Sabrina Reeves and Paul Hopkins in Hollows of a Dream
(Photo credit: Dominique Chartrand)
Sometimes I find plays are balanced so tightly to narrative structure at the expense of other elements which could make the experience feel more live.
The Upstage Interview, each Monday, is a result of CharPo's media partnership with Upstage: Theatre on Radio on CKUT.
Upstage and CharPo contributor Sarah Deshaies spoke with Writer/Director Sabrina Reeves about The Hollows of a Dream. Below is an abridged version of the interview transcribed by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-Chief.
The more we talked about it, the more people jumped on board. So the piece was born out of an emergency.
Deshaies asked Reeves about her description of this piece - a Montreal house party gone wonderfully awry - a film installation inside a rock concert inside a dance show inside a theatre piece.
My background training is in theatre. But in my creation experience have been working with blue mouth inc. the past 10 years.
We do multi-disciplinary work which always incorporates a lot of movement, dance and film imagery. Text is included but isn’t focused on narrative.
Creation is more of a choreographic method where you take parts and put them together. I really wanted to return to my roots with this piece by having a narrative thread running throughout, sort of anchoring it, even if at times hidden and then emerging again - didn’t want it to necessarily run the show.
Sometimes I find plays are balanced so tightly to narrative structure at the expense of other elements which could make the experience feel more live. There’s dance, music, scenes and text, all in the context of a party.
Dehaies asked if it’s a group of people who are strangers or friends.
Good friends. The audience is incorporated within the action, and immersed in the piece as much as possible. They’re included in the space. The space at Theatre La Chapelle has been deconstructed so that the piece starts at the bar. There are lots of surprises; for me that’s what I look for in a theatrical experience.
I wanted to find a way for theatre to enter into that arena and still respect the tenets of playwriting
After graduating from school and going to New York, I wanted to do theatre along with something that felt more live. Like when you go to a rock concert or performance installation in situ, you feel the presence of performers, I find that an adrenalin experience.
I wanted to find a way for theatre to enter into that arena and still respect the tenets of playwriting, character, place, cohesive story element, and unity of action. All the things that are so challenging about writing and creating theatre but to put that in a more exciting context.
Deshaies asked about the genesis of story.
I was originally planning to do a theatre piece that fell through at the last minute. So we had four weeks and a theatre but no show.
I phoned my friends and spoke with my partner David (Usher); at first our goal was not to waste the fact we had theatre space and felt we should do something. The more we talked about it, the more people jumped on board. So the piece was born out of an emergency.”
The more I went to theatre I realized the performers are so far away, we’re not engaged or interacting.
The first incarnation was last May. It was so successful and such a joy that Theatre La Chapelle Artistic Director Jack Udashkin asked us to remount it.
Deshaies asked Reeves what drives her to multi-disciplinary work.
Basically, it comes down to the kind of experience I want to have. Everything in art is so subjective. If you’re a painter what do you like, what are you drawn to. This isn’t a judgment; it’s just I like this kind of experience.
For me, graduating from theatre school and realizing most people gravitate to doing film, I asked myself why don’t people do theatre. The more I went to theatre I realized the performers are so far away, we’re not engaged or interacting. It could be like a movie in front of me.
I’m not slamming theatre; I love theatre. I was beginning to feel that theatre could be crushed by film if theatre doesn’t capitalize on its live element. That theatre is live is what it has over film. But we have to find a way to engage the audience more directly.
In a certain way, it could almost be compared to the history of theatre when it went from bourgeois to opera and ballet. And the experience of going to theatre for example in the days of Shakespeare, when the audience would throw tomatoes, and could reach out and touch them made for a more visceral and immediate experience.
Similarly the music industry going back to grass roots represents in an odd way, going back in time.
The hollows of a dream (Les creux d’un reve)
Mar. 29-Apr.2 Theatre La Chapelle
Read also: Sabrina Reeves first-person piece for CharPo
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