How to Be: Q&A with Choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

How to Be: Q&A with Choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

How To Be, a new creation by Vancouver’s iconic dance & theatre creator Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, opens April 12 at The Cultch Historic Theatre! Produced by Tara Cheyenne Performance, this piece was presented as part of Boca Del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series and at Dancing on the Edge. We are excited about its premiere at The Cultch! We had a chance to ask Tara a few questions and learn more about the inspiration for How To Be:    

 

L to R: (top row) Kimberly Stevenson, Tara Cheyenne, Josh Martin, Bevin Poole, (bottom row) Marcus Youssef, Kate Franklin. Photo by Wendy D

Hi Tara! We’re thrilled that your piece, How To Be, will be premiering at The Historic Theatre April 12-15. The image for the show expresses a dynamic relationship between the performers – what is the relationship between them?  The photos were a riff on bad family portraits. Family often being the first place we learn “how to be” for better or worse. We are playing with the relationship between how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about others. It’s a great quagmire of heartbreak and comedy.

Does this piece contain your signature comedic style? What are some of those comedic elements? Well I think it’s funny! The performers/collaborators are all extremely talented and funny people. They each bring hilarity and vulnerability as we track “how to be.” Comic elements? I think it’s possible to find comedy everywhere; our pain, our loneliness, our egos run amuck. Certainly our endless cultural obsession with defining the correct ways to be is absorbing and funny.

What inspires you about exploring the topic of “how to be”? My own futile desire to find the right way to be. And of course as I’ve explored this I find we are all wrestling with the question, and frustrated with ourselves for not knowing the answers. Of course there are no answers. What does it even mean to “be yourself”?

The show seems to explore a fine line between fragility and persona – can you talk more about this? We are all uniquely ourselves, one in the universe and composites of every personality and experience that has touched us. Asking the question “how should a person be?” opens us up to our own vulnerability, our own fragile tentative fumbling. Where does my persona begin? Where does the “self” end? Can I find the answers in a Facebook questionnaire? What does my answer to number 7 really say about me?

If we fail at how we think we should be, what’s left? I think we fail all the time at this. Our emotions, our bodies, our minds betray our ideas of how/what we should be all the time. But isn’t  that wonderful? Fascinating and infuriating? Failure is possibility.

How to Be runs from April 12-15 in The Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

CREEPS is “…ferociously funny”

CREEPS is “…ferociously funny”

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Winner of the Chalmers Award and the New York Drama Desk Award, David Freeman’s savage wit and uncompromising dialogue will hold you spellbound!

What 1971 play is recognized among theatre insiders to have changed Canadian theatre forever?  If you guessed David Freeman’s CREEPS, you’re right!

Realwheels Theatre, the company that brought you the Jessie Award-winning production of “Whose Life is it Anyway?” (The Cultch 2014 season), and winner of the City of Vancouver’s 2015 Award of Excellence, returns to the Cultch Historic Stage with this outstanding new production of CREEPS.

Running Dec 1- 10, 2016, CREEPS tells the story of four disabled men hiding out in the toilet of a ‘sheltered workshop for cerebral palsy victims’.  There to dodge their condescending supervisor, the men escape the mundane activities (folding boxes, sanding blocks), designed to ‘occupy their idle hours, and vent their disdain for their institutionalized environment and the charities that support it.  

While sheltered workshops were a progressive idea at the time, with the intention to rotate people through as they increased skill levels, many participants – like the characters in CREEPS – ended up spending most of their adult lives in the programs.

Freeman was one of the first writers to put his own voice – a Canadian voice – on the stage in the early 70’s.  Freeman lived with cerebral palsy and wrote CREEPS on a typewriter that he operated with a mouth-held stylus.

Reviews of the play were unanimously electrifying:

ferociously funny,

“...Freeman treats his people as people, showing how in their world there is humour in abundance, and things can be hugely comic.”

…Freeman handles his material triumphantly.”

May all playwrights be as talented as Freeman.”

For the first time in the play’s history, CREEPS is being performed by an integrated cast.  Of the seven professional actors, three are actors who live with disability.  Realwheels’ production of  CREEPS will give audiences a rare glimpse into the lived experience of disability, filtered through a 1970’s lens.   Don’t miss it!

Creeps runs from Nov 30– Dec 10, 2016 in the Historic Theatre. Two-for-One special ticket price for International Day of Disability on Sat. Dec 3 at 8 pm. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

*Please call box office to book if seating accommodation is needed (Wheelchair, PCA, ASL, audio description)