Handmade Performance is a co-operative exploring the multiple interpretative possibilities that artists and academics together can generate from historical texts. Some of these ‘texts’ were written for the stage: Doctor Faustus, The Last Judgement, The Insect Play. Other ‘texts’ are the accumulated documentation of a life (Juba, Faker), or event (death in A Little Grief). Using the multiple skills of its participants in equal measure–visual art, choreography, musical composition, poetry and dialogue, as well as direction and performance–productions explore the complex interpretive relationships between re-creation and re-interpretation, imitation and parody, tradition and novelty, theoretical/historiographical rigour and the pragmatics of the live performance. The creative process is, for the most part, collaborative and not hierarchical. See articles in sites for The Last Judgement and Doctor Faustus for case-studies on the process and the product.

 

A monologue with movement based on research into the performance of the 19th century spiritualist Maggie Fox. Produced at the Festival of Original Theatre, Glen Morris Studio Theatre, January 2001. Includes script, director’s notes, photographs.

An on-going practical exploration of the life, work, and legacy of Juba, the great 19th-century dancer. Includes stage productions produced in 1997 (Juba) and 2003 (Chanelling Juba’s Dance), and the CBC radio production (with choreography) in 1998. Full scripts available for production through Playwrights Guild of Canada. Includes an invitation to become involved in the project.

 

The final play in the complete York Mystery Cycle (with portable lights, rock’n’roll, and martial arts), produced at the University of Toronto on 20 June 1998 by Poculi Ludique Societas and Records of Early English Drama. Includes video of the entire production at two stations, with accompanying script and notes, and an essay previously published in the journal Early Theatre.

 

A collaboration based on poems written by Stephen Johnson and paintings by Lauren McKinley Renzetti. It was a memorial to the death of their fathers, as well as an exploration of the ways in which words, paintings, movement, sound, and character work might be integrated in the expression of grief in performance. First created for the Festival of Original Theatre, Toronto, April 1999.

 

As produced by ‘The Little Theatre of Hell’–two radical re-working of Marlowe’s text (without changing the words). Co-produced with the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama and the Centre for Records of Early English Drama, with assistance from Poculi Ludique Societas, Glen Morris Studio Theatre, Toronto, October 1999. Includes Director’s pre-productions notes, a dramaturgical essay, and slide show.

 

A choral production of the play by Aeschylus, and a collective by the cast based on the text and rehearsal process. A co-production of the Environmental Theatre Workshop and the McMaster School of Art, Drama and Music, November 1996.

 

Based on the 1922 political allegory by Josef and Karel Capek, Ze zivota hmyzu (From the Life of the Insects), in two Handmade productions: a new translation and adaptation was produced in 1992 in Hamilton, Ontario at the Robinson Memorial Theatre, co-produced with McMaster University; and a more radical re-interpretation emphasizing sound, movement, design and video, produced 1998. Includes an essay on dramaturgy and teaching published in Theatre Topics, and a slide show including materials from original (1922) and Handmade productions. Full scripts available on request.

 

An experimental advocacy theatre and dance group working with scientists, social scientists, and the general public to explore local environmental issues, focussing on the study and improvement of the ecosystem at the head of Lake Ontario in Hamilton. Included performances for children in schools and theatres, dance projects, site-specific monologues. See the outdoor giant-puppet play Six Puppets and a Fish (Not to Mention the Fisherman) and Prometheus Bound (and bound again).

 

An outdoor site-specific play with giant puppets produced in Hamilton at Coote’s Paradise, part of the Environmental Theatre Workshop, produced Summer 1996. Also toured schools. Full script available for production.

 

Biographies

If you are a past or present participant in Handmade Performance productions and wish to add your biography or website link to this site, please click here.

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