Wednesday, February 20, 2013

First-Person: David di Giovanni on MAP-Project

The MAP-Project
Where have we been?
by David di Giovanni

We’ve taken a break.  We had a hiatus.  And during this time, December and January, I hadn’t been to one performance, read any reviews, nor thought much about theatre, and, I’m telling you, it’s been liberating.  

Before last week, the last time I was in a theatre was watching our remount of Play it Again, Phaedra in the first week of December.  And after three months of working and reworking this one piece, we decided to go against our original plan this season to mount three shows.  Instead, we decided that two was much more manageable. For four people to keep their day jobs, and commit to creating an original work by night, whilst keeping the Facebook Fan pulse pumping, hibernation makes sense.  Rest makes so much sense.  

Three plays in one year began to feel like a massive undertaking.

Last season we produced one show a month.  And at the beginning of this season, we said, three!  Three is a good number!  Just enough!  Pump ‘em out!  Relevance feels like the crux of all decision-making sometimes.

Andre Gregory, the American theatre director, talks about a rehearsal model where everyone works during the year, saves up enough, and takes off the summer, wherein the cast devotes their full attention to working one piece.  This process takes place over years, revisiting the same play, again and again.   This, to me, sounds delicious. Three plays in one year began to feel like a massive undertaking.  

And after two months of not giving theatre a thought, last week, I saw two performances.  I saw Still Standing You at Theatre LaChapelle (a theatre I think is curating some of the most interesting work I’ve seen in Montreal), and I went to an alt-drag night called Cabaret COCHONNE at the still standing Cafe Cleopatre in Montreal’s old red light district.  I was laughing!  I was in the middle of a group of people who all decided to venture out of their caves in the frigid winter to watch this thing.  The first piece was moving, the second night delightful.   I am also back in the rehearsal room.  I’m in love again! MAP Project is waking, and have just begun planting the seeds of our new show to be mounted at the beginning of May.  

I met an actor from Portugal last month.  He asked me what I do.  I said, I’m a director.  He said, I’m an actor.  And then I quickly slipped in, “well, I don’t support myself this way, but...” and he laughed and said, “Oh me neither.  Who can?”  Though the situation of arts funding sounds pretty bleak in most places, people do, obviously support themselves.  But at this stage in my career, we make enough to cover our costs, but not enough to devote our working week to creating our pieces.  That’s fine.  That’s the reality.  I'll keep myself precious in the meantime, rest when I need rest, and create when I need to create.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Please read our guidelines for posting comments.