Jordi gets ready for 5 nights Between the Sheets

Tonight is opening night for Jordi Mand’s provocative new play, Between the Sheets!

Amidst the madness Jordi was good enough to answer a few questions about openings, writing and what she’s learned.

 

NW: Do you have any preshow rituals?

J: A big deep breath and a warm cup of tea

 

NW: What do you do when the lights come up?

J: Try to enjoy

 

NW: What have you learned about Between the Sheets in it’s first move from the page to the stage?

J: I’ve learned that it’s important to be open to be feedback but equally important to know the play you are writing. I’ve learned how to advocate for my words and my characters. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to have all of the answers right away. I’ve learned how emotional moments that are tricky in my head make a lot more sense when actors enter the picture. I’ve learned that there is fine line between over writing and letting the actors discover moments on their own. I’ve learned to see the bigger picture. I’ve learned to see the calm within the storm.

 

NW: Approximately how many hours would you say you’ve spent writing/and or thinking about this script?

J: If I had to take a guess…around 1,500 hours over the course of 2 years.

 

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everybody’s talking about d’bi

If you’re like me, you’ve heard a lot about d’bi.young these past few weeks. Her show, the sankofa trilogy, is playing to rave reviews at the Tarragon Theatre, her new album 333 is being launched at Lula Lounge December 5th, and on top of all of that she’s part of  The New Groundswell Festival Masterclass Series teaching a class on the sorplusi methodology!

You know, just a few things to keep her busy.

Curious about what the sorplusi method is? Watch the video below.

Curious about d’bi? Scroll down for a little Nightwood/d’bi Q and A.

*Q and A::

NW: If you could teach theatre makers one thing what would it be?
d’bi: if i only had one thing to share with theatre makers it would be this: as storytellers we are accountable and responsible for the stories we tell, therefore integrity must be at the centre of ALL that we do.

NW: Is the word (emphasis on word) feminism something that young female artists should identify with?
d’bi: it may be challenging for young womben artists to identify with the word feminist because of the anti-womban backlash, misogyny and patriarchy that is so deeply woven in our communities. it might be difficult as well if young womben understand/perceive the word feminism to not be inclusive of them, for example racially or class wise. i remember when i was in university at mcgill studying feminism; the womben who we studied were predominantly white womben, and the ideas that were presented as feminist did not include the realities of my working-class mother or grandmother. but i think that we have come a long way from that. i think collectively we need to work at defining what exactly we mean by feminist so that young womben do not have to be afraid of the term. that redefinition has to be overlapping and interconnected so that it takes into account all the ways in which we are sharded like broken glass and divided. the (re) definition must attempt to make us whole again. personally i use the term wombanist because we all are nurtured by a womb before we come into this world. in celebrating that truth i am constantly celebrating and creating action in support of the liberation of wombs, womben, and all life.

NW: I understand you’re living part time in South Africa, how do you balance time between both places, especially while being a mother of two?
d’bi: i live in south africa and spend a considerable amount of time in the uk, jamaica, and toronto. in all of these places my children and i are surrounded by a community of people who co-parent us and who help to create family with and for us. these trust relationships form the basis of my ability to move around as i do and have my children right by my side. i was raised similarly by my mother. it was in these journey’s that i learnt about being a storyteller and more importantly about some of the things that are crucial in life: joy, adventure, and integrity are high on that list. it does become challenging at times. life is challenging. it is life.

NW: I’m guessing the term, ‘Masterclass’ could be problematic for someone who is very adept to the subtleties of language, how would you reframe the term?
d’bi: i choose to use the term ‘mentorclass’ instead. i am a mentor who was and continues to be mentored by the village. i was raised in jamaica and canada by artists who were connected wholeheartedly to community development through the arts. i have had the privilege of being mentored by just about every theatre company in toronto: amah harris’s theatre in the rough, ahdri zhina mandiela and b current theatre, caliban arts theatre, layne coleman and theatre passe muraille, nightwood theatre, volcano theatre, buddies in bad times theatre, iris turcott and canstage theatre, albert schultz and soulpepper theatre, and most recently richard rose and tarragon theatre. in all of these environments, i have learnt the importance of not only being mentored but mentoring as well. when i teach it reminds me of the reciprocal nature of mentorship. as one teaches, one learns. as one learns, one teaches. this is mentoring. therefore i give mentorclasses.

