Articles tagged with: David Vivian

  • Meaningful Movements Reshape: Come to the Edge at Brock University and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

    (From: The Sound, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 | by Kerry Duncan)

    Being invited into a space not built by you, or for you, offers the inherent need for trust and vulnerability. When audiences entered into the Come to the Edge Cafe on August 24/25 at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, audience members were transported to a land of imagination built by, and for, wheelchair users with Cerebral Palsy (CP). This evolving storyscape replaced the traditional confines of theatre with an unlimited creation of shape and space, prioritizing the communication options for performers and participants with CP. The team working on this production aimed to foster an empathetic and reflective space for participants to sit in a potential level of unknown, discomfort, and to ultimately trust that they could not necessarily know the answers to questions like ‘Where are we? What’s it like to not know exactly what’s happening around you? What’s it like when you have to re-evaluate the things that don’t exactly apply?’.

    Come to the Edge is a collaborative development of immersive theatre, creating a new understanding of performance through dance, play, and improvisation. The central performance elements built by and for the Imagining Possibilities Leadership Team, made up of automatic and manual wheelchair users with CP. The group has been working with St. Catharines based creative collaborators from the March of Dimes Canada and the Brain Injury Community PET (Personal Effectiveness Training) Re-Entry Program to welcome audiences to trust in the idea that ‘not knowing’ is an opportunity for learning and empathy. The performances are supported by facilitators Jenny Jimenez and Stephen Sillett from Toronto-based organization, Aiding Dramatic Change in Development (ADCID), as well as a much broader team of musicians, artists, and support workers.

    With a long-standing history in St. Catharines, the ADCID has been working with the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine & Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) since 2016 with the first iteration of Imagining Possibilities, the precursor to Come to the Edge. As a facility that was built under the universal standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) for inclusive physically spaces, this began a longstanding partnership for reshaping how St. Catharines builds and understands performance theatre. Professor David Vivian, Director of the MIWSFPA and an ongoing collaborator with ADCID explained that “Inviting the lead artistic team to join us and local artists in our first spring season at the MIWSFPA theatre was one of the highlights of our inaugural year in 2015-16. Come to the Edge is a long term project that has continued to develop over the years and bring together artists in a number of Ontario communities”.

    The development of the show over the past several years has taken this community and discussions about it global with performances and workshops in Toronto, Belgium, Prague, Hamilton and St. Catharines. Connecting with the Imaging Possibilities Movement through the Engaging Possibilities project at Brock University in 2015, Kris Daunoravicius has been involved with the growth and evolution of this project ever since. A local to St. Catharines and core member of the Leadership Team, Daunoravicus travelled with the ADCID team to Belgium in 2017 for a week of Envisioned Scenography workshops for the disability-focused Huize Eyckerheyde Residence. In speaking with Daunoravicus and Elaine Drover, another member of the Leadership Team, both utilized a range of augmented technology, body movement, facial expressions, and sound to showcase the range of experiences and stories that were being brought into the creative process during the years of work it took to create the latest version of this production.

    In speaking with Come to the Edge performer and ADCID collaborator, Frank Hull and long-time Leadership Team member Laura Leskur, they shared how the creation of this show was rooted in growing one another’s understandings of the other performers, and building a movement vocabulary unique to each performer and each moment of interaction. With a long-term career as a professional wheelchair dancer, Hull spoke to the multiple layers of relationality and equity between those involved in the show, “there has to be those moments where we are becoming equal together, regardless of how my ability may be different from Laura’s. But if we are moving together, we need to find a way to move together and not overpower one another”.

    As a verbal CP performer, he explained that “my world is very instant when I communicate. What I’m learning with this group is I’m facing my own ableism. It got me thinking about how from my role I have not been patient enough, not just with this group”. He elaborated on his reflections of needing to be more cognizant of not finishing other people’s sentences, but instead, learned to give people time to communicate within their abilities in order to share and explain their perspectives on the situation. Utilizing her bespoke communication board system*, Leskur also elaborated on these points, highlighting the necessity for patience as to “not miss the magical moments” and the necessity of utilizing body movements and the range of abilities in each performers arms and legs to construct meaningful exchanges.

