“There’s business in these faces….” (Cymbeline, 5.5)

| In this issue:

“She was a vixen when she went to school…”
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3.2)

| Molly’s New Team Musings & Reading Notes

 Hi, my name is Molly, Repercussion Theatre’s new Communications Assistant and I am not a Shakespeare buff. Joining this company last month, welcomed with (socially-distanced) open arms, I felt obligated to plaster a nametag on my shirt revealing my literary shortcomings. This is not to say that I do not enjoy my fair share of Will’s words. I did play the infamous Iago in the not-so staged reading in my high school English class of Othello.

However, this is one of the stranger Septembers that the world has witnessed, in recent decades. Post-labour day no longer subjects me to the dreaded shopping lists, sandwich-making and schedule-following madness of “school”. Thus, as a new member of Montreal’s singular Shakespeare destination, I am embracing a new pedagogy: The Classics. Namely, the big guy Bill.

Where to start; do I reread the quintessential collection; the past Shakespeare-in-the-Park shows, or the lesser-knowns? There is something to be said about his not-so-Macbeth pieces, and why they never achieved the acclaim of their more popular counterparts. For instance, I was given the opportunity to glaze over Titus Andronicus for a discussion, which led me to Julie Taymor’s 1999 movie (moreso, the behind-the-scenes footage on YouTube).

In this lack of live theatre times, I’ve leaned heavily on the films and recordings of pre-quarantine shows, like Stratford Festival’s collection, catching The Taming of the Shrew, and Love’s Labour Lost, and Coriolanus, more of Will’s quieter plays (not for insufficient volume from Katherine in 2015’s Shrew, played by Deborah Hay).

Luckily, I live with two dedicated thespians, who have collected numerous scripts, anthologies, and novels for my said “research”. Including a collected works from Repercussion’s newer homme de l’heure Molière. So, if you are looking for recommendations, take a look at our production history here, or dive like me into our COVID-interrupted show Les Fourberies de Scapin the Schemer.

Some forget that once “school” is over, and into adulthood, we must pursue erudition on our own volition. It can be tough to motivate, amidst our uncertain circumstances, but I hope that even if we are not writing King Lear as Shakespeare did during plague times, we are still consuming art in various facets, beit the museum en masque, public art, or settling into a good book (or play, in my case).

And, as the heat seemingly dissipates, however temporary, we are reminded of the cozier things: tea, blankets, warm light to read by. I hope this inspires you to enjoy some soliloquies and sonnets, and take a look below to see what our (new) team members are reading.

“… we know what we are, but not what we may be.”
(Hamlet, 4.5)

| Q&A – Company Activities

While you may be wondering what we’re all up to in, and out, of the Repercussion office, we also recognise that many may have questions about the fallout from our SITP cancellation, and the company’s subsequent pivoting. To allay some fears, and satisfying some curiosity, we’ve put together a little Q&A…

  • SITP is performed outdoors, why did you have to cancel the show? Isn’t your format perfect for physically distanced presentations?
    • Following safety and physical distancing practices to protect the health and wellbeing of our cast, company members, and public, mounting a staged production in any way resembling a normal SITP was simply unthinkable.  When, in April, the government of Québec cancelled all cultural activities, the hiatus was announced until the end of August, so we (and many other seasonal arts organisations) cancelled our plans and shifted gears. We were subsequently utterly unprepared for a governmental announcement of cultural events being back on in June. It was just too late at that point to start an entire process and be ready in time. We do believe it is possible to tour an engaging production successfully under COVID-19 restrictions, and we are working towards that for next year.

  • Will SITP be coming back next year?
    • We are committed to getting the show back on the road. While we aren’t entirely certain what form SITP 2021 will take, we’re working on making sure that audiences will get to revel in a compelling new production next summer.
  • Will you (re)mount the production scheduled for this year (Les fourberies de Scapin the Schemer)?
    • Scapin has been, for the moment, laid to rest – our 2021 production will not be a mounting of a postponed show, but a new project undertaken in consideration of the current conditions dictating the form and realities of live theatre.