NW: What did you have for breakfast?
d’bi: i have not had breakfast yet :).

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Do you know what Jillian invented?

Yes, Jillian Keiley did all of that! Plus a lot more…

To name a few other Jillian highlights: her company Artistic Fraud celebrates its Sweet 16th this November, plus Tempting Providence  anyone?

She’s an amazing woman and we are very proud to have her as part of The New Groundswell Festival Masterclass Series as well as the Polyamorous Play Development Panel.

*While her new daughter Josie was napping Jillian had the chance to answer a few questions for us:

#1 essential tool for a director?

Respect for everyone else’s job.

 What did you do today?

Breastfed.  Worked on a budget and a touring schedule.

My greatest ambition is…

It used to be to choreograph a mass piece at the Olympics. That didn’t really happen for me so, now I’m not sure. I’ve always had a plan to open a full care facility for ailing performing artists. I think I will still do that.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is…

Feed the audiences imaginations by giving them just enough imagery and music to build the rest on.

Just because Halloween is still in the air, do you believe in ghosts?

Yes I do.

What sparked Kaleidography?

 When I was in university I was attempting a project on commedia dell’arte. I was having a terrible time and I had a great professor, Anatol Schlosser who told me that my problem was that I was trying to get a cast who didn’t really know each other to execute synchronicity that in real commedia, was done in families- the actors knew each other inside out.  I’d been in large choirs all my life, and thought, well I know one place that you can get the group to have great synchronicity even if they don’t know each other at all. So I wrote a score for the actors, with all the gags timed out perfectly with the actors performing a choreography of sorts – with the freedom of an actor and the precision of a musician.   When it worked, there was another application for what I’d tried, and then after that there was another and another- that’s how it kind of developed.  I’m still a bit awkward about using the word Kaleidography. It was coined because we kept having to reference it in grant applications and constantly explaining what it was, was taking too much space.  A board member suggested Kaleidography like the way a Kaleidoscope snaps an image into place when all the pieces come together.  And we were using a lot of graphs and grids then. However, a lot of people think it’s Keiley-ography which is embarrassing that people think I might have named it after myself.  I’ve just recently started calling it a version of Choral theatre so I don’t feel like such an arse.


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Gearing up for Groundswell!

Nightwood’s Literary Manager, Erica Kopyto, gets ready for The New Groundswell Festival!

*Check our website for more details

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Nightwood takes Bay Street by storm!

Nightwood staff armed with a video camera and Christine Brubaker take Bay Street by storm!

A new endeavor of Nightwood Theatre for the fall of 2011…

Introducing the Lawyer Show Masterclass with Christine Brubaker: The Art of Persuasion: Dynamic Performance On Stage and in the Court Room – Running Oct 20, 27, Nov 3, 9 from 6:30 – 9:30pm (Check the Lawyer Show Masterclass page on our website for more details). Time to get primed and prepped for the Lawyer Show 2012!

*Video note: The elevator came at just the right moment. Not planned, I swear!

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The 5 minute interview: Julie Tepperman

The incredible Julie Tepperman and Jacoba Knaapen hard at work or hardly work’n?