    In discussing the necessity of moving towards an inclusive way of facilitating theatre for the performers, Sillett explained that “we created the processes with the community of those who are non-verbal in mind. There’s a lot of routes we could take which would be much easier to get an impact in the short-term, but it wasn’t our aim to go there. Our aim was to try and work honouring the deep engagement. The idea of re-establishing the relationship between the audience, and what their journey is going to be, the community making it”. Hull asserted that his role in adding the movement and dance elements to the show has been “a dream come true to work with manual and power wheelchairs to create movement together,” emphasizing the liberation of spaces focused on the lived experiences of the team rather than a more traditional methodology of prioritizing the audience.

    In reflecting on his work with the Imagining Possibilities Movement, Vivian explained how “my specific interests in working with the company lie in aspects of accessibility, universal design and the development process of improvisational, immersive performance spaces under very specific conditions. It has been a very humbling learning experience that we will adapt for my university course development and professional practice”. Breaking from the expected traditions of theatre development, the broad range of creative in communities in St. Catharines can take the fundamental ideas of change to expand who is in the audience, who is on stage, and how can we expand the experiences and interactions between these world.

    *Laura Leskur’s communication board is a bespoke system created at Bloorview and extended over the years. Laura has now memorized 1000 words with corresponding numbers. Elaine Drover and and Christine Jimenez have experience using Blissymbols to communicate. Blissymbolics is a semantic graphical language that is currently composed of more than 5000 authorized symbols – Bliss-characters and Bliss-words. It is a generative language that allows its users to create new Bliss-words as needed. It is used by individuals with severe speech and physical impairments around the world, but also by others for language learning and support, or just for the fascination and joy of this unique language representation. Elaine and Christine are both on the Board for Bliss Communication Institute Canada. See blissymbolics.org for more information.

    [The creators and producers of Come to the Edge wish to thank the Department of Dramatic Arts of the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University, for the generosity of their support by providing rehearsal space and technical support in the studios and the MIW Theatre through July and August 2019.

    The article was edited and amended for accuracy and reprinted with permission.]

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    Categories: Events, Faculty & Instructors, In the Media, News, Plays, Uncategorised

  • Dramatic Arts welcomes the new Foster Festival to St. Catharines

    foster_festival_launch_220The Department of Dramatic Arts is excited to be part of the new Foster Festival and their inaugural 2016 season at the new FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario.  Celebrated Canadian playwright Norm Foster recently joined festival executive director Emily Oriold and artistic director Patricia Vanstone (see photo, at left) for the launch of the festival – which is the first in Canada to celebrate the work of a living playwright.

    Mike Zettel recently wrote about the festival launch in Niagara This Week:

    Vanstone said one of the first partnerships they formed was with Brock’s dramatic arts department, which will be housed in the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts right behind the performing arts centre. The Foster Festival will have access to a state-of-the-art production facility and will offer summer employment and educational opportunities to the department’s brightest and best current and graduating students, giving them their first crucial work experience in a professional environment.

    “It’s a tremendous partnership,” Vanstone said, adding it’s an example of welcoming atmosphere across the city and the willingness of groups to band together for a common cause. “This is a community that understands a great work ethic and the ability to pull together.”

    Professors Gyllian Raby and David Vivian (Chair) were present for the launch along with Alesia Dane (Coop Programs) and Jana Boniferro (Development and Communications Officer for the Faculty of Humanities) from Brock University and Sara Palmieri and Steve Solski of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, among others.  To read about the launch see the articles in Niagara This Week and the St. Catharines Standard and visit the Festival website.

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    Categories: Announcements, News

  • RUR: Rise of the Robot God

    We are dedicating this final production in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre to the memory of our late poet, Terrance Cox, who passed in the evening of January 16, 2015. Please see this post for more information.

    Directed by David Fancy
    Set Design & Costume Design by David Vivian
    Lighting Design by Jennifer Jimenez
    Music by Steve Chan

    An updated version of Karel Capek’s 1930s classic robot play.

    The past and future of artificial life, complete with phasers and show tunes!

    Show dates/times: February 12, 13, and 14, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
    Matinee performance: February 13 at 11:30 a.m.

    purchase tickets here

    social media: rurrobotrising.tumblr.com
    on twitter: #rurrobotrising

    Performed in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre, Brock University

    Karel Capek invented the word ‘robot’ in 1920s Czechoslovakia and the world has never been the same since. Our updated version of this Marxist robot melodrama features lots of bots and borgs, an apocalyptic vision of the future, and, of course, a theremin. Come witness the robot apocalypse!