  • Does Repercussion have an archive of past shows that we can watch online?
    • We typically film our SITP productions for archival purposes (canny audience members might have noticed select shows being recorded); however, that tape is neither shot nor cut to be viewed by a general public. What’s more, Repercussion Theatre cannot stream such content while honouring, in good faith, the several agreements we have with various artist/actor agencies.

  • Is there a silver lining to the pandemic shutdown for Repercussion?
    • There is indeed – Repercussion usually functions on a very tight cycle, moving from one year’s planning/pre-production/touring to the next with very little time to reflect deeply, or branch into non-SITP projects that we’ve had on the books for a long time. With some things slowing down during pandemic-times, we have been able to focus our energies differently. (Read on to learn about what we’re all busy working on.)

Donate Now

As Repercussion adapts to the profoundly altered arts landscape during this time of crisis, we humbly ask that you consider becoming a monthly donor, or making a charitable contribution.

Your valued patronage enables us to keep developing new works, kickstart theatre careers, and nurture strong community connections grounded by the arts.

Thank you.

“… we few, we happy few, we band of brothers!”
(Henry V, 4.3)

| Amidst the Arts – #ReperWorks Excitement

In a time when Repercussion would ordinarily be shifting gears to work on post-tour wrap-up, report writing, and debriefing to take stock of our summer run, we instead find ourselves busy with unprecedented projects. Here’s a glimpse of the latest Reper action, in the words of project leads themselves: 

“I’m in the depths of investigating what leadership in a creative environment looks like (like really, logistically). What tools are necessary to allow a team to show up as their full selves and do their best work? I pair this exploration with my current nightstand read: Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace. It’s Ed Catmull’s (one-third co-founder of Pixar) record of the elixir of candid, vulnerable, and risk-taking leadership that fosters healthy innovation in the workplace.”

– Samantha Bitonti, Artistic Associate

“For the past month I have been working on a new design for the Repercussion website, with the aim of making it more user friendly and more accessible. I am very excited to unveil the new website gradually over the next month.”

– Melis Cagan, Web Designer

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Volunteer Coordinator position during this time of restructuring and reimagining! I’ll be finding new ways for us to dialogue with our volunteers, as well as creating systems to make future tours much smoother for our volunteer teams.”

– Jake Cohen, Volunteer Coordinator

I’m really excited to be working on Repercussions Theatre’s Archive. This project has given me the opportunity to experience and share the past 30 years of the Theatre’s production history by managing and documenting a collection of audio visual materials, photographs and written documents from productions throughout the years to the present.”

– Charlotte Gunn, Archivist 

“This summer has given us a great opportunity to focus on improving the quality of Repercussion’s tools and touring equipment. With the benefit of time, we are able to ensure that next summer’s technical team kicks off the tour with a head start.” 

– Jacky Lalonde, Production Manager

“I have been ruminating about what classical theatre means outside of the Western lens – how do other continents, countries and communities view Shakespeare? Specifically, I’ve been looking into how Shakespeare ties into traditional African storytelling. I have had They Came Before Columbus (by Ivan Van Sertima) on my bookshelf for a while, I finally picked it up a few weeks back and it’s really got my mind racing about thinking about what parts of history have been left out.”

– Rachel Mutombo, Artistic Associate

“Since starting with Repercussion in August, I’ve been focusing on improving our donor relations! I want to make every donor know how much we appreciate their support. My current read is Beloved by Toni Morrison. Morrison’s narrative in this book underscores the important of storytelling and reminds us to listen to those whose voices might not be amplified.”

– Jane O’Brien Davis, Development Assistant

“Strong reasons make strong actions.”
(King John, 3.4)

| Amanda’s Note to Donors

This is a challenging time for everyone.

The live performing arts industry in particular has been devastated by this pandemic, and will likely be one of the last to fully reopen and recover. 

Fortunately, Repercussion’s main arts council funding (municipal and provincial) for this year has remained in place and we have been able to benefit from wage subsidies and emergency assistance from all three levels of government. This has allowed us to employ as many people as we can (for various lengths of time) and engage in much-needed repair and renewal work that we don’t always have time for.

But as we look ahead to an uncertain future and prepare to create live theatre in the time of COVID-19, it is clear that we cannot do it without the support of donors like you. If you are in a position to give and you hope to see Repercussion return to a park near you next summer, please consider making a donation (or better yet, become a monthly donor)!