The 5 minute interview: Julie Tepperman, actor, playwright, educator and co-founding artistic director of Convergence Theatre tells all about Producing:

Predominantly, are you brought into projects or do you find projects?  I never actually set out to be a “producer”. The impetus for my company Convergence Theatre was actually born out of necessity:  to create work opportunities for myself as an actor, to begin playwriting (and Aaron Willis – my partner – directing), to collaborate with like-minded peers from many disciplines/backgrounds, and to create on-the-job mentorship opportunities for myself by engaging senior artists. I don’t have any desire to produce other people’s plays, though I am always happy to share ‘trade secrets’, and pass along advice that we’ve received / things we’ve learned along the way, to other artists looking to create and produce their own work.

Do you think that the jobs producers do are often times overlooked by the public?  Absolutely, yes.  Especially in the indie community where they tend to only be known within that specific community, but not to the general theatre-going public.  I feel strongly that producers’ names should be listed in show programs and on all marketing materials, just as the names of the production company, playwright, director, actors and stage manager(s) are listed.

Most rewarding part of producing is…offering people work, getting cheques in the mail, counting money, selling tickets, welcoming everyone on the first day of rehearsal, writing thank you cards/buying presents, watching the audience experience the show.

What gets you fired up as a producer (take this anyway you want, i.e. positive or negative)?  CAEA…CAEA…CAEA…

If you weren’t answering my blog questions right now, you’d be… Writing a play, memorizing a monologue, going to the gym, fundraising, cooking a healthy meal, seeing friends and family, fundraising, watching a movie, fundraising, applying for teacher’s college, plucking my eyebrows, fundraising…duh.

A phrase I use far too often is… in making a donation to _______________,  you are not only supporting us, but the livelihood of ___ Toronto theatre artists, and independent theatre in this city.”  Try hand-writing that in 50+ personalized thank you cards!   

The most surprising thing to happen to me was…having a co-producer for a project back out 6 weeks before the start of rehearsals, and fundraising (in partnership with Theatre Passe Muraille) $40,000 in 4 weeks!  People are endlessly generous.

I’m good at…making lists, crossing things off lists, putting more things on lists, dreaming of lists…

I’m very bad at…all things that involve a computer beyond e-mail and word…yes I still use word.

You know me as a theatre artist but in another life I’d have been…if I knew I’d seriously consider doing it.

In a nutshell my philosophy is…don’t be an asshole, try not to surround yourself with assholes, remember that most assholeness comes from a place of fear, listen more/talk less, as a general rule, and especially when being yelled at by an asshole, treat others (especially assholes) how you would want to be treated, try your best not to gossip (especially to assholes about other assholes), if all else fails, give the asshole a hug and tell them you love them.

*Ok, ok, maybe it was more like a 10 minute interview… regardless, if you’ve ever wanted to know what it takes to be a producer DON’T MISS Julie and Jacoba’s incredible Masterclass: Go Ahead! Produce it Yourself (October 5-6). Click here for more details and to register (psst. It’s there, scroll down the website page)!

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What’s in your toolkit?

Remember all of that good stuff I promised you…

May I introduce to you, Nightwood Blog readers, to Liesl Tommy. Director extraordinaire. Just in case you don’t know her, here are a few quick facts:

-Her productions have won numerous awards for directing, acting, and design.

-She is a native of Cape Town, South Africa who lives and works in New York City

-She’s in Toronto RIGHT NOW for two pretty amazing reasons:

  1. In association with Nightwood she’s leading a masterclass called The Director’s Toolkit, this October 1st and 2nd. It’s a two day crash course in the essentials for any up and coming director. For more info click here
  2. She’s remounting the play Peggy Pickets Sees the Face of God by Roland Schimmelpfennig, a Volcano Theatre production that was part of Another Africa (previously presented in last year’s Luminato Festival). It went so well last year that Canadian Stage is remounting it later this month! It opens on the 29th of September.

-Last quick fact: She’s awesome.

How do I know? I had the pleasure of sitting down with Liesl to chat about theatre, directing, canadian actors and what’s in her toolkit (among other things)…Example of other things: Liesl’s favourite curse word. What is it? Let’s just say it starts with another word for ‘rooster’ and ends with sucker…
  • Check it out:

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