Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Studio available for rehearsal

Theatre Junction GRAND Studio is available for rehearsal (not for

-Elevator available for load in/load out of props and set pieces.
-Suitable for dance.
-Greenroom and bathroom located off of the Studio.

Studio is available from March 30th, 2009 until September 1st, 2009

Please send an email to info@theatrejunction.com to find out further

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Critical Perspective of Theatre Junction's On the Side of the Road by Natalie Meisner

The second installment in Theatre Junction’s trilogy of meditations on death, desire and the Canadian west packs a powerful visual punch and employs a language of visual poetry that evokes the North: ice, a bare white landscape, and a pile of deer antlers whose strange beauty highlight nature’s sublime architectural and sculptural lines. These forms sit in sharp contrast to the minimalist almost acidic modernity of mylar balloons and a shimmering sliver backdrop that throw slivers of low sidelight about the stage in a manner evoking both water and ice.

On The Side of the Road, like Little Red River, was generated through a process of collective creation. This process aims to democratize the process of play making by involving the actor in the process of creation. Although theatre, perhaps more than any other literary art, has always been collaborative in nature, this process evolved in the 1960’s in response to the centrality that the theatre director had taken in preceding decades as the primary interpreter of the text. Collective creation is noted for the authentic performance that it can call up from its performers who feel more invested in text that they have had a hand in creating. Collective creation in Canada has a rich history with shows such as Theatre Passe Muraille’s The Farm Show influenced by the collaborative work of the Living Theatre in the U.S., Roger Planchon in France and Peter Brook in England.
Whereas many of the preceding experiments in collective creation had a documentary focus, allowing actors to interview members of a given community and develop a play from their stories, Theatre Junction’s RCA starts with a different focus. The company takes as their points of departure a piece of visual art by Winnipeg artist Marcel Dzama, and fictionalized autobiographical material they call “autofictions.” The company’s dramaturges have shaped the material generated through improvisation around a central plot. Boy travels to Europe, meets girl falls in love, nearly loses girl then transports her to the remotest area of what (in the popular European imaginary) is a land composed entirely of bucolic wilderness, lakes and cabin country after which she takes off, has an accident and falls into a coma.

The status of Canada as untouched and pristine is thrown into question by the provocations of the scientist, played by Mike Tan, who notes that the lake that Samuel’s father’s cabin sits on is dying. Is this a natural process, or one “aided” by human interference? The question is never answered but the seed of doubt is planted in the audience’s mind and throughout the piece the images of creeping decay that emanate from the lake seep into the minds of the personages and the audience alike.

The performance style is relaxed and char/acters relate to one another from a place of comfort and trust. The opening in which Uncle Bill and Lola(Diane Busuttil) greet the audience gives a nod to Brechtian gestus as we are continually reminded that we are watching a performance and the narrative style keeps us from getting caught up in the action to the extent that we experience catharsis. Unlike Brechtian gestus this style does not seem to have a political aim, other than the positivist desire (given a substantial workout over the past few decades in literary theory) to deconstruct or abandon one’s identity, and hence to avoid the traps of identity politics.

Moments of prairie humour include having the entire cast attacked in a choreographed dance routine by electronic versions of the ubiquitous swarms of mosquito that will be familiar to anyone who has visited a prairie lake. There are also tongue in cheek full cast country tunes such as “I got you in the cab of my heart” which tread a fine line between homage and satire. A wave of knowing laughter swells from the crowd when Uncle Bill (Stephen Turner) continually insists that there is nothing is out of the ordinary at Lac La Biche since “ALL THE NORTHERN LAKES HAVE ALGAE!”

These plot questions (Will Alice Ever Awake from a coma? Will Samuel ever come in from the middle of the lake?) are less important than eerie appeal of the dream/nightmare logic of accident and coma, however. The most intriguing moments of the piece are only tangentially related to the plot. A masked woman in sparkly underwear stalks across a dream landscape splitting the air inches from our heads with double whips that echo the lightening of a summer storm. Alice (Raphaele Thiriet) replaces the conventional narrative of the coma with her uncommon and surreal description of a coma as a state of restful bliss. A dancer (Virginie Thomas) who has been flitting, agile and deer-like through the set for the entirety of the piece suddenly breaks the dancer’s sound barrier and accosts the audience with song that insists she is a deer, and follows with a diverting and poetic ode to the animal and its thematic place in the play.

