Performance
Silent Dinner

Presented by FADO Performance Art Centre in association with Progress: an International Festival of Performance and Ideas.

Conceived by Shannon Cochrane and Amanda Coogan. Performed with H. Mary Balint, Michelle Bourgeois, Alexandrose Dayment, Anselmo DeSousa, Catherine MacKinnon, Keli Safia Maksud, Mikiki, Ahmed Muslimani, Laura Nanni, Christopher Welsh, Sage Willow.


FADO Performance Art Centre presents Silent Dinner, an 8-hour performance in which a group of people arrive to the theatre space, set up a rudimentary kitchen, and then prep, cook and eat a dinner in shared silence, without communicating in their language of origin, in front of the attending audience. The performance is created with special guest artist Irish performance artist Amanda Coogan who is CoDA (Child of Deaf Adults) and 12 performer/participants who are a combination of Deaf and hearing performers and non-performers from Toronto.

Silent Dinner is inspired by a choreographic exercise devised by Canadian dance artist Justine Chambers entitled Family Dinner, and American artist Lois Weaver’s well-known public discourse practice, The Long Table. In Weaver’s Long Table (inspired by Marleen Gorris’s film Antonia’s Line, in which the dinner table continually extends to accommodate the growing community of outsiders and eccentrics, until finally the table must be moved out of doors), the rules of engagement allow those sitting at the table to participate in the conversation in whatever way they wish, without limit or restriction to access or content. Using the table as a structure to orchestrate a conversation around, this long table combines community interaction with theatricality. As a form The Long Table, “acknowledges the sometimes uncomfortable side of both private exchange and public engagement, while celebrating the potential for new forms of knowledge-making and -sharing”, while the rules (or rather, the helpful hints as Weaver calls them) state that there can be silence.

In FADO’s Silent Dinner, silence is transformed from a potential born of discomfort or newness, and transformed into the landscape in which indirect communication between people who don’t share the same language is negotiated. The dinner table becomes a meeting place for the intersection of culture and language (hearing and Deaf culture, English and ASL, performance as language) via a performance score employing the everyday activity of sharing a meal. Over the course of the 8-hours of the performance the performers experience, and the audience bares witness to, the many varied and complex layers of communication, compromise, and decision-making that are being performed through construction and deconstruction, art and food, theatre and everyday ritual, the performance of the public and the private. The table functions as both motif (in theatre the table is a prop, in performance it is material) and metaphor for community and connection.

POST-PERFORMANCE Q&A
Join us at 9:00pm for coffee, dessert and a post-performance Q&A with the performers of Silent Dinner. ASL interpretation provided.

VLOG about Silent Dinner

FADO would like to offer a big THANKS to our friends and colleagues who have helped us and made this project possible, including Signs Restaurant and Rachel Shemuel, Nicka Noble, Jess Shane, Deanna Bradley-Coelho, Kerry Grandfield and Corene Kennedy and the 2nd and 3rd year students of the ASL-English interpreter program at George Brown College, and our team of trained professional ASL-English interpreters Amanda Hyde, Tara Everett, Shelly Nafshi and Silvia Wannam.

SummerWorks, in partnership with The Theatre Centre and a roster of Toronto theatre and performance organizations/presenters and companies including FADO Performance Art Centre, Buddies in Bad TimesDancemakersWhy Not TheatreVideo Fag, and Volcano Theatre, brings the world to Toronto with Progress: an International Festival of Performance and Ideas, February 4-15, 2015.

Artist
Anselmo Desousa

Portugal / Canada

Anselmo DeSousa was born in Azores, Portugal and moved to Canada in 1974. He is a talented Deaf actor and filmmaker now living in Ontario. He is a member of ACTRA. Anselmo’s credits include TV series and commericials, films, magazines, and independent films. His work includes the TV series Sue Thomas: F.B.EYE and Firehouse Dog as an ASL Consultant. In 2010 he wrote, directed, and produced his own short film entitled, Am I Dreaming?

Anselmo is also a talented cook and baker. Anselmo achieved his PME Masters Certificate (Sugar Flowers, Rolled Fondant, and Royal Icing & Piping) from Golda’s Kitchen. His passion for baking has led him to make over 50 different kinds of case for family and friends. He became certified in order to teach others the fine art of cake decorating. He has his own cake business called Cakes by Anselmo.

Currently, he works for Deaf Literacy Initiative as Project Coordinator and H3world.tv as Special Guest Host of DeafWaves in International Sign Language.

Artist Orange

Just as a performance artist uses their body as their medium, this is a fragrance composed entirely of the orange tree: fruit, leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Artist Orange performs itself.

Top Notes

neroli, blood orange

Middle Notes

fresh orange juice, petit grain

Base Notes

orange twig, orange seed