Writing
This is a Queer Series

Welcome to the fall 2019 iteration of Performance Club where three queer artists take you into the heart of their processes, practices, and deepest fears. Through performance gatherings, readings, discussions and one workshop, these experimental forays into a hybrid form—somewhere between the academy and the studio—seek to provide an opportunity for you to contribute to, reflect on, and shine in the light of three innovative interventions into performance and being. 

In order to enhance the experiential proceedings that define Performance Club, we provide you, here, with this syllabus and course pack (even though this is technically not a course). All will become clear soon enough. 


Club Objectives 

This Performance Club will increase your ability to:


  • Compare and contrast various styles of performance
  • Discuss art with strangers
  • Critically engage with original live performance
  • Formalize the space between performance and learning
  • Enhance your conceptual understanding of performance
  • Enhance your conceptual understanding of clubs
  • Gain a deeper understanding of process and its centrality to performance
  • Develop confidence in your ability to communicate in a club setting
  • Understand the ways that performance is in conversation with the social and political forces that surround it
  • Laugh and then cry 
  • Retreat and then rejoin
  • Eat snacks and then eat more snacks
  • Embrace your inner queer


Required Reading: A Script, A Story, A Score

These Performance Club events are self-referential insomuch as each refers back to a previous performance, gestures toward a future performance, or imagines a related performance. 

Research, creative engagement and hands-on learning intersect in this multi-pronged approach to develop spectatorship that is aesthetically, socially, and formally engaged. As clubs, these events necessarily rely on collective meaning-making and shared interest in specific topics. Assembled here, in one handy volume, are all the printed materials required for your fully informed club experience. 

Take this syllabus home with you. Read it, review it, and come prepared to discuss its contents in an open and friendly environment. Extra points will not be given for talking at length. 


CLUB STRUCTURE

Attend Performance: September 10
Performance Club begins in week one with Book Club: snowflakes in the echo chamber by Moe Angelos. Moe’s performance contemplation of fragility, fear, and the flattening of knowledge in contemporary society is performed as a “sort of” sequel to her previous Performance Club contribution, entitled Queer/Play, which you will find published in this volume. Moe wants you to know that: “When you arrive, you should be aware that performance will take place and you may be a performer and/or in the audience. And there will be snacks.” 

Readings: September 6–11
Participants must read this introduction, plus the entry by Moe Angelos entitled Queer/Play, as well as the entry by Cornell Woolrich entitled Three O’Clock in preparation for the coming week’s club performance. 

Attend Performance: September 12
In week two Hope Thompson performs a conjectural interaction with the ghost of Cornell Woolrich to dissect the trans-historical connection between queerness and mystery. This conjuring is inspired by Hope’s work-in-progress play inspired Woolrich’s Three O’Clock, which is included in this volume. Hope hopes you know that: “You will be watching an interview with a deceased writer. I don’t expect you, necessarily, to know much about the writer.” 

Reading: September 13–18
Participants must read the entry by David Bateman entitled I Wanted To Be Bisexual But My Father Wouldn’t Let Me in preparation for the following week’s club performance. 

Workshop: September 14
Attend Death, Sex, & Macrame where there will be some macramé weaving. The workshop is not mandatory, but it is compulsory. 

Attend Performance: September 19
For the third and final performance of this series David Bateman, who wants you to know that he is “trying to configure new and current work as aspects of 35 years of creating performance, and the influences that continue to affect [his] ongoing performance work,” will delve into the ambiguities of gender and performativity to either enrich or confuse your previous views, depending on his current state of gender/mind. 

Participation
Each event happens only once, and while the events are connected they are not the same— interlinked, but unique. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend all Performance Club events related to the materials in this syllabus. Extra points will be given for initiating discussions that draw on material covered across the entire series. 

Grading
The grading scheme for participants will be fully self-regulated. If, however, you prefer to be graded by an experienced professional, please feel free to approach me at the final event. But, be advised, once you have been graded by me that grade will be considered final. 

This Is Not A Course, Nor A Show
How do we define the spaces between learning and viewing, between art and politics, between being and performing? These clubs seek to extend the reach of performance to find new forms with which to answer these questions and to pose many more questions along the way. The club format, likened to the traditional salon, can be seen as a default space of education, or as an open forum for creative expression. The club is always about engagement and in this club we hope you will find yourself engaged and embraced in a series of performances that are not just for show.

Artist
Moynan King

Image © Moynan King. Photo David Hawe.


Canada

Originally from East Farnham, Québec, Moynan King is a Toronto-based performer, director, curator, writer and scholar. As an actor she has over forty professional film, theatre and TV credits, most recently roles in the hit CBC series Baroness von Sketch Show, and John Greyson’s silent subway thriller Murder in Passing and his upcoming feature Last Car. She is the author of six plays, the creator of performance installations, including the The Beauty Salon and Mothering, and was the co-creator and director of trace, which toured across Canada in 2015. She has been an artist-in-residence at Studio 303 in Montreal, and Nakai Theatre in Whitehorse. Moynan was co-founder and director of the Hysteria Festival (2003–2009), co-director of the Rhubarb! Festival (2003–2005), and has curated many a cabaret (Cheap Queers; Explain Yourself; Anne Made Me Gay; City of Freaks; Strange Sisters; Hysteria @ Edgy Women). 

King holds a PhD from York University. Her academic writing has been published in journals (Canadian Theatre ReviewnomorepotlucksCanadian Literature), and books (More Caught in the ActOnce More, With FeelingCompulsive ActsToronto Theatre and Performance). She was the editor of Canadian Theatre Review, issue 149, Queer Performance: Women and Trans Artists

Performance
Queer/Play

Performance Club 1 includes the launch of Queer/Play, edited by Moynan King, and a series of performance accompaniments, such as verbatim readings of some of the interviews contained in the book and a new performance by Moe Angelos entitled (what else?) Queer/Play.

