PerformingSpring 2017

Aleš Březina
Composer, Czech Republic
Alon Nashman
Librettist / Performer, Canada
Pamela Howard
Scenographer / Metteur en Scène, UK

The Miracle of Charlotte Salomon

Life? Or Theatre? is the name that Berlin born Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon gave to a sequence of nearly 800 gouaches accompanied by text and musical references that she produced between 1940 and 1942. Before her deportation to Auschwitz at age 26, she handed the work to a local physician, with the message: "Take good care of this... it is my whole life." Miraculously, her extraordinary magnum opus survived.

Charlotte was a playwright without a stage, a graphic novelist before such a thing existed, a young woman struggling to claim her voice and affirm her existence. Through painting, text and music, she chronicled the inner life of a young woman coming of age during the rise of Nazism and under the shadow of family tragedies.

Life? Or Theatre?... With its themes of art, love, memory, identity, and history... powerfully resonates today. It has been adapted for the stage and screen, transformed into opera and ballet, puppetry and literature. However, it has yet to be fully realized as a "singspiel," a Play with Music, the performance style Charlotte envisioned.

Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music is a multi-national collaboration with a core creative team from Canada, UK, and Czech Republic, plus seven actor-singers and four musician-performers. The essential quality of our chamber musical is the total synchronicity of word, image, and music. It is conceived as an art installation inhabited by performers in which Charlotte's paintings come to life. Each moment flows into the next much like the waves of the sea in the final images of Charlotte’s Life? Or Theatre?

Award-winning Canadian librettist Alon Nashman conveys the absurdity, stumbling adolescence, and precocious romance that shaped Salomon’s early life, alongside the feverish creativity of her years in exile. Acclaimed Czech composer Aleš Březina has composed an original score essential to the soul-baring narrative. Scenographer / Metteur en Sceène Pamela Howard, author of the seminal book “What is Scenography?”, literally draws theatre in a manner similar to Charlotte, painting the stage with colour and light such that the audience will experience Charlotte’s world being formed before their eyes.

Creating a 3D World from Custom Hand Painting

The interpretation of the three-dimensional world of Charlotte Salomon is being manufactured by Domus Idea in Vilnius, Lithuania, using a combination of laser technology in thin Baltic Ply and cardboard in a flat pack system, with hand painting by Pamela Howard.

Performance Dates

June 1, 2017

Isabel Bader Centre

Kingston, Ontario

Tickets

June 16-18, 2017

Luminato Festival

Toronto, Ontario

Tickets

June 30 - July 2, 2017

World Stage Design Scenofest

Taipei, Taiwan

Tickets

Creative Team & Collaboration

Plus a company of seven actors and four musicians drawn from music theatre, opera and indie music

Pamela Howard

Scenographer/Metteur en Scène, UK

 Personal website

Professor Pamela Howard OBE has worked as a Stage Designer in the UK, Europe and USA since 1960 and has realised over 250 productions.

She has worked at all the major national and regional theatres and created several large scale site-specific works in Glasgow with the late John McGrath. She is a co-creator with Edwin Erminy of Opera Transatlantica (Venezuela/London), a company dedicated to contemporary music theatre stories exploring cultural diversity.

Since 2000, she has been developing her work as Director/Scenographer specializing in contemporary opera and music theatre, with a particular interest in site specific and sustainable theatre.

Selected Teaching: International Chair in Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff. Visiting Professor, Arts University Bournemouth UK.

Selected Credits: 2016 - ongoing "Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music" (director/scenographer) - Development for production in 2017.

2016 "Tonight at the Museum - Charlie Chaplin!" (director/scenographer) - Original creation performed at the Cinema Museum London (former Workhouse) with writer Gillian Plowman and choreographer Chris Butler.

2016 "Drawing Theatre" - Exhibition of 6 works with music in the Crab Drawing Studio Arts University Bournemouth. Publication of Drawing Theatre book (Text/Edit pub.).

2016 “Atomic Landscapes” (Curator) - An exhibition of metal Collages by Ralph Koltai CBE. Linbury Gallery, Cardiff.

2016 "Last Train to Tomorrow" Director (Composer/Conductor Carl Davis), Chichester Cathedral. Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.

2015 "Carmen" (Bizet) - New production for National Opera Ljubljana, Slovenia.

2014/15 "Charlotte" Workshop - A new music/theatre original creation with Alon Nashman (Librettist/Performer) and Aleš Březina (Composer) for Canadian Stage Company, Toronto.