Dr. Natalie Meisner
Department of English
Mount Royal College

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Critical Perspective of Theatre Junction's On the Side of the Road by Michael Thomas Taylor

A light creature springs deftly through a landscape of silver and white, chanting the rhythm of her approach. She is a deer, watching in the “death angle” on the side of the road, a new and familiar danger in the Alberta landscape that we entered last year with Little Red River. The danger comes from the possibility of collision. Hands thrust forward like antlers, she runs at the audience, lunging to the front edge of the stage. The force of the accidental impacts that propelled Little Red River and now drive this new show are captured here and made imminent.

This is how Theatre Junction celebrates a death. What began as an invitation to the audience, and to tell a story, never settles. The story is, at first, a love story following a young writer who returns home from Europe upon the death of his father, together with his French girlfriend, to meet his uncle and take possession of his father’s cabin on Lac la Biche. All love stories necessarily fracture along unavoidable fault-lines: as narratives of an encounter, they resist a single point of view, and in recounting a moment of pure experience, they threaten to ossify into memory. In this theatre, though, these ruptures become principles of the performance. “Go on then, tell him the story,” Lola says to the Bill when they first meet his nephew Sam, and the narrative immediately refracts into slightly incongruent points of view spoken in idioms that jostle each other. Words are doubled and translated, metaphors echoed back as jargon, and the same sounds come out shaped differently by widely separated origins. This friction is productive. But this performance is most keen when it forces open the gap where telling becomes acting, where remembering finds no anchor, and where the narrative loses its keel as things begin to happen. The exuberance of these events coalesces compellingly into a shared story when the cast sings the refrains of Ian Kilburn’s original songs (or when the audience erupts into laughter). But like all song and dance numbers, these celebratory gestures also suspend the narrative in a way that underscores the fragility of its illusion. The illusion of this performance is sustained by emotion and atmosphere, and both of these can be shattered in an instant by another rupture inherent to love stories: the impulsive, violent power of accidents. The impossibility that opens up in the hope and desire of one “harpooned by love” cannot help but explode the structure of any narrative that would carry this moment alive into the future. To maintain such intensity and avoid triviality, love stories inevitably draw upon undercurrents of betrayal, loss and separation. But this production avoids redeeming the sacrifice of its ‘love’, either for the characters or for the audience as a kind of tragedy. Instead, it risks refashioning one of the theatre’s most fundamental resources: the power to make things otherwise that comes from the power to forget.

At times, the show purports to have a word for this loss. Identity is a game, we are told, a series of masks, and characters appear true when they adapt to the situation they inhabit. Although not all of the characters are equally adept at this metamorphosis, all seek in their own way to make sense of the world. Sam’s earnest and pained naiveté encounters its rebellious counterpart in Alice; Bill is a sculptor whose work on a medium that is constantly melting helps him keeps a grip on reality; John is a chemist who methodically measures the algae in glimpse of a theory that would unlock the secrets of nature, the “memory of water.” The landscape too seems to relinquish secrets of time and culture, preserved in rock and ice, but its open secret – and perhaps the strongest element of the performance – is the sound and stage design. Introduced as the game warden responsible for “protecting the environment,” Nicolas Bernier performs minimal, precise sounds that create space in the same way that music creates mood, or that a changed voice can suddenly and utterly alienate an identity. To contain this space, Julie Fox sketches a collection of planes with spare ornaments that anchor, in the course of the performance, a world that fills out and comes together with stark complexity, each new iteration and each new addition surprising in its potential to transform, extend, turn topsy-turvy or to one side. Nevertheless, this space strikes hard as one vast, claustrophobic imagination of the Northern Lakes, standing sideways to its own history and landscape, like this theatre in Western Canada. On the Side of the Road produces the most friction when the performance collides with obstacles that dislocate its elaborate lyricism, when its characters and images jut through the inexorable shaping force of its artistic vision to come straight at the audience, tranquil and fierce, “I am a deer, deer, I am a deer.”