In Queer/Play (the performance) Moe Angelos interprets and takes inspiration from the material content of Queer/Play to create a new performance work of their own, playing with the idea of book club.

Verbatim interviews performed by a roster of artists, writers, and performers including:
Shannon Cochrane
Amanda Cordner
Sky Gilbert
Darren Gobert
Johanna Householder
Aisha Sasha John
Louise Liliefeldt
Pamila Matharu
Tanya Mars
Susan Wolf
Michaela Washburn


Queer/Play is a collection of never before published scripts and interviews from both emerging and established Canadian queer theatre and performance artists, Queer/Play maps a cross section of current performance works found at the intersection of queer life and art, delving into the resulting subcultures and always-changing concepts of identity and performance. In this book, queer is not just something someone is; it’s also something these artists do.

WORKS INCLUDED in Queer/Play:

Graceful Rebellions by Shaista Latif
Lapine-Moi / Rabbit-I and Cerveau Fêlé 101 / Broken Brain 101 by Nathalie Claude
Dirty Plötz by Alex Tigchelaar
Chronicles of a War Child by Jazz Kamal “Nari”
She Mami Wata and The Pussy WitchHunt by d’bi.young anitafrika
The Magic Hour by Jess Dobkin
Trapped! by Hope Thompson
Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! by Flerida Peña
Hiding Words (for you) by Gein Wong
SPIN by Evalyn Parry
Plus interviews by: Alisha Stranges, Erin Hurley, Laine Zisman Newman, Donna-Michelle St Bernard, Mel Hague, Keith Cole, Laura Levin, Tabia Lau, Kim Crosby, Margo Charlton


This is your book club. You are the audience. You decide how many sessions you attend. 

It is not a requirement that you have already read the book being clubbed to attend this Performance: Club. But you are more than welcome to! There will be a limited number of discounted books for sale at the door or you can purchase your copy in advance through the Playwrights Canada Press website.

Performance
Trace by Tristan R. Whiston and Moynan King

trace: evidence or an indication of the former presence or existence of something

Can one man stand amidst his many voices and find herself there? Can a person sing harmony with different parts of theirselves? Can we trace the sound of ourselves as we change? If so, what remains of the original voice?

Through an exploration of voice, trace transforms a private story into a performative experience integrating sound, video, installation and live performance. Using archival recordings taken before and during Tristan R. Whiston’s gender transition from female to male, along with recent recordings and live vocals, trace explores the idea that change is constant and we are always becoming someone new.

Throughout the installation are multiple speakers, each playing a single part or element in the immersive soundscape. Audience is invited to contribute to the performance by entering one of the installation’s beach inspired changing huts and, using old-fashioned technology, create their own vocal recording, eliciting an experience of auditory self-reflection. 

Tristan R. Whiston and Moynan King are artists with distinct multi-disciplinary practices. Their shared interest in ideas of identity, gender, communication and the element of time (in both life and art) brought them together as artistic collaborators early their careers.

CREDITS
Video by Leslie Peters
Set elements by Trixie and Beever
Software design by Dafydd Hughes
Photo by David Hawe

Co-presented by New Adventures in Sound Art for the Sound Travels Festival of Sound Art
Sound Travels Festival of Sound Art: August 4–31, 2012
New Adventures in Sound Art: www.naisa.ca


Middle C by Tristan R. Whiston
Tristan R. Whiston first performed as a solo soprano at the age of six. With that raw talent, years of hard work led to an accomplished singing career. But Tristan has decided to give up the most precious thing a singer has – the voice. You see, something was never quite right. Tristan always wanted to be a man. Now that dream is about to come true as Tristan embarks upon the process of gender reassignment. In a year’s worth of intimate audio diaries, we hear milestones like Tristan’s first shave. But the most striking thing is the transformation of Tristan’s singing voice. Tristan starts out as a soprano whose voice soars on the high notes. As the testosterone takes effect in Tristan’s body, that sublime voice is ripped to shreds and has to be completely recast – just like his identity. 

Middle C was produced by Carma Jolly and Tristan R. Whiston for CBC Radio’s Outfront in 2007. It won the Premios Ondas award for International Radio and a silver medal at the New York Festivals.

Listen to Middle C: http://theunobserved.com/culture/middle_c/ 


trace SCHEDULE

Performance Installation
August 24 @ 7:00pm–9:00pm
August 25 @ 11:00am–1:00pm and 7:00pm–9:00pm
August 26 @ 2:00pm–4:00pm

Artist talk
August 25 @ 1:00pm

Performance
Mothering by Moynan King

Un party pyjama avec des jeux de société, du chocolat chaud et des contes au lit avant de faire dodo.

Part visual art installation and part interactive performance, Mothering is a 4-day pyjama party complete with board games, warm ovaltine, bed time stories and the familiar touch of mother’s warm hand on your cheek as you drift off to sleep. Audience members are greeted at the door of the gallery, offered a flannel nightshirt and are gently encouraged to become a part of the installation itself. Exploring and confounding the line between audience and performer, Mothering recognizes the audience as significant in the art-making process. Just like Mom would.

Performed by
Moynan King
Nathalie Claude
Dayna McLeod


“Thank you for helping me with the puzzle, thank you for not making me do my own dishes, and thank you for brushing my hair.”
Your daughter, Miriam

“Trop cool d’avoir trios maman.”
Your son, Jerome 

“Of course you can bring your friends and stay as long as you want.”
Love, Mom

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer