THEATRE: Brock University, St. Catharines, On (1985-2014)
My contract as a professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University required/allowed me to direct one Mainstage Production a year, and given my background in movement-image theatre, these provided an opportunity to do experimental work with: talented and enthusiastic students; wonderful invited designers; Brock Centre for the Arts lighting designer, Ken Garrett, and SM & props ‘advisor’, Allan Titley; and Theatre Department tech staff. Below is a list of the productions and some extra details:
Plays directed at Brock University: (theatre directing as creative research)
2001 WOYZECK by Georg Buchner. A “found-space” Major Production held in Pond Inlet, Brock University—just weeks after 9/11. (Designer David Rayfield & I had originally designed production as a ‘hostage taking’, with audience as hostages…we had to abruptly alter our vision).
2000 THE HEDDA II PROJECT, an image-movement adaptation of the play HEDDA GABLER, by Henrik Ibsen. My theatre colleague, Peter Feldman, directed the full text play the following term. I saw Hedda as always moving between 3 distinct emotional states/responses, so “Hedda” was performed by 3 actors working together at all times (each with different reactions; lines were divided up; occasionally all 3 were in unison). My friend, prof and Jungian therapist, Katya Davison, offered invaluable aid in my interpretation. Walls were one-person moveable flats, permitting stage crew to create a physical parallel to the Hedda’s sense of her claustrophobic existence. Designer: Karyn McCallum.
1999 INUK AND THE SUN, by Henry Beissel. Some characters were ‘common object’ puppets (e.g. a group of seals were silver oven mitts); a lot of ‘white pantomime’ and movement chorus work involved…(e.g. sunrise was created by a chorus who ‘fanned out arms and bodies”).
1998 BLOOD RELATIONS, an image-movement adaptation by Sharon Pollock (who attended the opening night). My theatre colleague, Peter Feldman, directed the full text play the following term.
1997 STAGE DREAMS & NIGHTMARES, based on a series of short comedic monologues. Designer: Karyn McCallum.
1996 ON THE EDGE. Co-directed with Robin Patterson of Brock University's Resident Theatre Company, THEATRE BEYOND WORDS.
1995 THE INSECT PLAY by Karl and Josef Capek. This production involved collaboration with Stephen Johnston, McMaster University, who provided the modern translation of the play & who had directed his version, with ‘people as insects’. My version had ‘insects as people’ (acrobatic and ‘walking pyramid-ish’…a bit ‘Pilobulus’ dance). Designer: David Rayfield.
1994 CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS, by Farid Attar; adapted by Peter Brook and J.C. Carriere. (see excerpt video. Designer David Rayfield‘s set was a giant birdcage (with ‘bars’ that moved & a mile of draped-cloth ‘mountains’). David designed light rattan helmet-masks that actors could wear or remove to use as hand- or rod-controlled puppets.
1993 ANTIGONE by Jean Cocteau. Designer: David Rayfield…again, wonderful use of draped cloth for costumes & set.
1992 THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE by Bertolt Brecht.
1991 PEER GYNT by Henrik Ibsen. A series of blizzards reduced us to having only 3 performances.
1990 INSIDE OUT, based on the poem The Four Little Girls by Pablo Picasso and short writings by Leila Lustig. Designer Ruth Howard’s set involved a 10-foot doll whose head, facial features and limbs were detachable.
1989 MARRIAGE à LA MOLIÈRE, three one-act plays by Molière on the subject of marriage.
1988 TORONTOPOLIS, a movement-image performance, loosely based on the play Woyzeck, by Georg Buchner. Design involved a ‘fashion runway’ and huge streams of elastic ‘sunbeams’ (see video). Designer: Reg Bronskill.
1987 THE SORROWFUL CANADIANS, based on the number-grid poem of the same name, by Canadian poet Wilfred Watson. We used white long johns, tuques & pasty white make-up. ‘Set’ was created by actors using gigantic rolls of paper donated by local paper mills (see excerpt video); hand programs & final image ‘snowstorm’ were in the form of paper “cootie catchers.”
1986 WHO IS WILFRED WATSON? based on the "number grid" poetry of Canadian poet Wilfred Watson.
1985 HANDCUFFS, one of a trilogy of plays on the Irish-Canadian family, the Donnelly's, by Canadian poet/dramatist James Reaney.
OTHER Theatre Productions at Brock:
IRIS' TOURS: PITFALLS, POTHOLES & CHUTZPAH A theatrical version of author Aubry Bissett's catastrophic car accident and ensuing journey to regain her life with late-discovered ABI (acquired brain injury). I co-directed with Christina MacNaughton--a 3-year rehearsal project. Excerpts presented as a ‘paper’ at the 2004 IDEA (International Drama in Education) Conference, Ottawa, ON and at several Canadian ABI events.
ICARUS' MOTHER and FOURTEEN HUNDRED THOUSAND by Sam Shepard. These two one-act plays were fourth year honours THEA 4F56 productions.
FEFU AND HER FRIENDS by Maria Ines Fornes. A fourth-year honours THEA 4F56 full length production, held throughout the Roselawn Complex, Port Colborne. Audience was divided up and rotated between rooms…each room with a different scene playing (over and over).
AMERICAN BUFFALO by David Mamet for Theatre Parnassus, a theatre group based in the Niagara area. (Parnassus’ Artistic Directors were Christine Boyko-Head and Jennifer Benson).
SCROOGE REVISITED. Brock University. THEA 4F56, a 4th year Honours presentation. I supervised this performance piece based on Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This was also presented in Fort Erie for their official Christmas Celebrations.