    In Rossum’s Universal Robots (1920), Karel Capek invites us into an uncertain future in which the world is overrun by mass-produced robots. Although their makers hoped these machines would free human beings from the bondage of labour, instead, the robots mimic their makers and resort to war against all humans. This play is a precursor to so much subsequent science fiction dealing with artificial intelligence—from Star Trek to Terminator, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Her. Like these later stories, the play deals with the anxieties of creating artificial life-forms, the awe in the face of robot power and possibility, and the fear of the end of human life on the planet.

    In the play, Rossum’s robot factory is visited by President Glory’s daughter Helena, a robot emancipationist. She attempts to convince the other humans working at the plant that the robots deserve their own freedom. Instead, she never leaves the factory, marries into the Rossum clan, and is present when the robot genocide of humans takes place. The final humans on the planet struggle to understand what has gone wrong. At a time of increasing technologization of labour and the becoming-digital of many people’s daily lives in the Economic North, this production offers an opportunity to imagine different futures beyond the ‘mechanization of everything.’

    Teachers and faculty should read this letter about group bookings and discounts.

    A Primer for Robot Audiences is available for review, prepared by Lead robot author, Andrew Godin: download to print a copy. (PDF, 4.8 MB)

    purchase tickets here


    Media

    See the video below to learn more about the show!

    see the article in Niagara This Week!
    see the article in Niagara This Week!

     

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    Categories: Events, Plays

  • Lion in the Streets

    Written by Judith Thompson

    Directed by Danielle Wilson
    Designed by David Vivian

    Lion in the Streets is a beautiful nightmare.
    – Danielle Wilson, director

    February 16, 2012 – 7:30 pm
    February 17, 2012 – matinee 11:30 am AND 7:30 pm
    February 18, 2012 – 7:30 pm

    Adult $15 : Students/Seniors $12 : eyeGO $5 : Group Rates $10
    Buy tickets at arts.brocku.ca

    All DART Students receive ONE free ticket.

    Lion in the Streets is a play in which the obsessions of the characters erupt forth in heightened, surreal and imagistic language. The young protagonist, a Portuguese immigrant to Toronto named Isobel, is a ghost in a purgatorial condition. She deftly moves in and out of critical, extreme moments in each of the characters lives while searching for the man who killed her seventeen years prior. Twentieth century music underscores the critical moments in these characters’ lives animated with contemporary movement inspired by dance company La La La Human Steps. This unique mixture complements and elucidates surreal moments while revealing Thompson’s brilliant, sparkling humor. The production embodies our contemporary quest for faith, truth, and a ‘state of grace’ while contending with the absurdity of daily life.

    Lion in the Streets is written by award-winning Canadian Playwright Judith Thompson.  Premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in 1990 the play won the Chalmers Outstanding New Play Award in 1991. Thompson’s plays embrace subconscious elements of human experience not often seen on stage, capturing audience’s attention across the country. Canadian theatre companies regularly perform her work, such as Soulpepper’s 2011 production of White Biting Dog at the Young Center in Toronto.Lion in the Streets continues to be one of Thompson’s most known and most popular plays. High School students will be confronted with daring subject matter which could provide context and relevance to their lives. The play explores themes of repressed violence and sexuality, the search for identity and the powerful nature of love and forgiveness.  While the subject matter is dark, Thompson has crafted this exquisitely surreal play with moments of humor, hope and redemption or what she calls “moments of grace”.

    Contemporary movement will be choreographed by Gerald Trentham, Artistic Director of Toronto’s Pounds Per Square Inch Performance company. Our production will showcase 8 second to fourth year Brock students, playing a total of 29 roles, with additional assistance from students studying the areas of production, stagecraft, design and directing.

