New Work in Development from the coop

Category: stage 198

Solo Chicken Productions return to the Fredericton Playhouse next month for a creative residency.

Brian K. 
Alex Rioux and Kira Chisholm. Video screenshot of work by project collaborator by Chris Giles.

Solo Chicken Productions will start 2018 with an intensive week of creativity and collaboration as they work to develop a new performance piece. Pitch-Black is the next chapter in the company’s interdisciplinary exploration combining elements of physical theatre, dance, and music performed by members and collaborators of the coop.

Formed in 2014, the coop is an emerging artist performance ensemble created as a platform for contemporary artists to “research, develop and perform original works of physical theatre”. The coop’s first major production, A Record Of Us, was inspired by the works of David Adams Richards and made its debut as part of the 2016 NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival.

Pitch-Black’s winter development residency will see coop members Kira Chisholm and Alex Rioux working closely composer Andrew Miller, videographer Chris Giles, and the coop’s Artistic Directors Lesandra Dodson and Lisa Anne Ross, collectively exploring Film Noir’s defining characteristics.

The initial inspiration for Pitch-Black can be traced back to a performance piece Dodson choreographed in 2002. Disconnected Series of Utterances was heavily inspired by Film Noir director Alfred Hitchcock and the many elements that shaped the genre.

Disconnected Series of Utterances was a seminal piece I made fifteen years ago in Toronto, along with dancers Susie Burpee, Shannon Cooney, Julia Aplin, and composer/writer Luis Cardoso,” said Dodson. “It started with vocal and sound experimentation which then became the source or inspiration for movement vocabulary, which in turn spawned these little characters. We simply followed the tone of the dramatic material and it seemed to land perfectly, framed within a quirky Film Noir world.”

Kira Chisholm and Actors Alex Rioux. Video screenshot of work by project collaborator by Chris Giles.

Dodson says the idea to use the piece as a jumping-off point for this project came through an unexpected burst of inspiration.

“Inspiration is often so unpredictable,” she said.

“I really like the idea of approaching an older piece of repertory for inspiration; to investigate how we would now reinterpret these ideas,” said Dodson. “Having this past work as a jumping off point for onset of our new creative process is interesting in many ways. How does a piece inspire another piece? How has my approach to creation changed? How will working with a new set of collaborators affect the outcome? We’ve had access to the archival recording and are all moving forward with our own collaborative jumble of creative sparks, and notions.

“We’re also trying to play with filmic techniques, and old school methods used to produce dramatic tension, and suspense. We’re coming together with some ideas inspired by the noir genre, about directors of the era like Hitchcock and the relationships between director/actor, actor/actor, and some behind the scenes drama.”

Solo Chicken’s creative residency will conclude with a public performance of this work-in-progress and an informal talkback session where the audience is encourage to engage with the artists to learn more about the work and the process involved. This performance is free and open to everyone.

Pitch-Black – a Solo Chicken Productions creative residency | January 5, 2018 | Fredericton Playhouse | 5:30 p.m. | FREE | View Event

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