dossier: Cathy Gordon for HAMMER / Summerworks

As the year chugs impressively forward, with no immediate end in its tunnel-esque sight, new relationships are building, strengthening and changing from what they once were. As one of the new Associate Directors of hub14, I’ve recently had the pleasure to spend time with the lovely Cathy Gordon, an artist who wears her heart on her sleeve and whose passion is easily admirable. You can see she’s always analyzing and, because of this, what she brings to a conversation, or piece of art, is truly unique. I had the pleasure to catch HAMMER earlier this year, when it had a showing in May at hub14, but somehow dropped the ball in getting a dossier built around it. 

This time around, however, not only have I appealed to Cathy for a dossier, I’m also going to be rather involved in the logistics of this incarnation as HAMMER is now being co-presented by Summerworks and hub14. And! As a bonus to this, because hub14 is going through a large change at the moment, with the old team of artistic directors moving out (Cathy being one of them) and us moving in, each of the five new ADs are going to be introducing HAMMER with a short, 10-minute piece of their own! Not only do you get to see this provocative piece of art from an integral member of hub14’s history, but you also get to see what the new guard is capable of! This is, if you can’t tell, really exciting to me (I haven’t even seen what my fellow cohort is capable of yet). 

Alright, straight to it.

dossier # 19:

Cathy Gordon

Who are we talking to?

Cathy Gordon

What drew you down this path? (to theatre, to wherever the hell you are in life)

Since I was a child I’ve been writing, directing and performing. I went to Canterbury School of the Arts for performance + then York University for Playwriting & Directing.

What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?

Playing with my dolls and realizing that I wanted to do many things with my life and as an actor, I could live all those lives within my one lifetime.

Why HAMMER?

In recent years, I’ve been doing a lot of different kind of performance (relational work, community work, installation work) and I wanted to get back “into the studio” – to create a piece with a more traditional actor / audience relationship. The quality of HAMMER is in line with some performances I had done years earlier as part of the annual Parkdale Project Read fundraiser. HAMMER in particular was inspired by reading the news one day in December 2012 and being struck by the level of violence against women that was making headlines across the globe. I was compelled to address this within my own family’s history of abuse.

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect while attending HAMMER?

Well, people have said that it’s intense & compelling even if they are unsure of everything that is happening. On this version I’m working on clarifying certain moments while trying to avoid a whole lot of explaining. It’s true that I’m a pretty intense person but I’m also quite funny.

You’ve toured and performed in many festivals over the years. What is your favourite thing about bringing your work to a new audience?

Each audience has a collective boundary, I like to discover that boundary and really test it. I try to create a space that is charged with the energy of every single person in that room. However, I’m the one that is putting myself in a vulnerable position, and by trusting the audience to respect that, I hope to give people a real opportunity to invest in the experience without ever forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to do.

What is your favourite memory from a past Summerworks experience? Or, what is your favourite memory from HAMMER’s development and production?

Chad Dembski has been my outside eye both in Montreal and this past May. He is the best. I’ve known & worked with Chad since the 1990’s and it was wonderful to reconnect with him (especially because I don’t see him as much since he moved to Montreal.)

Describe HAMMER in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.

Ok, I’ll take a line from video:

“Here is place where we pretend we are pretending but, really, we are telling the truth: our subjective truths”.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?

Here are some photos from rehearsal & the May production… I’m afraid I didn’t get any proper photographs, I just grabbed some images from the video.

And the schedule of opening acts for HAMMER are as follows:

Aug 8: Kate Nankervis

Aug 9: Coman Poon

Aug 14: Aria Evans (dance films)

Aug 15: Andrew Gaboury

Aug 16: Marie France Forcier

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A. Gaboury

An emerging playwright, devisor, actor and director, Andrew spends most of his time dreaming beneath those beautiful willows.

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