Friday, November 9, 2012

Creative Conversations and City Lights

So, at yesterday evening's "creative conversation" between Robert Lepage and Crystal Pite at SFU Woodward's, I learned that Lepage is not buying a condo in Vancouver. Quel dommage.

I also learned that Lepage is happy not to claim authorship of his work; that he feels himself to be inadequately equipped as a filmmaker; that he kind of got off on the massive boos that greeted the premiere of the first part of The Ring he directed at The Met; and that he was the one who actively sought out Pite as a collaborator on his current acclaimed production of Thomas Adès's The Tempest at the same institution (not knowing she had just choreographed her own take on the Shakespeare play).

From Pite, I learned that she began choreographing at age three (she even remembers the music she chose and the costume she wore!); that she needs to impose incredibly high artistic stakes on herself before she feels ready to plunge into a new work; that the impetus for The Tempest Replica (which opens tonight at the Playhouse) came from the choreographic challenge of incorporating the idea of a shipwreck into the body; and that when directing actors, as opposed to trained dancers, to move, it's all about finding the right language ("pretend you're listening at a door" as opposed to "lead with your right ear").

After a quick dinner it was off to the Orpheum with Richard for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's live accompaniment to Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, in honour of the 85th anniversary of this landmark building (which, as Maestro Bramwell Tovey told the audience in his opening remarks--and as Richard has been whispering in my ear for years--was almost torn down in the 1970s). It really was an amazing experience to see what I think is Chaplin's greatest screen representation of his Tramp character brought sonically to life by the full VSO. As delightful were the warm-up acts: Tovey's solo improvisation of the live musical score to a little-known short by Chaplin, How To Make Movies, a quasi-behind-the-scenes look at what went into the artist's unique brand of physical comedy and cinematic magic; and a special performance by Michael Dirk on the original (and hydraulically operated) 1927 Wurlitzer Organ.


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