“Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven’t heard before.”
-John Cage, American composer
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“... the wonderfully gamin Bill Coleman ... proved to me that he can coax squirrels out of trees and break hearts even while he makes them soar. In three decades...this ranks as one of the most intimate and moving pieces of theatre this reviewer has ever experienced.”
John Coulbourn, The Toronto Sun
In Dollhouse, internationally renowned dancer/choreographer Bill Coleman inhabits an installation created by celebrated avant-garde composer Gordon Monahan. Movement, tap dancing and performance art intermingle with manipulated objects – mechanical and electronic, handmade and found.
The result: a 60-minute theatrical disintegration that is not only an eye-opening spectacle but also a unique musical experience. Coleman plays the role of modern fakir, suffering through a symphonic chaos of sight and sound. Disruptive and surprising, Dollhouse walks a unique line between Artaudian theatre and slapstick, with Coleman as simultaneously conductor and instrument.
The performer’s disastrous interaction with this world is a search for meaning in which “I’m alive!” is confirmed with every painful interaction.
Read a review of Dollhouse in The Dance Current.
BILL COLEMAN | concept, dance, performance
Bill Coleman’s work has transcended the usual theatrical settings to include work on Mountain tops, Rainforests, prairies, and construction sites often collaborating with a variety of community groups, including Russian WW11 veterans, Aboriginal communities, fishing villages and ranching communities. His work has been presented at the Tramway in Glasgow, New Yorks Dance Theatre Workshop, Place Des Arts, Montreal, Alexeandrinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, and others.. Most recently Bill collaborated with the legendary jazz band the Sun Ra Arkestra and is featured in OutSideIn a 40-minute 3D to premiere in this years Venice Biennale.
A choreographer for more then 30 years, over the last 10 years Bill Coleman has been experimenting with micro-movement within the body. In his work with dancers, long time collaborator Carol Prieur and others, in Kindergarten classes, open adult workshops and in collaborations with organizations such as National Parks Canada and Department of Psychology Neuroscience and Behaviour McMaster University.
His site-specific series is a bold collection of large-scale works where Coleman proves himself a pioneer in the world of dance. These site-specific performances, often in unusual settings use dance as a means to unite the community within its natural environment. The result is a happening that becomes a celebration of life and community and constitutes, as such, some of the choreographer’s most unusual and exceptional work.
He has performed with among others: The Martha Graham Dance Company, Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Toronto Dance Theatre, Fondation Jean Pierre Perreault and is a long time faculty member at Centre for Indigenous Theatre.
Bill is co-founder of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie.
Bill Coleman et son grand «corps d’acteur» — comme on dirait une «gueule d’acteur», typée, racée et expressive — dans une évolution accélérée du simiesque à la claquette à la rythmique merveilleuse. —Catherine Lalonde, Le Devoir (Montréal)
GORDON MONAHAN | music, sound, visuals
Gordon Monahan’s works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer- controlled sound environments span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. As a composer and sound artist, he juxtaposes the quantitative and qualitative aspects of natural acoustical phenomena with elements of media technology, environment, architecture, popular culture, and live performance.
Monahan began performing in public as a member of various rock bands in Ottawa, Canada (1968-73). Since 1978, he has performed and exhibited at numerous performance spaces, museums, galleries, and festivals, including Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin), the Venice Bienale, the Secession (Vienna), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Mak Museum (Vienna) The Kitchen (NY), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Merkin Hall (NY), and Massey Hall (Toronto). Early in his career, he specialized as a pianist, performing John Cage’s Etudes Australes, premiering pieces by James Tenney and Udo Kasemets, and composing extended works for acoustic and amplified piano.
Beginning in the late 1970’s, he created sound works using elements of natural forces and the environment, eventually constructing long string installations activated by wind, by water vortices and by indoor air draughts. His work for electronic tone generators and human speaker swingers (Speaker Swinging, 1982) is a hybrid of science, music, and performance art. During the 1990’s he developed an ensemble of multi-functional computer-controlled sound-machines which undergo various transformations in performance and installation environments. In Multiple Machine Matrix (1996-98), a remote-controlled robot enters this environment and pretends to learn how to perform and behave on a public stage.
