Daniel MacIvor Chats with CCTC Director Kim McCaw on the Timms Main Stage, November 17, 2011
A video version of the CCTC Lunchbox Chat with Daniel MacIvor will be posted at our Forum this coming April 16. The interview, which took place on November 17, 2011 at the University of Alberta's Timms Centre for the Arts, offers an entertaining and revealing look at MacIvor's creative process, focusing on one of his most recent pieces, This is What Happens Next, which ran at the Citadel Theatre from November 17 to December 4.
Leading up to that mid-April release date, we invite you to visit the Forum pages of our website, where among other things you can now access videos of our first season of Lunchbox Chats, as well as mini reports on our three seasons since. And just in case you haven't checked them out yet either, videos of our panel discussions on Collaboration in the Theatre and Diversity in Canadian Theatre have been up for a while now and remain at the Forum for your viewing pleasure (or research purposes).
For those who can hardly wait for the MacIvor chat video to be posted later this month, the CCTC e-Newsletter report on the interview is reprinted below, and MacIvor's contribution to our Words, Words, Words... feature highlighting verbatim quotes from our chat series is also available at the Forum.
MacIvor's Personal Journey Proves Fertile Ground for What Happens Next...
by Ian Leung
(Originally printed in the March 2, 2012 edition of the CCTC e-Newsletter)
Daniel MacIvor's Lunchbox chat with Kim McCaw on November 17th, 2011 threatened to be so popular that it was shifted from the Timms Lobby into the Studio Theatre at short notice, and happily so. Our thanks goes out to the Timms Centre front of house and technical staff who made the last-minute move possible. The turnout was the best ever for a Lunchbox Chat and, had the event been held in the Lobby, it would likely have resulted in half the audience standing through the hour long interview and question period.
Not that the inconvenience would have made much of a difference to the crowd. MacIvor's conversation with McCaw and members of the audience was love-in from start to finish. The prolific playwright and impressive performer was in town courtesy of the Citadel Theatre, where he was performing his latest one-man show This is What Happens Next.
The show marks a return to the solo-format from which he'd retired in order to try, as he put it, being a real person. However, it eventually became clear to him that his feeling of alienation from himself was rooted in the condition of being an artist: "I think that we do have to embrace the fact that we become professional humans, so that it is going to be a little bit of a different experience for us. We are going to be fighting with our lovers and in the midst of a rage, and trying to remember what this feeling is while it’s happening. We are going to be at our grandmother’s funeral grieving, and thinking about what it is to cry," he confessed, adding "it’s not a bad life, it’s just different."
Interestingly, his narrator persona in This is What Happens Next struggles with a parallel disconnection between life and art, juggling his audience's expectation of a story with his desire to avoid the necessary distortion of reality, if not poetic truth, that the story format requires.
The discussion was at times provocative, personally revealing, professionally informative, funny - and entertaining throughout. Thanks to a heavy touring schedule for What Happens, MacIvor was also able to provide an informal and amusing survey of how audiences differed across the country, and he compared Alberta theatre-goers favourably with Quebec audiences, both of which he characterized as having a tendency to lean forward with a sense of openness to what an artist has to bring.
Some of his most memorable quotes came in response to a question tweeted from a theatre Administrator in Toronto who wondered if dwindling theatre audiences was the result of shifting habits and tastes in the general public. MacIvor began by taking issue with the premise and ended with a manifesto of sorts for theatre creators. An edited version of his answer can be found in the Lunchbox Chats pages of the CCTC Forum.
MacIvor's was the last chat of the very short season for 2011-2012. We look forward to hosting more when 2012-2013 rolls around. Meanwhile keep your eyes posted on the CCTC website, where we'll be posting the video of the entire interview with Daniel in a few weeks!