    With this production both Director Danielle Wilson and scenographer David Vivian look forward to honoring the wit and intelligence of our departed colleague, Dr Marlene Moser, a leading scholar of the oeuvre of Judith Thompson. Moser’s published thesis entitled “Postmodern Feminist Readings of Identity in selected works of Judith Thompson, Margaret Hollingsworth and Patricia Gruben” (Ph.D. Thesis, 1998. Graduate Center for Study of Drama University of Toronto) and the article “Identities of Ambivalence: Judith Thompson’s Perfect Pie” (Theatre Research in Canada, Volume 27 Number 1/ Spring 2006), explore themes of gender, narrative, identification of the subject and patriarchal abuse, dwelling upon their relationship to the stage, the language and how the audience will perceive them.

    High School Teachers and Educators: please read this letter for detailed information about the production, curriculum ties, and student matinee booking.

     

    Lion in the Streets: A Study Guide, is an introduction to our production, prepared by our Dramaturge and Third Year DART student, Erica Charles. Included are: 1) Collaboration, 2) Play Synopsis, 3) The Playwright: Judith Thompson, 4) Director’s Notes, 5) Designer’s Notes, 6) Isobel and her Lion, 7) Symbolism, 8) Images, 9) An Interview with Judith Thompson by Eleanor Wachtel, 10) Additional References, 11) List of Figures, 12) Endnotes and Bibliography.

    Download your PDF copy of Lion in the Streets: A Study Guide
    (PDF, 8.7 MB, remotely hosted)

    Download a copy of the poster (PDF, 1 MB)
    Download a copy of the poster (PDF, 1 MB)

    Buy tickets at arts.brocku.ca


    Press:

    “Dramatic Arts play explores the death of a young girl” – see the article in The Brock News


    Photos:

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    Categories: Events, Plays

  • Director of cSTAC and DART Professor honoured for his contribution to the City of St. Catharines

    Pictured left to right are Professor Debra Maclauchlan and Associate Professor Peter Vietgen (Faculty of Education), Associate Professor David Vivian and Assistant Professor Virginia Reh (Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Humanities)

    Pictured left to right are Professor Debra Maclauchlan and Associate Professor Peter Vietgen (Faculty of Education), Associate Professor David Vivian and Assistant Professor Virginia Reh (Department of Dramatic Arts, Faculty of Humanities)

    Associate Professors Peter Vietgen (Visual Arts Education in the Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education) and David Vivian (Department of Dramatic Arts and the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Faculty of Humanities) were each presented with three Volunteer Recognition Certificates from the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of St. Catharines, at the 23rd Annual Volunteer Recognition Night co-sponsored by the City of St. Catharines, the St. Catharines-Thorold Chamber of Commerce, and the Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery.

    Professor Vietgen was nominated by the Niagara Artist’s Centre for his contribution to the Public Art Advisory Committee of the City of St. Catharines. Professor Vivian was nominated for his service over four years as Chair of the Culture Committee of the City of St. Catharines.  Both Committees of Council are actively engaged in developing new policy, advocacy, funding, recognition and opportunities in the arts and culture sector, contributing to the creation of stimulating and sustainable culturally-rich lives in the city of St. Catharines.

    Given annually, the Volunteer Recognition Awards recognize those outstanding volunteers whose unselfish and dedicated service to an organization has made a significant difference in the community. Nominations are open to youth and adult volunteers, who are presented with their awards at a banquet hosted by the Mayor and councillors in April. This year the banquet was held at the Quality Hotel Parkway Convention Centre on Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Dramatic Arts performance of Phèdre examines passion, politics and jealousy

    (Source: The Brock News, Monday, February 14, 2011)

    Suppressed desire and ancient power struggles collide in this week’s production of Phèdre at Brock.

    Phèdre, written by Jean Racine, will be presented by the Department of Dramatic Arts at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. Phèdre – translated into English by British poet Ted Hughes – mixes poetry, political intrigue and sexual jealousy.

    The play contains a principal love triangle of Phèdre, her husband Theseus and his son Hippolytus. Phèdre has a forbidden passion for her stepson that unleashes a wave of tragic consequences.

    The roles are played by Dramatic Arts undergraduate students, including Kasey Dunn, Michael Pearson, Eric Frank, Emma Bulpin, Lauren Beaton, Josh Davidson, Kedie McIntyre, and Madison Roca. The play is directed by Virginia Reh and designed by David Vivian, both Dramatic Arts faculty members.

    The myths around Theseus, Phaedra and Hippolytus have fascinated playwrights for ages, Reh said.

