As of January 7, 2013, this website will serve as an archive site only. For news, reviews and a connection with audience and creators of theatre all over the country, please go to The Charlebois Post - Canada.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

The Question, November 19, 2012

If I can Make it There...
by Estelle Rosen

Playwright/Actor Michaela Di Cesare is the recipient of several awards including MECCA for Best Text for 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived,  and  the Launchpad Award for Emerging Artists. She is currently Actor-in-Residence with Black Theatre Workshop’s Youthworks Program. She has been performing her one-woman show 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived in Toronto and Montreal. She is currently presenting this show at the United Solo Festival in NewYork.

CHARPO: How does the experience of presenting 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived at the United Solo Festival in New York compare with presenting it in Montreal?
DI CESARE: The first word that popped into my head was "pressure." Surprisingly, I feel less pressure performing my solo show in New York City than I ever have in Montreal. I suppose there are many reasons for this:

  • I always believed that my future career depended on Montreal's response
  • Many artists whose work I admired and revered during my formative years and training would see the show in Montreal
  • And-- last but not least-- everyone represented in the play could walk into a Montreal performance at any time.

Let me tell you, I would scan the audience every night in case my old high school teacher (the one who tells the banana story in the play) was there so I could hide in the dressing room. She never did come to a show, but one of her colleagues did. One of my old English teachers heard about the play on CJAD, came to watch and said to me afterwards, "It's true! Ms. **** was always talking about that banana!"  Honestly, this teacher is the only character (after my mother) that I didn't really fictionalize or embellish at all-- but some people refuse to believe that. Up until recently, I was STILL receiving aggressive Facebook messages about certain other characters in the show. I find that to be really hilarious because I needed to use so much of my artistic license on everyone else. And the play really isn't about any of them, is it?

All that to say that I have always felt responsibility for my work and pressure to perform in Montreal. The cloak of anonymity in New York has been liberating. It really is like being this one tiny speck of sand  thrown onto a vast beach of shows, and most of them are these enormous sandcastles and some are these little bucket hills and others are retellings of Macbeth staged in abandoned hotels that every single person in the world is going to go see like it's absolutely mandatory-- and it's wonderful being that grain of sand! It's comforting and it's reassuring. I mean, from a capitalist perspective it's terrifying. From an artistic perspective, however, there is so much room for exploration.

Truth be told-- I miss the press in Montreal! The journalists who have such love for our theatre community and want to see it prosper. That's different here for sure. New York needs a CharPo equivalent. A publication where independents have a chance.

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