Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Woman Who Was Me

Written by Peter Grandbois
Directed by Jeremy Williams
Produced by Convergences Theatre Collective

Nominations: Jeremy Williams for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Choreography/Movement; Kate Jaworski for Outstanding Lighting Design; Liz Stanton for Outstanding Solo Performance; The Woman Who Was Me for Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play

Photos by Lloyd Mulvey

 About the Company: CTC is an incubator for the research and development of new theatrical work. They work as collective, using interdisciplinary techniques to challenge the traditional roles of theatre makers and audiences.

About the Production: The kiss of a stranger awakens the desire and creativity of a middle-aged wife, mother, teacher, and writer; launching her on a journey exploring a life outside conventional marriage, motherhood, and sexual appetite. Her identity fragments as she embarks on a sexual odyssey filled with risk, questioning, and confused boundaries. In wandering, how can she put down roots, find a voice, and craft a new story of herself and those with whom she shares a kinship? The Woman Who Was Me is about the many choices women make throughout life, consciously and unconsciously.


What first attracted you to this project?

Liz: The story, the conflict, the beautiful language and images.

Jeremy: I love that Peter created a character that can ask tough questions about herself, explore her sexual desire, and not have to die for her journey of self-discovery. It's a story that breaks the cycle of violence that condemns women to being voiceless. Lanie discovers and owns her voice which allows her to make choices. It's great to see a character making her own choices. We really need that narrative in the world right now.

Kate: A director I respect and trust, and a compelling script. I knew that Jeremy Williams was directing this show, and I trust him as an incredible creative director and as a leader. My first reading of the script moved me to tears several times.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Jeremy: Liz and I approached this process as a collaboration to realize Peter's play. The collaboration has been incredible! We are both creators, designers, and inventors so our work together started with exploring the physical and image worlds of the play through some really fun experiments in the studio. As the team has grown to include our amazing designers, dramaturge, managers, and producing partners we have expanded that collaboration with listening at the core of our work together. It's been amazing to share this piece and this process with an audience and then listen to the audience's experience and relationship to the challenges that the character faces. It's been incredible to hear so many stories that people want to share after seeing Peter's play and Liz's performance.

Liz: I loved creating the life of this play with Jeremy Williams, the director of the show.

Kate: My favorite aspect of the show was working with this particular team. My fellow collaborators were such a joy to work with and very inspiring. I felt that Jeremy expected a lot of me and trusted me; two qualities in a director that promote me in doing my best work.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Jeremy: One-person plays are always a challenge. How to create and sustain dramatic tension, provide interesting variety in storytelling,

Liz: Because it is a one-person show, working with image is essential to the audience's experience of the play. Incorporating those images into the movement in a fluid and embodied way was challenging and rewarding.

Kate: Time limitations were a challenge. There is always more I want to do to tweak or perfect my lighting cues, and there never is enough time for all of it.

What was the craziest part of working on this production?

Liz: Originally I held the projector in my hand (I wanted to try this), but I was so happy to get it out of my hands so that I could interact with the projections.

Kate: The first time I ran the lights for this show at a festival, I had to do it on a 2 scene manual fade console. I don't think I breathed for the entire run of that iteration of the show. I remember Jeremy putting his hand on my shoulder at one point and saying, "looks great", which helped prevent me from totally losing it! I much prefer programming cues into a light board and then pressing go, which was the way it went at Theatre Lab.

What did you want the audiance to walk away with after seeing this production?

Jeremy:  The understanding that we have the power to embody our voice and make choices.

Did you learn anything from your work on this production?

Liz: Time passes when we really take a breath. Two minutes per page is not an accurate way to time a script. I learned that this piece continues to speak to each of the audience members. It turns out that it's audience is more broad and diverse than I expected.

Kate: When I first read The Woman Who Was Me, it seemed like a poem. The way Jeremy and Liz created choreography for this piece really opened my mind. It felt like the show came off of the page not only with Liz's character work, but with this expressive, movement that fit the tone so well.

What was it like working with these nominees?

Jeremy: Liz is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist who is an incredibly powerful actress as well as designer, composer, and performance writer. She brings a vast imagination and set of collaborative tools to the process. She's also a clown and a brilliant collaborator.

Kate is a Lighting Designer who also sings, composes, manages, and creates original work. Her vision is focused and, mutli-layered, and rich with imagery. She has great ideas and loves to share them. She's one of the nicest people in the world in and out of the theatre.

I am a director and choreographer who loves to put together teams committed to collaboration. My vision is driven by the story and character. I ask a ton of questions and love to take on challenging topics in beautiful ways. 

What was it like working with Convergences Theatre Collective?
Liz: Convergences Theatre Collective is totally supportive of artists' ideas and desires. The entire creative team was amazing. I love going to rehearsal every day to create this piece.

Kate: The people! Not only are these people extremely creative, talented, hardworking and unique...but there's a strong sense of freedom I feel when working with CTC. I know I have a voice, and my collaborators encourage my ideas and experiments.

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