commonplacetheatre presents No Bombs on Mondays (or, the Dandelion Queen) at The Collective Space from June 1 – 10, 2017. The play, written by Devon Allen Jackson, is commonplacetheatre’s second production of their 2017 season where all of the shows have been written by emerging Canadian Playwrights.
To learn more about commonplacetheatre, their goals, and their upcoming show, Artistic Director Chantel Martin is featured in this 5 Questions With... series.
HM: For those not familiar with commonplacetheatre, can you tell us how your company came about?
Chantel Martin (CM): I started the company in Kingston after I finished my undergrad degree and still wanted to explore theatre, to start to push outside of the forms I felt comfortable with at school. I originally began the company to do one show (4.48 Psychosis) but then have just been so in love with the challenge of the logistics and the creative aspects of running my own little company that I’ve kept going. I moved to Toronto in the Fall and it was like starting all over again – so it’s been great to dip my toes into the Toronto theatre scene and try to make a mark with my first season here.
HM: In working with emerging artists, what do appeals to you as Artistic Director/Producer?
CM: I love working with a mix of people, some who have had a number of opportunities to learn and grow as an emerging artist and some who are taking on their first project outside of school. It allows everyone to learn from and challenge each other. I enjoy finding peoples strengths and playing to those but also really trying to weed out where they need the most growth and trying to offer them opportunities to really push themselves. I’m always looking for people who are willing to go with whatever is thrown their way – that’s how I try to work as an artist and so tend to look for one big challenge in each show we need to face together as a team.
HM: How would you describe the upcoming No Bombs on Mondays (or, The Dandelion Queen)?
CM: This show is such a beautifully written piece – it fits such a full story into such a short script that we had an amazing time in rehearsal trying to tease out all of the layers. This play is the story of two kids who are trying to find where they belong in the world, but are also faced with the harsh realities of living in a war zone. Devon created two worlds for us to explore so we can really showcase the shift in our main characters’ relationship. We get to see them before war has broken out when they first become friends and then a few years later while they’re in the thick of an insurgent attack, leading to an in-depth look into how war can affect two young people.
HM: This is a new work by Devon Allen Jackson. Can you describe how the two of you worked together to bring this story to the stage?
CM: I have known Devon for quite some time and have always wanted to direct a piece of his – so when he submitted a show to be considered for commonplacetheatre’s 2017 Season, I couldn’t turn it down. He is such a gifted playwright, and his characters are so full of life that it makes exploring his work such an adventure. He submitted this piece fully written and was there during the beginning of our rehearsal process as we started to create the world as a team – but he was great, since he allowed me to set a vision for his piece and jump right into it. So I’m very excited for him to see the finished product!
HM: What can Toronto audiences look forward to from commonplacetheatre in the near future?
CM: We launched our 2017 Season in the winter to include 3 works by emerging playwrights; The Seer by Zach Closs which opened in April, No Bombs on Mondays (or, The Dandelion Queen) which runs June 1-3, 8-10, and then our third show of the season is Grief Circus by Crystal Wood which will be directed by Kendra Jones in October. I’m very happy with this first season that I’ve launched here in Toronto so look forward to launching a 2018 Season this winter!
commonplacetheatre aims to produce bold, innovative theatre, rooted in collaboration. Support these emerging artists and their works by venturing to their current production No Bombs on Mondays (or, The Dandelion Queen). For information on tickets, and venue details, please go to commonplacetheatre.com.