Hello friendos, long time no Presence.
I’m back with a Post-Haste taste of Zuppa Theatre’s show How Small, How Far Away (a revised and revamped incarnation of the play formerly known as The Attaining Gigantick Dimensions). That’s post-haste – with all possible speed. These short q&a’s with artists are meant to promote their fast-approaching projects.
I had a speed-round email chat with How Small’s fearless director Alex McLean, a living genius and cool dude as far as I’m concerned. Here’s what he had to say about the latest Zuppa venture, a collaboration with Cleveland playwright Mike Geither playing until May 1st:
1. Describe the show in 5 sentences or less:
“Maybe we all have an appetite for drama, for conflict, for explosions — and theatre is one of the ways we address this appetite. But we also do perfectly ordinary things that actually have a lot to do with who we are and how we find meaning in our lives. This show is an attempt to give those things their moment in court, to ask, ‘How small can it be and still be a play?'”
2. What are you most excited to share with the audience?
“A little vision of our city at a very particular moment in its history, as Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan was winding down.”
3. What’s the biggest difference between this revamped production and the 2013 version?
“The changes we made were about trying to acknowledge what was unique about the show and highlight those elements. In the original version, there were still normal theatrical assumptions: actors cheated their bodies towards the audience and projected their voices, for example. So for this version we really boosted the sound design, so that the experience of an audience member is more like looking in on a series of private moments. For this reason we mic’ed the actors and reduced the amount of typical ‘blocking.’ In a way there is a bit of Brecht to it: sitting back and watching something about ourselves, but from a distance, so we can see it better.”
4. How does How Small, How Far Away speak to the present moment in our community?
“For me it is about looking at our recent past in order to understand where we are right now. There is a sense of ambivalence that I felt then and that I still feel now, and I figure others might feel the same.”
5. What is the best part about making theatre in Halifax?
“The walk to rehearsal.”
How Small, How Far Away runs until May 1st nightly at 8pm at The David Mack. Murray Theatre (Studio One) Dalhousie Arts Centre.
Photo by Rachel Chisholm