news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Meet a Volcano Artist: Mimi Lien

Who: Mimi Lien
What: Until We Say Yes
When: 2014/15 Volcano Season

Mimi Lien is a much acclaimed and sought after set designer based in Brooklyn, NY – and Volcano’s lucky enough to be working with her on our current production in development Until We Say Yes.

Until We Say Yes is an exploration of migration: people on the verge of large decisions about coming and going, staying or leaving. Set partly in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, and partly in whatever theatre it is performed in, the audience will get to follow three fictional love stories told through various media and developed out of seven real-life stories from the cast. These narratives are all interwoven into a portrait of duality - double identity - the essence of the migrant's life.

"I just grabbed a lunch in New York with Mimi, where she had a show running at the Under the Radar Festival, and was on a break from another show she is designing for Lincoln Center. AND she and her husband have just founded their own space in Brooklyn. Mimi Lien is the bomb. Sweet, insightful, smart as a whip. We are lucky to have her collaborating with us. A thrilling talent." - Ross

Here’s a recent article in the New Yorker about Mimi’s work: Critic's Notebook: All Set

...and here’s Mimi talking about her approach to set design and her ideas on expanding beyond the stage: 

Monday, 14 January 2013

Hannah Moscovitch's New War Story

Who: Hannah Moscovitch
What: This is War at Tarragon Theatre
When: January 3 - February 3, 2013

Love + Time = x

Hannah Moscovitch's latest play to hit the stage is This is War, now on at the Tarragon. She is also working with Volcano on another fascinating project.....

Infinity is a play about a dying physicist who discovers that his concept of time, the one topic he thought he was an expert on, is eluding him. Combining research into timekeeping and physics, this work seeks to elucidate a formula to describe love, and what happens to love, through time...

Says Ross about Hannah and This Is War: "The extraordinary thing about this play - and plays like Proud by Michael Healey, or Awake, created and directed by Chris Tolley & Laura Mullin - is that they are about now - about what our country is engaged in right now - and they offer a completely different perspective on this than can possibly be gained in media, social or otherwise. It is a tremendously positive new development in the city's theatre that these plays are coming forward with such force and craft. Hannah's play is a terrifically engaging look into the world of the Canadian soldier at war, and what these men and women might have to deal with now that they're home - see it. Seriously. It's about us."

In addition to This is War, Hannah was a contributing writer on the CBC Radio series Afghanada. She recently spoke on CBC’s Metro Morning (Jan 3) about this play’s origins and on her continued motivation to relate Canadian soldiers’ stories of combat to the public back home. This is War is loosely based on an incident involving the Afghan National Army, Coalition Forces and the Taliban, that was related to Moscovitch by a war reporter who worked in the Panjwayi district where the incident occurred.

On Metro Morning, Moscovitch discussed the disconnection between the perspectives of soldiers on the ground and the discussions of politics in the media which are deeply separated from the reality of combat: “It’s appropriate in the media to talk about the politics of war, but for soldiers the event of war is completely different – it’s just removed – because once you’re in the arena of war and bombs are detonating around you and people are yelling  - you’re…trying to save your life and save the lives of the people around you.” With Canada’s combat role having concluded in July 2011, Moscovitch considers Canada to now be a post-war society. She is interested in maintaining a focus on the country’s growing population of veterans arriving back in Canada who are often confronted with arduous processes of re-integration.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Shaking Things Up: Kristen Thomson & Crow’s Theatre

Toronto theatre artists are jumping right into the New Year, and we at Volcano are particularly pumped to see Kristen Thomson on stage again.

In Ross' words: "Kristen Thomson has that rare mix of instinct and intelligence as an actor. She can work from the gut, but can also analyze this work with rigour and specificity. We were lucky to have her step into Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God (Roland Schimmelpfennig's contribution to Another Africa at Canadian Stage). In fact, we're all lucky to have Kristen working in this country. Her new play will be worth checking out, I'm guessing..."


Kristen Thomson in Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God,
part of Another Africa at Canadian Stage. Photo by John Lauener.
From left to right: Tom Barnett, Kristen Thomson, Tony Nappo, and Maev Beaty.
Kristen is performing at the Berkeley Street Theatre in her latest piece, Someone Else, presented by Crow's Theatre. You can read her recent interview with The Grid here to learn more.

Crow's has been the talk of the town this week (here, here, and here, for starters) over their brand new theatre space in Leslieville: the ground floor of a new condo building. The project is a partnership between the theatre company, the City (through Councillor Paula Fletcher), and the private developers. An effective use of Section 37 funds, the new Crow's theatre space is a story worth following: in periods of economic uncertainty and fiscal restraint from all levels of government, the issue of alternative revenue generation is a critical topic for not-for-profit organizations. What Crow's does in the next few years will almost certainly be a case study for the sector.

You can read about a similar case study (the Galapagos Arts Centre in Brooklyn) here, one of the models that Crow's looked to when developing their own plan.