Exploration and Development

Development of Theatre Artists
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By interweaving movement, text, music, dance and image, and by drawing on the techniques and conventions of popular and international theatre forms, we augment the power of theatrical language. We experiment to find, for each work, the most resonant and expressive theatrical approach, extending the frontiers of our medium

Each season Odyssey provides unique workshops for performers in special skills. The Company’s Artistic Director gives workshops in mask, Commedia and improvisation. We also invite artists from across the country and abroad to provide workshops and collaborate on projects. Guest artists have included:

Richard Pochinko –Theatre Resource, Toronto; Felix Mirbt – director, mask and puppet-maker, Montreal; Alberto Fortuzzi – Mimoteatromvimento, Rome; Kevin McKendrick – Arrêté Physical Comedy Troupe, Calgary; Dean Gilmour – Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Toronto; Kim Selady – Axis Mime Theatre, Vancouver; Fiona Griffiths – Threatre Resource Centre, Toronto; Bill Rowatt – Dell’Arte Players, California; William Lau – Pear Tree Garden Collective, Montreal; Karen Rodd – Mask-maker, Toronto; Xing Bang Fu – Panda Dance Theatre, Toronto; Valerie Dean – Cirque Du Soleil, Montreal; Rukmal Gunasekera – American Sri Lankan Dance OrganizationAnne-Marie Gaston – Cultural HorizonsPeter Ryan – Dance NetworkNatalie Stern– Ottawa School of Speech and DramaMarie-Nathalie Lacoursière – Théâtre Lavalière et Jabot, Montreal; Piyasara Shilpadipathy – Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka; Robin Patterson – Theatre Beyond WordsPeter Chin – choreographer; Ted Robinson– 10 Gates Dancing; and Pierrette Venne – La Gros Valise, Montreal. Laurie Steven, the Artistic Director, has furthered her training through study with Nicolas Serreau– Comédie de GenèvePhilippe Gaulier – École Philippe Gaulier, Paris; and Ariane Mnouchkine – Théâtre du Soleil, Paris.

New Play Development
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Odyssey is strongly committed to developing original Canadian work and has a history of taking new plays into full production. Our New Play Creation Program gives writers the opportunity to work in a supportive environment to create original work and have it produced. We offer workshops in writing for mask and movement-based theatre. We provide extensive dramaturgical assistance to writers engaged in creating new work for the Company and have a Writer-in-Residence position. During the winter months we hold workshops for original plays, give public work-in-progress performances and organize readings of works in development with invited artists.

We have developed a collaborative approach to creating new work that involves a high degree of input from all artists working on the project. Masks are made for the characters. Actors develop their characters working with masks, and the script evolves through a process of improvisation and collaborative writing. This participatory approach to the creation of new plays is a challenging and enriching experience for the artists involved. We have brought 24 original plays and new translations to full production.

Performance Labs
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Begun in 2001, this program provides Odyssey with workshop time to engage in radical experimentation with our theatrical form to discover new dimensions to our performance language. We hold a workshop at an early stage in the development of the text to explore the peformance approach and determine its impact on the evolution of the play.

Our first Lab was with internationally recognized choreographer Peter Chin to explore Peter’s post-modern choreographic interpretation of Indonesian dance-drama and its impact on the development of Lib Spry’s Bungsu and the Big Snake. Last season we worked with Piyasara Shilpadipathy on Kolam, an ancient form of Sri Lankan theatre with its roots in devil dancing.

Invigorating for performers, a testing ground of ides for directors and choreographers, inspiring for writers, the Performance Lab provides artists the opportunity to investigate theatrical approaches and evolve them well in advance of their future application.

Original Works
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Bungsu and the Big Snake – 2006; by Lib Spry, in collaboration with Odyssey artists and dramaturge Laurie Steven; in Strathcona Park.

Kamalay – 1998; scenario by Laurie Steven, collaborative creation with writer Lib Spry and dramaturge Chetyan Rajani; in Strathcona Park.

The Audition II – 1996; collective creation with dramaturge Robert Marinier; in the Studio of the National Arts Centre.

Turandot – 1995; scenario by Laurie Steven, collaborative creation with writer Lib Spry and dramaturge Liang Tee Tue; in Strathcona Park.

The Audition I – 1995; Collective creation; at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

The Czar’s Daughter-in-Law was a Frog – 1992; scenario by Laurie Steven, collaborative creation with writer Ken Ross and dramaturge Stephen Bush; in Strathcona Park.

The Diplomat – 1990; scenario by Kim Selody, collective creation; in Strathcona Park.

Moonlight Mischief – 1989; scenario by Laurie Steven, collective creation; in Strathcona Park.

Isabella’s Fortune – 1988; scenario by F. Scala, collective creation with dramaturge Alberto Fortuzzi; in Strathcona Park.

Original Translations/Adaptations
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Scapin – 2005; translation/adaptation by Laurie Steven and Joanne Miller

The Wedding – 2004; translation by James R. Brandon, adaptation by Laurie Steven

The Raven – 2000; translation/adaptation Lib Spry and Laurie Steven

False Confessions – 1999; translation/ adaptation Joanne Miller and Laurie Steven

The Miser – 1997; translation/adaptation Lib Spry and Laurie Steven

Ondine – 1996; translation/adaptation Joanne Miller and Laurie Steven

Don Juan – 1993; translation/adaptation Joanne Miller and Laurie Steven

The Green Bird – 1991; adaptation Laurie Steven, music and lyrics Tim Kohout.