In 2010 a group of disparate individuals was drawn together through sharing the common goal of being able to “make theatre that matters”, although, truthfully, we couldn’t have said what that was. We began by sharing a feeling that the opportunities available to us as artists did not reflect our experience, even those of us who came from privilege. The group’s interests and expertise ranged from the arts (theatre, dance, opera, circus, visual arts, cinema) to education and therapy and included writers, directors, film makers, an Alexander Technique practitioner, and was inclusive of a wide range of age, experience and physical abilities. The group committed to and established ongoing weekly training which was maintained for four years and resulted in the creation of work presented at Resounding Scream’s Hive 2: The Newbees 2012; Hive 3: The Newbees 2013 and its rehearsal and training methods were employed in a United Players production of Blake Morrison’s “We Are Three Sisters” in 2013.
Through the creation of these pieces we identified the need to deal with language in a more immediate and embodied way; the common perception being that the status quo training available to performers for the past number of decades put us “into our heads” as soon as we encountered written text. Utilizing the skills within the group, an exploration of “embodied speech” began that combined elements of Laban Movement Notation, music theory, Cicely Berry’s voice and text work and principles of Continuum or “wet side of the skin” work.
“Julius Caesar” was introduced as training text without any thought of performing it. The way we were working, however, created startling moments of deep personal resonance for everyone in the room without exception. Suddenly a century’s old historical drama was a living presence in our lives, causing us to pay more attention to world events, personal responsibility around social issues and the partisan nature of mainstream sources of information. It also evoked deeply personal connections to oppression, authority, betrayal, revenge and gender.
Our proposal for what was to become CAEZR: 33 Cuts was accepted by Upintheair Theatre for their 2014 rEvolver Festival and received its first performances there in May of that year. This experience taught us a great deal about melding form and content but even with the “roughness” of the presentational elements, audience response indicated that we had struck a nerve; so much so, that some of us could not let go of the piece. It was reworked again as a performance project for students at the Art Institute of Vancouver in the summer and fall of 2016.
Today, the company is redeveloping the piece with a cultural diversity that reflects Vancouver and addresses the frustration felt by so many, right across our country. We are constantly moving forward with a deeper understanding of current politics, environmental changes and first nations relationships and viewpoints. The production CAEZR: What would you die for…? will be performed as part of the Springworks Festival in Stratford, Ontario from October 12 to 29th, 2017.