The Secret World of the Rehearsal Hall

Being invited into the secret world of the rehearsal hall fills me with a sense of great privilege and responsibility. It’s a place where artists are laid bare, exposed and vulnerable. You become part of a living, breathing organism in which your mere presence – each breath, each blink of the eye, even the twitch of a finger – add to the collective performance. Once you have experienced this you realize the important role of audience in theatre.

Last Friday I was invited into the rehearsal of “Seasons of Immigration” at the Multicultural Theatre Space studio in Kitchener. The troupe was rehearsing the 5th anniversary remount of the show in preparation for a three city tour.

Seasons is an original physical theatre piece that weaves dance, movement and text together with a recorded and live music soundtrack. Directed by MT Space Artist Director, Majdi Bou-Matar it is based on the personal stories of immigrants as they carve out a new life in Canada.

Five years ago I made the still photos for the original production and happened to have a copy of the original recorded soundtrack. I’ve combined them in this multimedia story to capture the narrative of Season of Immigration.

The show starts its tour at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener, Ontario with performances April 6 and 7, 8 p.m. It then moves to the St. John’s Imperial Theatre in St. John’s New Brunswick, April 9; The Playhouse in Fredericton New Brunswick, April 10 and wraps up at Galt Collegiate Institute on April 15.

Something about Catherine Paleczny

Catherine Paleczny hanging “Fin” at the Burlington Arts Centre. Click on the image to get insider view of hanging her show – Pars Pro Toto: A Sundry Ceramic Installations.

There is something other-worldly about Catherine Paleczny’s work. The organic shapes belie the underlying ceramic structures – whether arranged on the floor or mounted on the wall they beckon you.

When I was invited by Lauren Judge, founder of the Maven Project to photograph Catherine hanging her current show at the Burlington Arts Centre, my journalist’s instinct kicked in. The opportunity to poke ones lens into other people’s business is not to be missed. Outside of the obvious value and need for the project, having the chance work up close with an artist is the main reason I volunteered to work on the Maven Project.

Lauren conceived Maven as an “an online initiative to begin a cultural archive of Waterloo Region’s artists. By creating audio and visual records of artists’ creative processes, supported by interviews, photo essays and written articles about each artist, MAVEN provides a learning tool for communities.” You can read more about it on the project website.

As I was putting this slideshow together, I was listening to a recording of a recent live show my son Nick Storring performed at Gallery 1313 in Toronto. The music had an other-worldly vibe that resonated with the work that Catherine was hanging. Also Nick’s live performances are truly live – the music is composed on the spot using cello, laptop computer and usually an array of other instruments. This improvisation – this outpouring of an artist’s accumulated experience – is reflected in the mounting of an exhibition.

The music enhances my sense of swimming underwater that Catherine’s work evokes in me – one of the pieces in the show is appropriately called “Fin”. For me, it made great sense to bring the two elements together in the slideshow.

I’m looking forward to more Maven assignments.

Resource Notes:
  • While the embedded YouTube video is decent, the Vimeo version is better.
  • For the best viewing experience watch the Vimeo version in full screen and headphones or decent speakers – pipsqueak laptop speakers just don’t cut it.
  • Unfortunately only allows you to embed YouTube or Goggle video.