news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Director Director Director

ROSS MANSON: I can't remember exactly when I met Jennifer Tarver, but it was a loooong time ago now. We were both becoming directors on the experimental fringes of Toronto at around the same time (early 90s). I have always been a fan of her mind, and her energy. Her work has spoken for itself, and has taken her from small rooms at the Music Gallery and the Theatre Centre to Stratford and New York.

Ross Manson: actor
Photo by Nir Baraket
Recently, I had the pleasure of auditioning for her. I haven't acted in Toronto for probably a decade, and Jennifer is one of the few who actually remembers that I WAS an actor (my acting work actually subsidized Volcano for the first decade or so of the company). She brought me in for the role of a director in a show she is directing this coming fall in Toronto. So there were three directors in the room: her, me, and the character, with the first two trying to understand the third.

Jennifer Tarver
Photo: Liz Lauren
We had two sessions together, and it was a pleasure. She is honest and brilliant, and focused on bringing the work to the stage in as deep and affecting a way as possible. I didn't get the part (a bit of a relief — I'm too busy!), but the audition experiences were themselves fun, fulfilling, and more like a real exploration than an audition — to her credit. I imagine her class will be similarly engaging. We're lucky to have her.

Visit to learn more about Jennifer's course, The Physically Active Monologue, and other classes at the Volcano Conservatory. To register, email

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