2014 "The End of the Journey" - An installation with performance for WWI commemoration, Selsey, West Sussex, UK.

2013 "The New Jerusalem" - Original site-specific music/theatre piece with music composed by Rod Paton, staged at the Pavilion Tea Rooms, Stansted Park, Hampshire, UK.

2013 "The Spirit of Brouček" - Installation Finalist World Stage Design exhibition, Cardiff.

2013 "The Mystery of Space" - Distinguished Artists Lecture, University of Hull.

2012 "The Art of Chichester Festival Theatre" - Interactive exhibition/installation, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

2011/12 "The Rise and Fall of Dr. Pustrpalk, the Charlatan Doctor" - Three excerpts from the opera "Śarlatán" (Pavel Haas), English libretto by Pavel Drabek. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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Aleš Březina

Composer, Czech Republic

 Personal website

Czech Aleš Březina was born in 1965. He studied violin at the Pilsen Conservatoire and musicology at universities in Prague, Basel and Berlin.

Operas and Music

For theatre, Březina has won two Alfréd Radok Awards and garnered numerous nominations for his two chamber operas and other works for music theatre. In theatre, he has collaborated with Robert Wilson, Jiří Ornest, and Jiří Nekvasil, amongst many others. Together with the librettist and stage director Jiří Nekvasil, he created a full-length opera about the 1950 political show trial of Milada Horáková, Tomorrow There Will Be... From its premiere in April 2008 at the Kolowrat Theatre in Prague until June 2013, the production of this opera has earned 86 sold-out performances in Prague and throughout the Czech Republic; in Nitra, Slovakia; in Wroclaw; and in Helsinki. This production was filmed by Jan Hřebejk in 2010.

Aleš Březina received another Alfréd Radok’s Award in 2010 for his music for Karel Čapek’s drama, The Makropulos Case, staged by Robert Wilson at the National Theatre in Prague (in 2012 it opened the Naples Theatre Festival). He composed incidental music to another Robert Wilson production, 1914, that was staged at the National Theatre in Prague in 2014 (and nominated for a Czech Theater Critics Award) and travelled to Reims, Linz, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade.

In September 2010, his full-length visual music theatrical experience called Mucha’s Slav Epic (libretto by Šimon Caban) premiered at the Municipal Theatre in Brno. In 2012, his music for Shakespeare’s King Lear, staged at the National Theatre in Prague, was also nominated for an Alfréd Radok’s Award. In 2012, he composed music for production of Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro (directed by Michal Dočekal at the National Theatre in Prague). Most recently, he composed music for the theatre project Arch of Hope (libretto by Martin Vačkář, directed by Jana Kališová), which opened in České Budějovice in December 2015.

Film music

Aleš Březina has composed music for more than 20 films directed by Jan Hřebejk, Petr Zelenka, Dagmar Knöpfel, Jiří Menzel and others. He was nominated for the Czech Lion Award three times for his music for the film Kawasaki’s Rose (directed by Jan Hřebejk), which also earned him a nomination for the European Film Composer Award in 2010. His soundtracks have been published by Sony Bonton Music and Milan Records in Paris. Currently, Březina is working on the music for the movie Milada, written and directed by David Mrnka.

Concert music

Březina’s orchestral compositions and his melodramas and suites from his film and theatre music have been played by Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlín, Prague Chamber Orchestra, the North Czech Philharmonic Teplice, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg Symphonic Orchestra, Guarneri Trio Prague, Dvořák Trio and others. His other compositions include the melodrama A-ha!, Agnus dei for three countertenors and string quintet, the piano trio, Kawasaki ́s Rose, composed for the Guarneri Trio, Prague (world premiere 2011 in Basel, Czech premiere 2012 in Prague’s Rudolfinum), and the piano cycle, Reperkuse (premiere 2009, Prague).

read more
Alon Nashman

Librettist/Performer, Canada

 Personal website

Alon Nashman is a performer, director, creator, and producer of theatre and has worked with theatres across the country and around the world.

