1. Where did the idea for the show come from?
The idea for the show came about after I read Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman's short story about her experience travelling to Africa, getting bitten by a mosquito and becoming infected with malaria. I have been interested in creating theatre that merges with dance, and trying to tell stories in a physical way, and the images from the short story jumped off the page.
2. What was it about Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman's short story that made you want to choreograph a performance about it?
I had a vision of the mosquitos and thought it would be interesting to try to create a military of mosquitos on a solitary mission to infect the girl in the story. So, this "greek chorus" of mosquitos escorts the main character through her story, playing various roles in this wild tale, including the robotic stewardesses on the plane, the propellors, the military of infected mosquitos, and even the nightmarish chickens having their heads cut off outside her hospital room window!
3. From conception through to the end of rehearsals, how long did the project take to conceive? What obstacles, if any, did you encounter along the way?
I started to choreograph sections of this in 2009 with my students in the dance program at George Brown College. Then Charlotte, Trish Fagan and myself did a 3 day workshop at The Canadian Stage Company's Festival of Ideas and Creation. But most of MALARIA LULLABY was created especially for the SummerWorks Festival this year.
We have had some obstacles - since there is a lot of Aerial trapeze work, Holly Treddenick (our Aerial designer and rigger) had to spend many hours figuring out the rigging and how it would all work in only 4 hours of tech time in the theatre!
3. Why this production for SummerWorks? What is it about the SummerWorks platform that made you want to be a part of it.
SummerWorks is the perfect platform for this show. We were able to take many big risks and incorporate a lot into this show. Dance, Aerials, and stunning Projections and Sound by Beth Kates and Ben Chaisson of Playground Studios. I was really excited to create a hybrid dance/theatre piece for the SummerWorks audience. SummerWorks is an exciting festival and it is an honour to be a part of it.
4. Does your approach as a choreographer differ if you do or do not dance in the show? If yes, how so?
My approach as a choreographer doesn't differ if I am in the show, but it takes a little more time to create if I am also in it. I decided not to dance in MALARIA LULLABY this time around because we were limited for time in the rehearsal hall so I felt pretty strongly about staying on the outside.
5. What other shows at SummerWorks are you looking forward to seeing?
I am looking forward to seeing LITTLE ONE. I am a huge fan of Michelle Monteith and Hannah Moscovitch and Natasha Mytnowych (and they are my friends!) And I am looking forward to seeing COMBAT which also fuses dance and theatre.
MALARIA LULLABY is on now at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Ave). Showtimes:
Sun. Aug. 7 @10:30pm; Thurs. Aug. 11 @8pm; Sat. Aug. 13 @10:30pm; Sun. Aug. 14 @8pm
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