I mentioned last week that Carbon is showing this week in Toronto. I got the chance to ask some of people involved some of my favourite questions to ask about Toronto and theatre. Here’s what some of them had to say:

 

Luke Reece- Artistic Director/Performer:
How did you get involved with Carbon?
I decided to produce this show early in 2014, just over two years ago now. I was still finding my way into the poetry scene, and doing a lot of independent theatre producing. This show seemed like the next step, and it’s been exciting to see what it has now grown into.

What excites you most about this show?
The fact that everyone’s stories are authentic. You are hearing the words come out of the person who wrote them, and I think that’s something special.

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
The audiences that are going out to poetry performances and theatre are starting to grow…slowly, but surely. Every time I have an opportunity to perform for new people in Toronto it’s a chance to continue this growth. It’s a chance for us to feed their soul with our art. I want to give them a taste of my work, and I want them to like it, so they’ll continue to see more shows in the city.

Cass Brennan – One of the Poets/Performers:
How did you get involved with Carbon?
My involvement with Carbon dates back to 2014 when I was assistant directing a show called Slammed at York University’s playground festival. After that show, our group of poets expanded to produce Carbon Copies with Little Black Afro Theatre Company. Carbon then resulted after thinking there was still more to explore with this group of artists.

What excites you most about this show?
The fact that even we as performers have no idea how the show will progress each night, is so exciting to me! There is no prepared, all encompassing emotional arc that we can bring the audience along with us on throughout the show- instead we as artists must work diligently to convey the story and feeling of each poem individually. This requires a lot of excitement and energy from both the cast and the audience who chooses the progression of the show!

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
I love the diversity of experience that exists in Toronto. Every few days I hear about the birth of a new theatre company  with a new group of artists and am given more fuel to keep creating theatre.  The theatre community in Toronto is one that is willing to explore, to get messy, to fail, to blend mediums… And I feel honoured to be a part of that.

Jordan Laffrenier – Director:
What excites you most about this show?
What excites me most about this show is the risk involved. Jordan Tanahill in his book Theatre of the Unimpressed argues, “risk and failure [are] preconditions of a transformative live event.” We can not “fail better” as artists if we do not take risks. I understand, the nature of young artists: not seeing plays and then debating about ‘how theatre needs to change.” We are not doing this. We are playing with, but building on, ideas that have been done before. We are examining questions like: what happens when the neo-futurist aesthetic (using people who do not primarily identify as performers, having them play themselves, no set linear structure) meets slam poetry?

What do you love most about performing in Toronto?
The aspect I love most about directing in Toronto is the amount of support. We have an amazing community here in Toronto and experienced directors are accessible. I recall a conversation I had sitting in the basement of the Obsidian office across from Philip Akin. He talked about the importance of building young artists on the shoulders of season artists, that when he was young he did not have many theatre artists that he could look to for support, certainly none that “looked like him” (and were black). I am lucky, because of artists like him, there is a support system in Toronto. And I hope to continue that support.

I love asking people how they get involved in these awesome productions and projects going on in the city and because I’m such a Toronto nerd, I love hearing what others love about this city.

Carbon starts Wednesday, March 16th at the Aki Studio Theatre and runs until the 19th, tickets are available here, starting at $16.

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