Michael Thomas Taylor
Assistant Professor of German
The University of Calgary

Friday, March 20, 2009

On the Side of the Road Preview - Audience Response

I just wanted to relay, again, how much we all enjoyed the production last night. From the verbal poetry of a manic lover to the trucker talk, the dialogue was consistently engaging. Often extremely humorous. At times I could hardly sit still as the music and dance had my feet moving. At other times I was frozen as I felt suddenly placed in the middle of the stage by the silent dramatic tension directed straight at the audience. The themes, accident and identity, reality and the unconscious, had us talking well into the night. As we left, most of us were talking about when we could return to watch again. Best of success on your opening night!

- Devon Gillard

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Theatre Junction's Casino - VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

This year, Theatre Junction’s Annual Casino is happening on Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12, 2009 and it’s time to RECRUIT SOME VOLUNTEERS!


The Casino is a vital part our funding, and is a great way for staff, volunteers and friends of Theatre Junction GRAND to have fun, get to know each other, raise money, and support Theatre Junction!

We are required to provide the Casino with 25 volunteers for each day we are at the Casino (that’s 50 volunteers!), so we need some help! There are a variety of positions to fill and there is definitely NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED! You don’t even have to like gambling or know anything about it – all positions are trained on the day of the casino, and each job is very simple.

Variety of Positions!

We need Bankers (just pretend its Monopoly money), Cashiers, Chip Runners, Count Room Staff, Count Room Supervisors (to keep the Count Room Staff in line, of course), and General Managers.

We are fortunate that we are able to hold our casino at the Stampede Casino again this year, which is easy to access by transit (LRT -Victoria Park/Stampede Station) and close to downtown.

Bring your friends!

Not only does it help us out, but it also makes it more fun for you!

Sign up now!

We need the key positions (General Managers, Count Room Supervisors, Bankers) filled ASAP

– so please don’t delay! Any scheduling conflicts can be worked out closer to the casino date.

Contact ADELLE at 403.205.2922 EXT 201



Thank you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An interview with Mark Lawes, Director of On the Side of the Road

How did you come up with the idea for On the side of the Road?

On the Side of the Road was created from multiple points of inspiration, films, novels, paintings, field research, and the “auto-fictions” of the Resident Company of Artists (RCA) . The first point of inspiration was a painting by Marcel Dzama, a Winnipeg artist, depicting a young woman carrying a dead deer on her shoulders. The 2nd was the small town of Lac La Biche situated three hours northeast of Edmonton on a beautiful Northern lake. I helped to build an addition on Uncle Sid’s cabin on the lake when I was a teenager. Lac La Biche (‘biche’ is French for deer) is a complex crossroads of cultures and nature that has tremendous historical significance for Alberta and Canada.

How is the theme of the accident explored in this work?

An accident is the moment of fragility, the moment where everything changes. It is a shock that shatters your vision of the world. The collision between culture and nature, the car accident that kills the deer, sends Alice into a coma. We are asking questions of identity by provoking the confrontation between what is conscious and rational and what is unconscious and unexplainable. An accident happens by chance. Chance is everything that cannot be explained by reason.

What was your creation process for On the Side of the Road?

We are taking an archeological approach to creation by exploring the intersection of people from different roots and memories who compose a specific place and time. In our process, theatre, dance, music and visual art intersect to find a live writing. This results in a pop-art hybrid that is both accessible and new. The Resident Company of Artists (RCA) is comprised of a unique combination of people, skills, disciplines and backgrounds. The RCA are authors as well as interpreters and performers. I propose characters within a story and each of the artists writes on his/her character, and then on the characters of the others. The combination of presentation, training, creative practice, research and development in multiple layers, as well as political and philosophical discussions about why we are engaged in creating theatre together, result in the particular qualities of our work.

Monday, March 2, 2009

OSR After-Parties!!!

Theatre Junction is excited to host THREE On the Side of the Road After-Parties. These parties will celebrate the company's new creation and allow our audience the opportunity to connect with the artists they just watched perform on stage. The dates of the after-parties, which will be held in the Studio, are:

Opening Night - Friday, March 20th

Industry Night - Saturday, March 28th

Closing Night - Saturday, April 4 (in conjunction w/ All The Best Things magazine launch)

Admission is FREE and we encourage everyone who comes out to see On the Side of the Road on the above dates to stick around after the show and party with us. There will be free food, cheap drinks and live music, including performances by Theatre Junction's very own Ian Kilburn!

The parties are scheduled to begin at 10 pm in the Studio following the performance in the theatre.