Selected credits include: The Summoned, Much Ado About Nothing, Forests, Scorched (Dora Nomination, Dora Award: Outstanding Production), Democracy, Remnants (Dora Award: Outstanding Production) Alias Godot, (Tarragon Theatre), Talley’s Folly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Resurgence), Hedda Gabler (Volcano/Buddies in Bad Times), The Wild Duck (Soulpepper), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Dora Award: Outstanding Production) (Birdland Theatre), Botticelli in the Fire/Sunday in Sodom (Dora Award: Outstanding Production), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Dora Nomination), THIS (Toronto Theatre Critic’s Award, Dora Nomination) (Canadian Stage), Macbeth (Modern Times), This Hotel, Wedding Day at the Cromagnons (Theatre Passe Muraille), Howl (Threshold / Buddies in Bad Times), If Jesus Met Nanabush (De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre), The Barber of Seville (Persephone Theatre), Easy Lenny Lazmon and the Great Western Ascension (Dora Award: Outstanding Production) (Go Chicken Go), Reading Hebron, A Short History of Night, Restitution, and Singapore (Factory Theatre), None is Too Many (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre / MTC), Hotel Loopy (Theatre Columbus), and The Hobbit (Young People’s Theatre). Alon was a principal actor/director with the “Shakespeare and The Queen’s Men Project” at the University of Toronto, and Narrator/Storyteller in Tales of Two Cities with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Theaturtle was established by Alon in 1999 to create essential, ecstatic theatre that touches the earth and agitates the soul. Under the banner of Theaturtle Alon has been involved with the creation, production and touring of numerous significant theatre pieces. Among these are Adam Nashman’s The Song, featuring Alon and Deborah Hay; Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse, in the Toronto Fringe, with Theatre Direct and on tour to Edinburgh (nominated for Dora and Brickenden Awards); Kafka and Son developed with Mark Cassidy of Threshold Theatre, based on Franz Kafka’s “Letter to His Father.” Kafka and Son has toured with acclaim across Canada, to the National Theatre of Iceland, the Edinburgh Fringe, The Hague, Budapest, London, Prague (Outstanding Performance Award), Germany’s Thespis Festival (Jury Prize), Ankara International Theatre Festival, and twice to South Africa’s National Arts Festival; The Snow Queen (Dora Nominations for Outstanding Production and Performance), scored for string quartet and narrator by Patrick Cardy, and directed by Alon, was developed in collaboration with the Banff Centre for the Arts. The Snow Queen has been presented by Toronto’s Young Centre, Ottawa Chamber Music, Calgary ProMusica, Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise, and Vancouver’s Music in the Morning. In 2009 Alon directed a workshop production of a vibrant new play with music, Noah’s Great Rainbow by Sam Chaiton, music by Mighty Popo, Waleed Abdulhamid and David Buchbinder. With Paul Thompson, Alon developed Hirsch about legendary director John Hirsch. The play premiered at the Stratford Festival of Canada, where it was reviewed positively by the New York Times and seen by the likes of Maggie Smith. Hirsch has toured to Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria, Edinburgh, and South Africa.

Alon was invited to participate in Stratford’s Playwrights’ Retreat 2015. He is currently developing three projects with Theaturtle, including CHARLOTTE: A tri-coloured play with music, with UK based scenographer/director Pamela Howard, and Czech composer Aleš Březina.

read more

Cast

Thom ALLISON: Grandfather / Faculty Member / Minister of Propaganda / Herr Schmidt

Ariana CHRIS: Paulinka Bimbam

Adanya DUNN: Charlotte Kann / Woman Protestor

Derek KWAN: Albert Kann / Pope

Kelly McCORMACK: Concierge / Birgit, a Maid / Usher / Barbara

Alon NASHMAN: Amadeus Daberlohn

Xin WANG: Franziska / Grandmother / Woman Protestor

Musicians

Peter TIEFENBACH: Keyboards / Dr. Singsong

Lori FREEDMAN: Clarinets / Tante Hedwig

Erika NIELSEN: Cello / Woman Protester

Ben PROMANE: Trumpets / Uncle Walter

Creative Team

Aleš BŘEZINA: Composer

Alon NASHMAN: Librettist

Pamela HOWARD: Director / Scenographer

Peter TIEFENBACH: Music Director

Patrick LAVENDER: Lighting Designer

Marie-Josée CHARTIER: Movement Director

Kaitlin HICKEY: Production Manager

Sydney CAVANAGH: Head of Wardrobe

Care ROBERTSON: Head of Props

Camie KOO: Production Assistant

Andrea BAGGS: Stage Manager

Ellen AHN: Assistant Director

Arts Partner

Pamela Howard

Scenographer/Metteur en Scène, UK

 Personal website

Professor Pamela Howard OBE has worked as a Stage Designer in the UK, Europe and USA since 1960 and has realised over 250 productions. She has worked at all the major national and regional theatres and created several large scale site-specific works in Glasgow with the late John McGrath. She is a co-creator with Edwin Erminy of Opera Transatlantica (Venezuela/London), a company dedicated to contemporary music theatre stories exploring cultural diversity.

