Its 2010 and Nicola Night, a respected black American TV star, is about to be presented with a lifetime achievement award by the NAACP. Into her dressing room strides Ben Schuster, her white former co-star, who happens to possess the largest ego in Hollywood. He’s decided he’s getting an award too…
Its 1969 and on the set of TV show, Star Quest, director-producer Eugene Bradbury is up against the clock. He’s got less than an hour to get the last shot of the episode in the can. But the last shot happens to be the first inter-racial kiss between a black woman and a white man ever broadcast on American Television.
Eugene thought he had his hands full with his cast— but then the executives come downstairs proclaiming “that man cannot kiss that woman on this television station!”
No Such Place
No Such Place is a combination of music, film, story and theatre based upon Jim White’s 2001 album of the same name. The project is being commissioned by 2btheatre from Halifax and will be directed by Christian Barry.
It is our goal to treat the source material album “No Such Place” as a song cycle and to tease a narrative out of the richly-textured characters and stories within the album. Characters will be drawn from the songs themselves, and linked together into a poetic narrative that provides dramatic tension and context to the songs.
"No Such Place" is an album I have come back to over and over again this past decade, re-reading its specifics and yielding different results each time. I’ve been drawn simultaneously to its stories, its imagery, and its tone.
The stories within each song are compelling snapshots of an American South that lies well beneath the surface gentility and elegance of the Old South. The south Jim writes about is mired in poverty, scarred by religion and damaged by life. His characters kill numerous people (“The Wound That Never Heals“) and lament their personal failings for others (“The Wrong Kind of Love“), but they also revel in a resigned embrace of who they were born (“God Was Drunk When He Made Me“).
Many of the stories and much of the imagery is drawn from Jim’s hard-won life experience growing up in Pensecola, North Florida. This is the part of Florida which is more Alabama than Snowbird. The themes of fissures and fractures, of helplessness and hopelessness, return again and again throughout the album. Jim speaks frankly about his own unfamiliarity with happiness, his flirtations with madness and the need to develop a vocabulary for it. To a very great extent, Jim’s songs and short stories are an attempt to grapple publicly with that journey towards understanding. Despite Jim’s vocal rejection of religion, his work is infused with a spiritual longing born of loneliness.
Aquarium Drunkard, a curated music blog, speaks eloquently of this early album: "No Such Place is an album that embraces a dark duality – it is fractured, yet whole; morbid, yet whimsical; celebratory, yet elegiac. The fractured nature comes from the album’s total of four different producers, but whether it’s through the strength of White’s songwriting or his gift in the studio, the album doesn’t sound like the work of so many different visions. It holds a cohesive sonic narrative, from the dusky drums of “Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi” to the swirling echo of “The Love that Never Fails” the album follows a singular tone. [sic]"
The Damage is Done
We are thrilled that the renowned Hungarian-Canadian author, doctor, thinker and speaker Gabor Maté is working with us on a re-visioning of The Damage Is Done.
Dr Maté's work has gained an international reputation and he frequently sells out appearances as a speaker. Lately he has been well known for taking drug addicts on retreat in Mexico where he gives them the drug/natural remedy ayuasca to get them off drugs. He is author of four books translated into nearly twenty languages worldwide.
Gabor has agreed to work with us on a unique performance. His talks often sell out, a demonstration of how popular and respected he is. Now in semi-retirement he is pleased to work with us to disseminate his ideas wider.
The performance comes in two distinct parts.
The first half consists of a "Ryeberg" that Rita Bozi has written and delivered on the subject of Hungarians, depression, suicide, genetic inheritance and the impact of stress on the unborn child. Part Youtube video, part discursive essay, Ryeberg is the brain child of Toronto writer Erik Rutherford.
Gabor will emerge from the closing video for a short dance piece separating the two halves. The second half, will consist of a talk by Gabor followed by an interactive dialogue between Gabor, Rita and the audience on the subject of genetic inheritance and its relationship to addiction and depression.
We anticipate the entire performance to last 90 minutes.