Event Category: Performance

Monomyths Stage 11 / 2894 Refusal of Monomyths / claude wittmann

Cover of Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

FADO Performance Art Centre presents
In Association with The Theatre Centre

Stage 11: Refusal of the Return
2894: Refusal of MONOMYTHs by claude wittmann

Tickets: $10 donation (available at door only)
Audience is welcome to come and go throughout the performance
The theatre is wheelchair accessible.
***This event will be ASL interpreted.***

claude wittmann’s on-going project entitled “2894” asks participants to read outloud from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report (TRC report, 2015.) Each participant reads the report to a live streaming radio station with the aid of a cell phone and streaming software provided by the artist. Readers start where the last one left and read as much as they want. Sometimes the readings take place in a specific location, but mostly, participants may read anywhere they choose–in their homes, or in public. Participants read as much or as little as they can. Listeners can similarly be anywhere, listening on any device at any time. The connection of the radio provides a special kind of intimacy between readers and listeners. This project started in April 2016. It is on-going, until the entire report (all 2894 pages) has been read or until the project transforms into something more relevant to social change. 2894 is not a Truth and Reconciliation project. It is a Truth project. It is currently co-managed by claude wittmann and Adam Herst.

In this iteration for MONOMYTHS, entitled “2894: Refusal of MONOMYTHs”, claude and Adam facilitate a 3-hour reading session at The Theatre Centre. Audience is invited to attend to listen to readings of the report. Audience is invited to become readers should they wish to. Readers read as much or as little as they choose, to the assembled audience of witnesses.

“It is when I perceive myself as completely separate from others, incapable of knowing them, that I feel their and my human vulnerability and mortality and our equality. However much empathy I am able of, there is always something that my bodymind can’t receive or face of or with the other. There is always separation. A cold air of death. A beautiful hair of death. Death. Safe death. Even if I deny it. Even if I start to invent my own narrative. Even if I believe in this narrative. Even if this narrative is useful for my own therapy. Even when it apparently naturally shape-shifts into a “hero’s journey”. Especially when I start to believe that I can “help”. Especially, when I start to feel justified tocolonize
and erase the other.”
~claude wittmann

To read more about the work:

ABOUT claude wittmann
claude wittmann was born in Switzerland where he worked as a molecular biologist and now lives in Toronto; works as a bicycle mechanic and in performance art. his most recent projects include Radio-Equals (one-on-one egalitarian conversations about equality, broadcast on FM radio and/or internet radio) and 2894 (participative reading on an internet radio of the Truth and Reconciliation’s Commission report). claude is concerned by the (in)ability of art in triggering social change.

MONOMYTHS invites a diverse collection of artists, scholars, and activists to revise Joseph Campbell’s conception of the hero’s journey through performance art, lectures, workshops, and other offerings. This new assemblage of non-linear un-narratives proposes a cultural, political and social feminist re-visioning of the world. The MONOMYTHS perception of the universal journey dispels the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his demons–both inner and outer–in consideration of community, collectivity, and collaboration.

Joseph Campbell’s influential book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) prescribes a common pattern to all of the world’s mythic narratives. According to this fundamental structure, the archetypal hero is challenged to embark on a monumental quest. Over the course of the hero’s journey, trials and obstacles must be overcome until a victory is won and the hero returns home with new knowledge about himself and the world. Campbell’s concept of the monomyth (‘one myth’) is a recognizable motif in both ancient mythology and contemporary culture, including film, music, literature, sports, and advertising. A current trend in popular visual culture replaces the male character with a female one, in spite of the fact that our heroine–from the get-go–would make different choices if the conditions, and conditioning, allowed. While each MONOMYTHS stage stands alone, the work of each presenting artist is interdependent and connected. These independent visions, when stitched together through the audience’s collective presence, form an exquisite corpse of a larger experimental narrative.

The year-long MONOMYTHS project is presented in three sections starting in February 2016 and concluding in February 2017. The series is conceived and curated Jess Dobkin and Shannon Cochrane.

Part 1 (February 3–7, 2016)
Stage 1: The Ordinary World/Call to Adventure
Stage 2: Refusal of the Call
Stage 3: Meeting of the Mentor
Stage 4: Crossing the Threshold
Stage 5: Belly of the Whale

Part 2 (May 2016–January 2017)
Stage 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies
Stage 7: Ordeals
Stage 8: Atonement with the Father/State
Stage 9: Apotheosis/Journey to the Inmost Cave

Part 3 (February 15–19, 2017)
Stage 10: The Road Back
Stage 11: Refusal of the Return
Stage 12: Mistress of Two Worlds
Stage 13: Freedom to Live
Stage 14: The Return Home

Black Boys

Black Boys promo poster

Black Boys is created from the lives of three Black men seeking a deeper understanding of themselves, of each other, and of how they encounter the world. As they explore their unique identities on stage, they subvert the ways in which gender, sexuality, and race are performed. Theatrical and intimate, Black Boys weaves together the ensemble’s own personal stories in search of an integrated self and a radical imagination.