Since 2000, she has been developing her work as Director/Scenographer specializing in contemporary opera and music theatre, with a particular interest in site specific and sustainable theatre.

Selected Teaching: International Chair in Drama, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff. Visiting Professor, Arts University Bournemouth UK.

Selected Credits: 2016 - ongoing "Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music" (director/scenographer) - Development for production in 2017.

2016 "Tonight at the Museum - Charlie Chaplin!" (director/scenographer) - Original creation performed at the Cinema Museum London (former Workhouse) with writer Gillian Plowman and choreographer Chris Butler.

2016 "Drawing Theatre" - Exhibition of 6 works with music in the Crab Drawing Studio Arts University Bournemouth. Publication of Drawing Theatre book (Text/Edit pub.).

2016 “Atomic Landscapes” (Curator) - An exhibition of metal Collages by Ralph Koltai CBE. Linbury Gallery, Cardiff.

2016 "Last Train to Tomorrow" Director (Composer/Conductor Carl Davis), Chichester Cathedral. Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.

2015 "Carmen" (Bizet) - New production for National Opera Ljubljana, Slovenia.

2014/15 "Charlotte" Workshop - A new music/theatre original creation with Alon Nashman (Librettist/Performer) and Aleš Březina (Composer) for Canadian Stage Company, Toronto.

2014 "The End of the Journey" - An installation with performance for WWI commemoration, Selsey, West Sussex, UK.

2013 "The New Jerusalem" - Original site-specific music/theatre piece with music composed by Rod Paton, staged at the Pavilion Tea Rooms, Stansted Park, Hampshire, UK.

2013 "The Spirit of Brouček" - Installation Finalist World Stage Design exhibition, Cardiff.

2013 "The Mystery of Space" - Distinguished Artists Lecture, University of Hull.

2012 "The Art of Chichester Festival Theatre" - Interactive exhibition/installation, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

2011/12 "The Rise and Fall of Dr. Pustrpalk, the Charlatan Doctor" - Three excerpts from the opera "Śarlatán" (Pavel Haas), English libretto by Pavel Drabek. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Aleš Březina

Composer, Czech Republic

 Personal website

Czech Aleš Březina was born in 1965. He studied violin at the Pilsen Conservatoire and musicology at universities in Prague, Basel and Berlin.

Operas and Music

For theatre, Březina has won two Alfréd Radok Awards and garnered numerous nominations for his two chamber operas and other works for music theatre. In theatre, he has collaborated with Robert Wilson, Jiří Ornest, and Jiří Nekvasil, amongst many others. Together with the librettist and stage director Jiří Nekvasil, he created a full-length opera about the 1950 political show trial of Milada Horáková, Tomorrow There Will Be... From its premiere in April 2008 at the Kolowrat Theatre in Prague until June 2013, the production of this opera has earned 86 sold-out performances in Prague and throughout the Czech Republic; in Nitra, Slovakia; in Wroclaw; and in Helsinki. This production was filmed by Jan Hřebejk in 2010.

Aleš Březina received another Alfréd Radok’s Award in 2010 for his music for Karel Čapek’s drama, The Makropulos Case, staged by Robert Wilson at the National Theatre in Prague (in 2012 it opened the Naples Theatre Festival). He composed incidental music to another Robert Wilson production, 1914, that was staged at the National Theatre in Prague in 2014 (and nominated for a Czech Theater Critics Award) and travelled to Reims, Linz, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade.

In September 2010, his full-length visual music theatrical experience called Mucha’s Slav Epic (libretto by Šimon Caban) premiered at the Municipal Theatre in Brno. In 2012, his music for Shakespeare’s King Lear, staged at the National Theatre in Prague, was also nominated for an Alfréd Radok’s Award. In 2012, he composed music for production of Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro (directed by Michal Dočekal at the National Theatre in Prague). Most recently, he composed music for the theatre project Arch of Hope (libretto by Martin Vačkář, directed by Jana Kališová), which opened in České Budějovice in December 2015.

Film music

Aleš Březina has composed music for more than 20 films directed by Jan Hřebejk, Petr Zelenka, Dagmar Knöpfel, Jiří Menzel and others. He was nominated for the Czech Lion Award three times for his music for the film Kawasaki’s Rose (directed by Jan Hřebejk), which also earned him a nomination for the European Film Composer Award in 2010. His soundtracks have been published by Sony Bonton Music and Milan Records in Paris. Currently, Březina is working on the music for the movie Milada, written and directed by David Mrnka.