    “Racine’s masterpiece distils the best of his major sources, particularly Euripides’ Hippolytus,” she said. “From Euripides he borrows the fundamentally principled Phaedra, an essentially moral woman who is tormented by a forbidden passion and chooses to die rather than surrender to it. The tragedy is at once epic and domestic.“

    Performances:

    • Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.
    • Friday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m.

    Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. To order, call 905-688-5550 x3257 or email boxoffice@brocku.ca

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    Categories: In the Media, News

  • Earp Dance at Brock Nuit Blanche 2010

    earpresidenceFor those of you unable to attend Nuit Blanche Brock this year, check out the short video above to see dancers Shannon Perugino and Jessica Goncalves of the Department of Dramatic Arts perform on the beautifully lit top floor of Earp Student Residence at Brock University.   The original piece was performed every half hour from 6pm to midnight on the chilly night of December 3, 2010, to audiences outside on the street below as part of Nuit Blanche Brock 2010. 

    Performed by Dramatic Arts students Jessica Goncalves and Shannon Perugino; Sound Op: Matthew Viviano; Tech and Design Support: Doug Ledingham and David Vivian; Conceived by Natalie Alvarez. Choreography by Jessica Goncalves, Shannon Perugino and Natalie Alvarez.

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    Categories: Events

  • Musical theatre takes centre stage

    virginiareh

    Assistant Professor Virginia Reh in the DART Props Shop

    Canadian musical theatre is a little like Canadian film and Canadian writing. It takes place in our own backyard, but our brightest stars are often hidden from public consciousness.

    Virginia Reh is on a mission to change that.

    An assistant professor of Dramatic Arts, Reh is the driving force behind an upcoming conference called Lyric CANADA 2010 from Oct. 21 to 23. David Vivian, associate professor and director of the Centre for Studies in Arts and Culture, is also an organizer.

    With the conference, Reh hopes to push Canadian musicals and opera into the minds of academics and the general public. That way, she said, more people will write about it. More people will study it. And most importantly, more people will know that it exists. (See the full article here.)

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Spring & Summer News 2010

    DART faculty presented at the recent CATR (Canadian Association for Theatre Research) conference (part of the SSHRC Congress, or “Learneds”) at Concordia University in Montreal (May 2010).


    PSi16 Performing Publics was held in Toronto June 9-13. Professor Natalie Alvarez and graduate Victoria Mountain of DART were on the Program Commitee.


    The IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) 2010 World Congress Cultures of Modernity occurred in July in Munich, Germany. DART Professors David Fancy and David Vivian were both part of the conference program. See the official website for information.

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    Categories: Faculty & Instructors, News

  • A Little Night Music

    Music and Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM
    Book by HUGH WHEELER
    Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman

    Director: Virginia Reh
    Scenographer: David Vivian

    Three households, three generations, twisted love triangles, upstairs/downstairs come together for “A Weekend in the Country”. Tangled romance and passion in the relentless daylight of the northern midsummer night, all in 3/4 waltz time. The musical, probably best known for the song “Send in the Clowns”, is based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night, which was set in turn-of-the-20th century Sweden. A fresh young approach from major collaboration between the Departments of Dramatic Arts and Music. A whirl of intoxicating music, dance and witty lyrics.

    Performance 1 (Opening): Thursday Nov. 12th, 7:30 pm
    Performance 2: Friday November 13th, 1:30 pm (group and student Matinee) ***new time/ new price!***
    Performance 3: Friday November 13th, 7:30 pm
    Performance 4: (Closing): Saturday November 14th, 7:30 pm

    Educators and Counsellors:
    A Little Night Music: A Primer is an introduction to our production, written by our Director, Virginia Reh
    Download your PDF of A Little Night Music: A Primer.

    To prepare this gem of lyric theatre the director and company of actors and singers recently took their questions right to the source. Using a video conference link-up from the famed Friars Club in Manhattan, the Canadian actor and director Len Cariou answered our students probing questions about the development of A Little Night Music for the 1973 Broadway premiere.

    Photos:

    Video:

    A Little Night Music - BrockTV screenshotClick on the screenshot to the left to watch a video about our production, including an interview with DART actors Becca Pleschke and Jordan Imray, and with the Director and DART Professor, Virgina Reh (produced by BrockTV). (NOTE: link currently broken. We are tracking down the original video.)

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    Categories: Events, Plays