreen Brickworks on the June 16th.
Tommy Taylor - You Should Have Stayed Home
Tommy Taylor will be on hand to perform a short piece from our award-winning SummerWorks hit, You Should Have Stayed Home, co-produced by The Original Norwegian.
This is just a selection of some of the gourmet morsels we’ll be serving
with dill, lemon zest, and chives, garnished with yoghurt cream and served on a beet root chip.
with red chili, shallots, mango, cilantro, and citrus juice, served on a plantain chip.
Watermelon, feta, and mint bite
Watermelon cubes stuffed with fresh mint and feta salad.
Wine provided by Reif Estate Winery
Garnished with yoghurt cream and fresh peas
Praxis Gourmet Sliders
1. Fresh all beef patty with roasted tomato jam, homemade garlic pickles, radicchio
2 Fresh pork sausage patty with orange marmalade mustard and grape salsa
3. Mushroom, sweet onion aioli, aged cheddar
Coconut lime ice cream
Mini meringue cups filled with orange and rhubarb compote garnished with whipped cream and toasted almonds
Assorted ice cream and sorbets
1. Coconut lime ice cream garnished with toasted coconut
2. Strawberry ice cream with graham cracker and pecan streusel
We hope you can make the party. If you are unavailable to attend, donations of any size will be gratefully accepted at:
“After the years and years of weaker and waterier imitations, we now find ourselves rejecting the very notion of a holy stage. It is not the fault of the holy that it has become a middle-class weapon to keep the children good.”