At the heart of Black Boys is Saga Collectif, an impressive ensemble of skilled young artists. The three performers – Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Tawiah Ben M’Carthy, and Thomas Olajide – have been seen on the stages of the Shaw Festival, the National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage, and the Stratford Festival, where Thomas received the Peter Donaldson Award. Stephen recently appeared in the Dora Award-winning double bill Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom (Canadian Stage) and Buddies audiences will remember Tawiah from his Dora Award-winning show Obaaberima. Director Jonathan Seinen has been the creative force behind such innovative indie productions as Unknown Soldier (lemonTree creations) and Like There’s No Tomorrow (Architect Theatre), while Dora Award-nominee Virgilia Griffith choreographs after establishing herself as a formidable performer in her own right, most recently in Obsidian Theatre’s production of Up the Garden Path.

Black Boys was developed in Buddies Residency Program, sponsored by BMO Financial


Buddies and Saga Collectif will be offering ASL-interpreted and audio-described performances of Black Boys.


The ASL-interpreted performance is Sunday, December 4. Pay-what-you-can tickets will be available at the door. Check out the ASL vlog for more information.


The audio-described performance is Tuesday, December 6. Pay-what-you-can tickets will be available at the door for patrons wishing to access audio description. Audio-description is transmitted over earphones, which will only be given out to patrons requiring them. Due to a limited number of headsets, we ask that you please call ahead to book your spot: 416-975-8555, or e-mail barry@buddiesinbadtimes.com.

A PDF copy of the show program is available here.

Directions to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre available here.

Audio description is provided by Live Describe (Rebecca Singh & Kat Germain), in consultation with Blind Community Consultant Jess Watkin and Accessibility consultant Rose Jacobson.


A Dream Play

A Dream Play performance still

Use the code “welcome” online or at the box office for two free tickets for either March 15th or 17th 1pm matinee
Box Office: online or tel. 416.736.5888

Theatre @ York’s 2016-17 season, focusing on the theme of Extraordinary Lives: Difference and Ability, culminates with a compelling contemporary take on A Dream Play by Swedish playwright August Strindberg, directed by David di Giovanni. The show previews Mar. 12 and 13, opens Mar. 14 and runs to Mar. 18 in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre at York University’s Keele campus. Wed. Mar. 15 at 1pm is a Relaxed performance and Fri. Mar. 17 at 1pm is an ASL interpreted performance. Strindberg, who wrote A Dream Play in 1901 following a near-psychotic episode, stated that it reflects “the disconnected but apparently logical form of a dream. Everything can happen; everything is possible.” Wild and whirling, sometimes bleak and sometimes funny, A Dream Play is ultimately enchanting. Characters multiply, divide and coalesce, just as they might do in a dream. And inside the frenzy of multiple characters and storylines that jump between memory and real-time, resonates a central chord of hope.

In the play, Agnes, a daughter of the gods, falls from heaven to Earth. Curious, she decides to investigate whether all our complaining about human suffering has merit. Endeavouring to become more human, she marries, has children, goes on vacation… but over time, the sting of living becomes potent. She decides she must return to heaven – only to realize that she cannot.

“Our Agnes is a war journalist who is hospitalized for suicidal tendencies and clinical depression, and we’re framing the play as if she is dreaming it,” di Giovanni said. “Over the course of her dream, she has to lose all hope and hit rock bottom before she can get up and work to climb again.”

Di Giovanni sets the play in 2008 – a time, he notes, of tremendous hope and despair, with Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can”, but also the year of the stock market crash, a declining manufacturing sector, the continuing ‘War on Terror’, and Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

“Today, in 2017, we’re still living with the repercussions and detritus of that turning point,” said di Giovanni. “And so, in keeping with our season’s theme of Difference and Ability, our production explores the invisible disabilities that may affect our ability to engage and take action: what we might call mental illness, clinical depression, PTSD, or even spiritual dampening. We’re looking at the challenges many of us face in interacting with society.”

With Extraordinary Lives: Difference and Ability, York’s Department of Department is working with members of the wider arts community to challenge traditionally ableist modes of making theatre, guided by an advisory panel of prominent Deaf, mad and “crip” artists who are serving as facilitators for the season. As part of this commitment, Relaxed and ASL interpreted performances have become an integral feature of Theatre @ York’s mainstage productions.

Theatre@York presents August Strindberg’s A Dream Play directed by David di Giovanni