Recent works include multi-channel sound installations (A Very Large Vinyl LP Constructed in Acoustic Space, 2007), Theremin Pendulum, a chaotic theremin installation (2008), Gamelan Klavier (2009), a composition for gamelan and prepared piano, and a series of long-piano-string installations activated by audio signals.
Gordon Monahan is the recipient of a 2013 Governor-General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. He won First Prize at the 1984 CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers, as well as commissions from the Vancouver New Music Society; CBC Radio; Dade County Art in Public Places, Miami; The Kitchen, New York; the DAAD Inventionen Festival, Berlin, the Donaueschingen Musiktage and the Sony Center, Berlin.
Monahan has been Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1990), the Exploratorium in San Francisco (1991), D.A.A.D., Berlin (1992-93), the Western Front, Vancouver (1999), Podewil, Berlin (2002), Kunsthalle Krems, Austria (2006), Museumsquartier, Vienna (2008), and a fellow with the New York Foundation for the Arts (1991).
Monahan divides his time between studios in Meaford, Ontario, and Berlin, Germany.
DAVID GAUCHER | design
David Gaucher has designed film, television and museums and more than thirty theatre and opera productions. For the Banff Centre, he designed two world premiere operas, Kafka’s Chimp and Zurich: 1916 both of which received high critical praise for their visual aspects. Also of note were stunning designs for Ubu Roi at the NCT and for Le Cygne earning him a Gala des Masques nomination. He was also nominated for the set design of Wit produced by the Centaur Theatre. For his first assignment with Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, he created a boldly poetic space forLa vie est un songe. He designed Uncle Vanya, at Lincoln Centre in New York and the Gate Theatre in Dublin, directed by Ben Barnes, with whom he collaborated on Waiting for Godot at the Centaur in Montreal. He also designed Two Noble Kinsmen for the Stratford Festival and Britannicus for Calgary’s Theatre Junction. He recently design costumes and set for Isabelle Panneton’sL’Arche and set for Alexis Martin’s Taverne. He has also created sets for Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie’s Convoy PQ 17, From The House of Mirth and Varenka, Varenka!
PIERRE LAVOIE | environment, lighting
Pierre Lavoie has been active in dance since 1982, first in Toronto as stage manager for most of the city’s modern dance companies, then in Montréal for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. There he had the great opportunity to work closely with his mentor, lighting designer Nick Cernovitch. Pierre started designing lighting in the 90s for Margie Gillis and has since designed every new work in her repertoire. He also creates lights for many independent modern dance artists in Montreal. Pierre’s versatility is seen in how easily he can sustain both modern and classical vocabulary.
He has designed to rave reviews at Alberta Ballet where he is resident lighting designer, Christopher Wheeldon’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Kirk Petersen’s Othello, Emily Molnar’s Carmina Burana and Jean Grand- Maitre’s Carmen, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliette, the acclaimed Fiddle and the Drum with Joni Mitchell, Love Lies Bleeding with Elton John and Fumbling Towards Ecstacy with Sarah MacLachlan. Pierre has also designed works for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet including Moulin Rouge, Mark Godden’s As Above, So Below and The Magic Flute and André Prokovsky’s Anna Karenina. Other ballet credits include Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Taming of the Shrew and Nutcracker at Boston Ballet; Cinderella at Milwaukee Ballet; a mixed jazz program at Ballet Memphis; King Lear, Amadeus, Phantom of the Opera and Don Giovanni at Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada; qoundam at the Royal Swedish Ballet choreographed by Sabrina Matthews. Pierre has also ventured into the world of music where he has designed the lighting for the last three creations of tango music septet Ensemble Romulo Larréa: Homage to Astor Piazzola, Tango for La Milonga and Tango for a Century.
For opera, Pierre designed the world premiere of Facing South in Toronto, Norma and Rigoletto at Pacific Opera in Victoria, Romeo and Juliette for the Opéra de Québec and La Traviata at Opera New-Brunswick.