Cantastoria, un opera déssiné /
a drawn opera

Performance-installation in former stable, Montreal — August 27, 28, 29, 2010 (approximately 1 hour)

An old stable. The audience enters at dusk. A room within a room. A row of women working at a table. A lightbox projecting textures, spectres, elderstories. A figure seen handling a tree in a jar. The smell of spices coincides with a certain sound and we all climb down.

The context of this performance was integral to the overall experience of the work: the sound of trains passing overhead; the vast yet claustrophobic sense of the space; being in an urban context yet feeling echoes of another era. Cantastoria explored the intersections of drawing and performance through the layering of live presence and projected tableaux. The piece unfolded around an architectural structure – a lightbox I climbed onto and inside of to animate drawings and shadow play. This project was the culmination of years of research that began with the serendipity of encountering two different, yet related Malinas: the first is a novel by the Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann; the second is the word for confined spaces where Jews hid in Lithuania during WWll. This performance combined sources from history, literature, and personal archaeology, transposing these various strands to the contemporary context of a building we could call a relic. Fragmented narratives were recounted, using excerpts of interviews with elderly people who had been in Malinas as children, woven together with vocal improvisations, the sound of drawing, etc. I also played with the fragmentation of space through scenes taking place in distinct areas. Sound and light were used as clues for the audience to follow the action.

Sound: Christian Richer | Performers: Soufïa Bensaïd, Rachel Echenberg, Lou Nelson, Victoria Stanton,

Jenna MacLellan, and Vida Simon

Photographers: Eman Haram, Kyra Revenko, Beatrice Glow, Bruce Cohen, Vida Simon