news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Friday, 14 November 2014

Behind the scenes with Graham McKelvie

With one week left in the run of The Four Horsemen Project at Soulpepper Theatre, we touched base with the fabulous Graham McKelvie, one of our Four Horsemen performers. We wanted to see what it was like to prepare for this insanely demanding role. 

Did you know anything about the Four Horsemen poets before beginning to work on The Four Horsemen Project?

GM: No, I knew nothing of the Four Horsemen before the project. What an interesting and pleasant surprise it was for me!

What was the very first rehearsal like? 

GM: The very first rehearsal we started working on "Allegro 108" and I thought I was going to go insane and pulled big diva moments where I was all "I NEED A BREAK CUZ I'M GOING CRAZY!!!" ...... lol.... the work of the Four Horsemen is often not easy to learn as it purposefully deconstructs syntax. The journey was bewildering but really engaging.

When Ross called you to say he was remounting the show, what was your initial reaction?

GM: Of course I was quite filled with joy when presented with the possibility of a remount. It's a great time for a performer to go nuts in a way one rarely gets. And the piece is by now such a familiar thing, that it's like reconnecting with an old friend.

What did you do to prepare for this remount?

GM: Initially I freaked out when I thought of preparing for the remount, but then I realized it was all still there in my brain and body and not too far from the surface. Funny thing how a brain works.

What’s your favourite “pome” in the show?

GM: My fav pome is probably, Aleph Beth. It's a lovely play on words, and the recycling of them. But in addition it is dramatically layered in a way. At one glance, it is like a serious instructional told to listeners. And on the other hand it's almost like a soliloquy, the thoughts inside the head of someone who has thought long and hard on the subject matter,  the nature of poetry always dancing around him, which is what is happening choreographically.

Be sure to ride with Graham and our other three incredible horsemen in The Four Horsemen Project playing at Soulpepper before it closes on November 22. For tickets, purchase here.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Riding with The Four Horsemen Project

The Four Horsemen Project at Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre, is underway. Woohoo! For those of you who know only a weeeeeee bit about  The Four Horsemen Project, hopefully this will help.

The Four Horsemen Project is based on poetry from Toronto's original Four Horsemen poets, Rafael Barreto-Rivera, Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery and bpNichol back in the 70's. To get a taste of their work, check out this video below. It is absolutely unlike anything you've ever heard before.

In 2000, Kate Alton and Ross Manson heard a recording of The Four Horsemen (you can find out about The Four Horsemen Project: Origin Story here) and decided to create a show using four dancers reciting the sound poetry of the 70's. That creation has become The Four Horsemen Project.

Naomi Skwarna of Hazlitt recently sat down with Ross Manson and Kate Alton to talk about our revival production. Read her piece "At the Bleeding Edge of Language" here. Naomi talks with Ross and Kate about how The Four Horsemen recorded their poetry using charts. "They'd riff on a sound written in a certain cell. Then all four horses would move from left-to-right. "

Now that you're a sound poetry expert, be sure to join our Four Horsemen at Soulpepper Theatre, November 6 - 22. Tickets are available here.