Mark Lawes

Mark is the founding artistic director of Theatre Junction. Since 2005 and the reinvention of Theatre Junction GRAND, he has been working as a director/creator with the Resident Company of Artists (RCA). Themes of memory, identity, death, and desire set against the backdrop of the Canadian West, have been explored in the new works, Archeology, The Atlantis Project, Little Red River and now On the Side of the Road.

Mark has traveled extensively in Europe working under directors in Opera, Theatre and Dance. In 2003 he lived in Paris where he worked on projects at The Paris Opera, Théâtre L’Athenée, The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Le Scène Nationale d’Orléans, The Steirischerbst in Graz, and with The Splinter Group in Berlin. He has worked as an interpreter of classical and contemporary text both as an actor and director. His productions of Patrick Marber’s Closer and Molière’s The Misanthrope were nominated for Best Direction and Best Production in Calgary. Mark was the driving force and visionary behind the redevelopment of Theatre Junction GRAND.

Alexandra Prichard

Alexandra has worked as a director, lighting designer, dramaturg, stage manager and instructor. For the past eight years she has been based in Toronto, where she has been working predominantly in new work and inter-disciplinary performance. She holds an MA in drama from the University of Toronto, and a Graduate Diploma in Directing from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, where she worked with director/creators Richard Murphet, Jenny Kemp and Lindy Davies.

Since then, she has been particularly interested in ensemble performance and creation, and in the role of the performer in the rehearsal process, which brings her to Theatre Junction. For the past two years, she has been a member of the Toronto-based interdisciplinary collective, draft89, who are dedicated to the collaborative creation of new work and to exposing emerging artists to new disciplines.

Steve Turner

....An enormous bearded man gently hammering pieces of metal....

Stephen P Turner returns to the RCA to carry on with the journey, the exploration of life, death and all things in between. Visual art and performance now mingle to form a new vehicle that lays out an endless road to travel. With a varied background as a sculptor, musician, youth and crisis intervention worker and community liason for people with disabilities, Steve uses these experiences as tools to create and develop his ideas and delve further into his obsession of discovery of the world around him.
He has participated in stone sculpture symposia in Vietnam, Thailand, and Canada, working with artists from Thailand, Czech Republic, France, Sweden, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Austria, Japan and the Netherlands. Stephen's sculptural work is in private and public collections in Canada, the U.S., South Africa, Vietnam, and at the University of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Virginie Thomas

Virginie Thomas studied Visual Art at the University of Rennes. In 2000, she received her professional designation in dance from the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier, and began working with such French choreographers as Thierry Baë, Anne Lopez, Florence Saul, Dominique Boivin, Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh, Catherine Contour and David Wampach. For the past seven years, she has been a member of the collective, the Clubdes5, developing interdisciplinary research and performance work. She has also collaborated with designer-walker Mathias Poisson, filmmaker Guillaume Robert, and various theatre practitioners. Recently she created a solo piece — "dans le décor", a work centred around a touristic fiction. Virginie is also a member of Les Vraoums, a performative girls’ band.

Raphaele Thiriet

Raphaele studied theatre in France at the Conservatoire National de Région de Toulouse, learning the Grotowsky Technique under Henry Bornstein. After graduating in 1997 she went to the Université d’Aix en Provence, where she studied philosophical and political views on theatre. In 2001, she honed her dramaturgy and acting skills under Angela Konrad, dramaturge and artistic director of In pulverem reverteris company, a research laboratory. She worked on new creations, Time is out of joint part 1,2,3, Richard III, and Traumzeit touring in France and Germany. She has also worked with choreographers Heddy Maalem and Emilio Calgagno (Ballet Preljocaj). She acted with several other companies in France including Ma voisine s’appelle Cassandre on contemporary authors Novarina, Edouard Glissant, and Schimmelpfennig. Recent work includes the new creation Les instituteurs immoreaux with the company Les travailleurs de la nuit, inspired by the writings of Donatien Alphonse Sade. Raphaele is a writer of iconoclastic theatre and poetry including Crash, Fading, X, and Berlin. She is a creator, performer and dramaturge for Little Red River and On the Side of the Road.

