Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Experiments in Human Technology
My directing work focuses mostly on story and formal performance. After directing small, medium and large text-based projects I wanted to try something different. I did a three person version of Aesop’s Fables a few years before, and with this project I wanted to take what I learned and work on a larger canvas. At the time, our faculty was changing and we were launching what is now the School for Creative and Performing Arts. The school brings together Dance, Drama and Music, so I proposed this show as an inaugural piece for the school’s first year. Working with composer Alan Gordon Bell and choreographers Melissa Monteros and Wojciech Mochniej, we built a cast of four actors, four musicians and four dancers and set about exploring 18 of Aesop’s fables. I chose the number based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey cycle, but beyond that frame we did not embed a traditional through line for the show. With design supervised by April Viczko we built a show that really tested the boundaries of our disciplinary approaches. It was a richly rewarding experience, that took me well outside my comfort zone. To ground the work, I placed Riah Fielding-Walters at the centre of the story. Riah was one of our leading acting students at the time, but she also had formal ballet training and is a lover of cosplay, anime, manga and other forms that gave her the type of depth to lead a show. All of our performers were on stage most of the time, but it was Riah’s character that we followed through the eighteen steps of the journey. The show was well received, but audiences expressed a desire for more help following the story, which I resisted for this piece, but is in keeping with belief in the importance of story and formal approaches that support audience engagement.