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Inside out

A heatwave descended throughout the rehearsals and run of Inside at SummerWorks. The heat became a collaborator in our process, begging us to take things slow and steady (high fives to iced americanos and Boreal gelato).

Inside makers. Photo by Sarah Jurgens.

Several folks who saw the show asked about our creation process. Here's something I wrote about the first incarnation of Inside and collaborating with Cat for Erin Brubacher's fantastic Facebook Relay (which is completely genius and if you haven't checked it out, you really must):

This time around, Cat and I were co-drivers. We still did check-ins. It still wasn't a democracy (although I'd like to think we are democratic in our process). Lots shifted in the two years between inside and Inside. We refined our process, I did a lot of reading about one-on-one performance practises both locally and globally, and we each learned lots about ourselves and the kind of work we make. We continued to trust in showing up (even when we didn't want to), our borrowed and invented collaborative language, and the mystery and nuance of co-leadership.

Rehearsal photo of Jada White by Sasha Singer-Wilson

The creation process looked something like this:

- Actors/collaborators write down ten things they do when they are alone.

- We talk about each thing, unpacking them and getting lots of juicy details.

- We assign several fictional "given circumstances" of the character who is taking shape.

- "Hot seat" character development (an improvised interview between us and the character).

- Character body/physicality exploration.

- Using each of these elements, we create the "score" of each character (and their room).

Then, we polished and scrubbed it up and invited folks in, eight by eight.

Inside rocked me. It was rigorous. It was painful. It grew me as a maker, as a collaborator, as an actor and as a human being. Some of this growth was blissful and euphoric. Some of it was painful, disillusioning, and covered in a thin film of bus exhaust (thank you Dufferin Street) and laundry lint (if you saw the show, you'll understand why). Intimate performance requires so much presence from both actor and audience. It is a form I continue to be scared of and obsessed with.

Behind the scenes. Photo by Heather Watts.

I'm so grateful to SummerWorks for having us, it was such a privilege to share this piece in a festival built on integrity, exploration and risk. The other shows I managed to see blew my heart wide open and made me want to create with urgency, vitality and freedom.

I'm so grateful to Cat, who brings passion and spunky flare (not to mention a rad onesie collection) each and every day. I'm so grateful to Sarah, my blood projects sister. I'm so grateful to Adrian, Tabby, Giovanni, Heather, Nadeem, Jada, John, Craig, and Krista for teaching me about generosity, focus and fun.

I'm so grateful to our intrepid participants who dared to trust and lean closer.

We hope that Inside has lots more life (in new places and with new friends). I will keep you posted on what's next.

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