Mike Tan

Mike is back for his third year for new contemporary creation at Theatre Junction Grand. Over the past few years at Theatre Junction Grand, he had the opportunity to work with artists of various disciplines from all over the world, such as France, Germany, Australia, New York, and Poland. The RCA experience has opened the door to varying perspectives about making and considering theatre, and art as a whole for Mike, and he hopes it will do the same for Calgary's viewers. This recent summer he
has been busy working with Calgary Young People's Theatre as a Drama instructor and with Kids Play Klassics performing at local festivals. He has also worked with young indie companies such as Downstage, and most recently as a visual artist for Swallow-a-Bicycle's 'Wanderlust' this summer. Mike was trained at the U of C, and is from Calgary. Special thanks to Aiden and Nancy.

Tracey Glas

Tracey's feet are killing her from pounding Calgary's Streets and Avenues in search of fabrics and found clothing pieces to compliment the RCA's ideas for each costume.

Having created costumes for a variety of performance media, from independent film, circus, contemporary theatre classics, opera, skating, Broadway musicals to Shakespeare, Tracey draws on her adaptability and tenacity to satisfy the needs of those she is collaborating with.

Most recently, Tracey's costume designs were seen in Calgary in the Musicfilm "Love Songs" by the award-winning Laura Taler, as part of the CSIF Festival of Surrealist Film.

Ian Kilburn

Ian Kilburn studied at the University of Calgary in the faculty of Fine Arts, where he absorbed acting and theatre history in the department in Drama. Since this experience, he has played in Stories, Lies and Heroes (Lynn Eaton), Titus Andronicus (Mob Hit), and As You Like It (Shakespeare in the Park). Ian is a writer and musician and plays in the band Appollo. Ian created Little Red River and On the Side of the Road with Theatre Junction's RCA.

"A huge thank you to my family, friends, and my sparrow. For all the support that helped me get back on stage."

Julie Fox

Since finishing her studies at the National Theatre School in 1994, Julie has been working as a free-lance set and costume designer for theatres and dance companies across Canada. In theatre, she has worked primarily with Toronto directors Daniel Brooks and Chris Abraham, on both new creations and classical texts. Their work has received many awards and been seen in a number of international theatre festivals. She has twice received the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Set Design, and been nominated many times. She was also nominated for a Sterling award for her 2005 design for Frozen at the Citadel Theatre. Since 2002 she has lived part-time in the Czech Republic, designing sets, costumes and installations for dance. She has taught design at Concordia University, Glendon College, and the National Theatre School of Canada. This is her second season with the RCA at Theatre Junction GRAND.

Nicolas Bernier

Nicolas Bernier’s initiation into musical creation was through popular music. However, his curiosity quickly brought him to electroacoustic composition. His love of experimentation has inspired him to develop acousmatic compositions, live electronics, installations and art video, as well as music for dance, theatre and cinema. In the midst of this eclecticism, his artistic concerns remain constant: the balance between the cerebral and the sensual, and between organic sound sources and digital processing. He has collaborated with many artists from a variety of artistic spheres, inclucing choreographer Ginette Laurin, director Denis Marleau, musician Delphine Measroch, guitar player Simon Trottier, sound artists Alexis Bellavance, Érick D’Orion, Hélène Prévost, Jacques Poulin-Denis. In 2006 he created Ekumen, a microorganism dedicated to the dissemination of sound art. In 2008 he took on the art direction for Réseaux, a major Canadian electroacoustic concert producer. His works have been broadcast at various festivals around the world including AKOUSMA (Canada), Mutek (Canada), DotMov Festival (Japan) and Transmediale (Germany), and have won many awards. See more at ekumen.com and myspace.com/nicolasbernie.

Diane Busuttil

Diane comes from Sydney Australia where she began dance classes at the age of eight to curb her hyperactive tendencies……she hasn’t stopped moving since.

Throughout her career Diane has utilized her skills in tap dance, contemporary dance, choreography, directing, acrobatics, release-based movement, improvisation, acting, knitting and whip-cracking.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance as well as two diplomas in Graphic Design and Business Studies. She is a qualified Iyengar Yoga teacher and an avid practitioner.

In 2000 she studied BODY at the International Women’s University in Germany and is currently based in Berlin. In Europe she worked with directors: Constanza Macras – Dorky Park, Rodrigo Garcia – La Carniceria Teatro, Marco Berrittini and Ulf Otto as well as presenting her own performance and film work at dance and theatre festivals across Europe, Asia, America and Australia.

Diane directed three experimental short dance films and recently wrote and directed her first narrative short film titled Dirt and Desire.