Out and About
Jordan Tannahill’s “Declarations” on stage Jan 23 to Feb 11, 2017
Returning to Canadian Stage for the third time in as many seasons, acclaimed multi-disciplinary artist Jordan Tannahill writes and directs a new world premiere creation, Declarations, onstage at the Berkeley Street Downstairs Theatre from January 23 to February 11.
An ode to mortality – that of the playwright’s mother, his own, mankind’s Declarations is a joyful and moving attempt to capture the objects, sensations, and experiences that make up a life. Through a lyrical text and choreographed physical score, five performers chronicle a life pulled through time, encountering mythology, political calamity, meteorological phenomena, pop culture, and everyday happenstance along the way. What accumulates is a staggering archive of images, sense memories and voices asserting that here lived, for a time, a woman.
“We are so thrilled to have Jordan creating a new piece for our 30th anniversary season,” said Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage Artistic and General Director, “and to be presenting work by this truly singular artist for the third season in a row. Jordan truly exemplifies our desire at Canadian Stage to showcase boundary breaking, genre defying work, and this new project will share yet another facet of his astonishing artistic dexterity. Declarations is a deeply personal work for him, while also an exploration of the most fundamental desires of all artistic expression.”
A movement-theatre piece in three parts, Declarations is a living archive of gestures, objects, and stories that stand in witness and testament to the life of his mother, as well as to the act of creation itself. While the piece is choreographed and scripted, the gestures the dancers perform in response to a series of scripted declarative statements, will be improvised by the performers in an effort to keep the work constantly alive and evolving.
“Declarations is about the desire to articulate the entirety of a life, as it faces down mortality, and the inherent impossibility of doing so,” commented Tannahill. “In a sense all art occupies the space between human experience and our sublime failure to fully articulate human experience. I wanted to create a piece that spoke to that, to create an archive, fated to be woefully incomplete, of a life lived, in this case, the life is mine; but through their embodiment of the text, it also becomes that of the performers, and their improvised movement is an attempt to keep this archive a living one, changing night after night. What emerges is a joyful testament to being alive.”
A long time Canadian Stage collaborator, Tannahill (who won a Governor General’s Award for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays) was playwright in residence at Canadian Stage in 2014.2015. The company closed their 2015.2016 season with Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom (2017 Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best New Canadian Play) and opened the 2016.2017 season with his 2015 Dora Award-winner for Best New Play, Concord Floral – initially developed as part of Canadian Stage’s 2012 Festival of Ideas and Creation.
Concurrent to the run at Canadian Stage of Declarations, Coach House Press will publish the play in February 2018 and in January 2018, House of Anansi will publish Tannahill’s debut novel, Liminal. Jordan is also currently writing the text for Xenos, dancer-choreographer Akram Khan’s final solo performance, which will premiere in Greece in February 2018.
Declarations will be on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre from January 23 to February 11 (Previews: Jan 23 & 24, Performances run Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, with matinees on Saturdays and Sundays, and on Wednesday, Jan 31 & Feb 7 at 1:00pm. Tickets from $39 to $69 are available online, by phone at 416.368.3110, or in person at the Berkeley Street box office. For details visit www.canadianstage.com.
JORDAN TANNAHILL is a playwright, director, and author. In 2016 he was described by the Toronto Star as being “widely celebrated as one of Canada’s most accomplished young playwrights, filmmakers, and all-round multidisciplinary artists.” His plays have been translated into multiple languages and honoured with a number of prizes including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and several Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Jordan’s films and multimedia performances have been presented at festivals and galleries such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Tribeca Film Festival. From 2012 to 2016, Jordan and William Ellis ran the influential underground art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market. In 2017, his play Late Company transferred to London’s West End while his virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, a co-production between the National Theatre (UK) and the National Film Board of Canada, premiered at the Venice Biennale. In 2018, Jordan will premiere his play Declarations at Canadian Stage, as well as Xenos, a collaboration with dancer-choreographer Akram Khan, at the Onasis Cultural Centre in Athens. Born in 1988 in Ottawa, he currently resides in London, UK.
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