Concert music

Březina’s orchestral compositions and his melodramas and suites from his film and theatre music have been played by Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlín, Prague Chamber Orchestra, the North Czech Philharmonic Teplice, the Hradec Králové Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburg Symphonic Orchestra, Guarneri Trio Prague, Dvořák Trio and others. His other compositions include the melodrama A-ha!, Agnus dei for three countertenors and string quintet, the piano trio, Kawasaki ́s Rose, composed for the Guarneri Trio, Prague (world premiere 2011 in Basel, Czech premiere 2012 in Prague’s Rudolfinum), and the piano cycle, Reperkuse (premiere 2009, Prague).

Alon Nashman

Librettist/Performer, Canada

 Personal website

Alon Nashman is a performer, director, creator, and producer of theatre. Since graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada, Alon has worked with theatres across the country and around the world.

Selected credits include: The Summoned, Much Ado About Nothing, Forests, Scorched (Dora Nomination, Dora Award: Outstanding Production), Democracy, Remnants (Dora Award: Outstanding Production) Alias Godot, (Tarragon Theatre), Talley’s Folly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Resurgence), Hedda Gabler (Volcano/Buddies in Bad Times), The Wild Duck (Soulpepper), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Dora Award: Outstanding Production) (Birdland Theatre), Botticelli in the Fire/Sunday in Sodom (Dora Award: Outstanding Production), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Dora Nomination), THIS (Toronto Theatre Critic’s Award, Dora Nomination) (Canadian Stage), Macbeth (Modern Times), This Hotel, Wedding Day at the Cromagnons (Theatre Passe Muraille), Howl (Threshold / Buddies in Bad Times), If Jesus Met Nanabush (De-ba-jeh-mu-jig Theatre), The Barber of Seville (Persephone Theatre), Easy Lenny Lazmon and the Great Western Ascension (Dora Award: Outstanding Production) (Go Chicken Go), Reading Hebron, A Short History of Night, Restitution, and Singapore (Factory Theatre), None is Too Many (Winnipeg Jewish Theatre / MTC), Hotel Loopy (Theatre Columbus), and The Hobbit (Young People’s Theatre). Alon was a principal actor/director with the “Shakespeare and The Queen’s Men Project” at the University of Toronto, and Narrator/Storyteller in Tales of Two Cities with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Theaturtle was established by Alon in 1999 to create essential, ecstatic theatre that touches the earth and agitates the soul. Under the banner of Theaturtle Alon has been involved with the creation, production and touring of numerous significant theatre pieces. Among these are Adam Nashman’s The Song, featuring Alon and Deborah Hay; Wajdi Mouawad’s Alphonse, in the Toronto Fringe, with Theatre Direct and on tour to Edinburgh (nominated for Dora and Brickenden Awards); Kafka and Son developed with Mark Cassidy of Threshold Theatre, based on Franz Kafka’s “Letter to His Father.” Kafka and Son has toured with acclaim across Canada, to the National Theatre of Iceland, the Edinburgh Fringe, The Hague, Budapest, London, Prague (Outstanding Performance Award), Germany’s Thespis Festival (Jury Prize), Ankara International Theatre Festival, and twice to South Africa’s National Arts Festival; The Snow Queen (Dora Nominations for Outstanding Production and Performance), scored for string quartet and narrator by Patrick Cardy, and directed by Alon, was developed in collaboration with the Banff Centre for the Arts. The Snow Queen has been presented by Toronto’s Young Centre, Ottawa Chamber Music, Calgary ProMusica, Ice Magic Festival in Lake Louise, and Vancouver’s Music in the Morning. In 2009 Alon directed a workshop production of a vibrant new play with music, Noah’s Great Rainbow by Sam Chaiton, music by Mighty Popo, Waleed Abdulhamid and David Buchbinder. With Paul Thompson, Alon developed Hirsch about legendary director John Hirsch. The play premiered at the Stratford Festival of Canada, where it was reviewed positively by the New York Times and seen by the likes of Maggie Smith. Hirsch has toured to Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria, Edinburgh, and South Africa.

Alon was invited to participate in Stratford’s Playwrights’ Retreat 2015. He is currently developing three projects with Theaturtle, including CHARLOTTE: A tri-coloured play with music, with UK based scenographer/director Pamela Howard, and Czech composer Aleš Březina.