field notes.04 // Helen Donnelly & Neil Muscott

field notes.
episode 04 // Helen Donnelly & Neil Muscott
a foolish conversation about clowns

June 2nd, 2016
8:30pm
Sorauren Park

I catch up with my clown teacher, Helen Donnelly and her partner/director Neil Muscott to chat about clowns, flat tires, preconceptions, clown logic and realness.

helendonnelly.com
fooproductions.com
fooandfriends.com


reverend foo

The Reverend Foo Revival Time
playing June 8th, 10th & 12th at Factory Theatre
as part of the Toronto Festival of Clowns.

2011-TFOC-Logo-SM

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dossier: Coyote Collective for ICARUS DANCES WITH THE SUN

Today’s dossier is an exciting one. The folks of Coyote Collective have such a vigour and passion for generating work that I can’t really say anything to add to the following dossier. The only thing I know is I’ve spent much time with Max Tepper, who is an unbelievably encouraging fellow, and some time with Susannah, Blue, Garett and Eric at various events and parties and you can see, just by looking at them, just by talking with them, that they have that spark behind their eyes. 

Their most recent production, ICARUS DANCES WITH THE SUN will make it’s premiere THIS SUNDAY, June 16th as part of Clay and Paper Theatre’s Annual Dufferin-Grove Park event DAY OF DELIGHT! Outdoor theatre! Beautiful weather! A park! Coyote-pelt-masks! Check it out!

Ahem. Here is dossier #13:

coyote collective

Who are we talking with?

Susannah Mackay, Blue Bigwood-Mallin, Max Tepper, Eric Welch, and Garett Oliver. The young pups of Coyote Collective!

What drew you down the path to physical theatre?

Susannah – Art has always been a huge part of my life; I was dancing and painting before I could read or write! I suppose I was drawn down this specific path because of the complexity and wholeness of theatre as an experience. There is also something intoxicating and mysterious about theatre; it is so all encompassing and tangible in the moment and then -POOF!- its gone once the house lights come back up. I think this nebulous quality is what has always drawn me into theatre and continues to do

Blue – I think the way someone gets drawn into any artistic form is seeing a piece of art or an aspect of that type of work and having their perceptions moved because of it. I found myself on the physical-creation side of theatre as I was drawn to many other artists that worked this way. I was also drawn into their forms and modes of expression and from there began to work on directing, writing and acting as a way to test out these various modes.

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

Blue – I first became interested in acting when I was around 8 or 9 years old and saw the Jim Carrey movie “Me, Myself and Irene”. The images of him fighting himself and being ridiculous made me think “I want to be able to do that”, to have the ability to make people laugh was very important to me as a child and after seeing the movie I got involved with the island group Shadowland and scored my first major role as a paper-maché fish.

Max – I completely relate with Blue in wanting to make people laugh being the biggest contributor to my desire to perform. My parents used to joke with the other parents when I was growning up. They would go on about whose child would grow up to be a doctor or a lawyer, and my parents would always say: “Yeah… Max is probably going to do stand-up and smoke cigarettes.”

How did Coyote Collective come to be?

Susannah – Despite being current Artistic Director, I didn’t found the company! I’m told it was conceived after a few too many drinks at the TPM Backspace bar and a shortlist of favourite collaborators. However, I can say we have remained together because all of us have a love of essential, simplistic work and dark, comedic honesty. I think each member has a perspective that is, to be frank, a little cracked, a little strange, and a little wild at heart.

Why ICARUS DANCES WITH THE SUN?

Max – Blue had been working on this Icarus character for about a year now. A stiff accountant that secretly yearns to fly and dance. Icarus has seen two prior incarnations. The first was during Blue’s undergraduate thesis show for Creative Ensemble at York University, and the second was at a fantastic performance workshop hub called New Art Night run by the fine folks over at Living room Theatre. So for the summer we wanted to bring Icarus back and put him into a story that could allow us to work with new languages of gestures, and also keep us focussed on creating work that all audiences of all ages, and of all languages can understand.

What kind of atmosphere do you intend to set up, or can someone expect from ICARUS DANCES WITH THE SUN?

Max – Super-fun, dopey-love, let’s-be-kids-again atmosphere.

What is your favourite memory from a past Coyote Collective show?

Garett – When we first started, and our lights didn’t work, we were all tired from doing other shows, and we didn’t know if we would be ready in time. A member of the Excalibur press showed up to give us our first article. Made me realize that we were being noticed, and people were interested in what we were doing.

Eric – The moment in my life that will be etched in my brain until the end of time came about during the run of “Like A Generation” It was a matinee show and my parents and siblings were all coming that afternoon to see it. There is this one scene in LAG where my character literally has sex with his television. No matter how hard you work to justify this moment in terms of its necessity to the narrative, or the audience experience, when you have to get down and do it with your family that knows you so intimately well right there, well, it’s downright awkward. Working with Coyote has given me the rare opportunity to have sex with a television right in front of my family. It was a thing. It happened.

Describe ICARUS DANCES WITH THE SUN in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.

Eric – It is the cure for what ails you

Garett – A show of comedy understood universally.

Max – The sound your shoulders make when you relax them after a long day’s work.

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

Check out our website for more updates on the company – coyotecollective.wordpress.com

Also a big thanks to Clay & Paper Theatre for having our work put on in their Day of Delight Festival! It’s been such a pleasure working with them!

Come see the whole she-bang on Sunday, June 16th and join Coyote Collective as their premiere Icarus Dances with the Sun!

Coyote Collective's Abbey Road

Day of Delight