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
Shannon Cochrane

b. 1972, Canada
www.shannoncochrane.com

Shannon Cochrane is a Toronto-based performance artist. Her work has been presented in museums, galleries and festivals across Canada and in twenty countries around the world. Shannon’s practice is mainly concerned with performing the tension between process and strategy, and context and perception. Kinks include problematizing authorship and just about anything that leans on repetition. She’s also a Form Queen who is deeply committed to humour.

Over the last 25 years, Shannon has contributed to the development of a national performance art ecology through curating, programming, producing, fundraising, advocating and supporting performance artists and their work for a variety of artist-run organizations and independent platforms. Shannon is a founding member, co-organizer and co-curator of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art (established in 1997 in Toronto). She has been the Artistic + Administrative Director of FADO Performance Art Centre since 2007.

Performance
SHUT UP

FADO presents SHUT UP, a series of 10 outdoor performances dealing with the themes of incarceration and wrongful imprisonment – literally, the state of being ‘shut up’. This event is the second half of a performance art exchange between Chicago and Toronto that began in 1998. SHUT UP offers a unique opportunity for Toronto audiences to sample the styles and aesthetics operating in Chicago’s performance art community in relation to performances by some of Toronto’s hottest performance artists.

The evening will feature a range of styles, from tableaux to spoken word, from interactive, participatory works to spectacle and multimedia presentations. The theme of incarceration will be approached from a wide variety of perspectives, from the highly topical and political (e.g. the recent persecution of Falun Gong practitioners) to considerations of the philosophical, psychological and emotional aspects of incarceration.

CHICAGO ARTISTS
Marlon Billups & Shannon Harris
Jeff Callen
Julie Laffin & Andrew Cook
Louise McKissick
Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga

TORONTO ARTISTS
Shannon Cochrane
Paul Couillard
Ed Johnson
Will Kwan
Louise Liliefeldt


PERFORMANCE descriptions

Untitled by Jeff Calan
Jeff Calan continues his work with storytelling using a series of intimately mechanized objects and a camera obscura, and will perform inside it. A frame in a false wall shows what appears to be a photograph, but upon closer inspection it seems to be a film or video, as it is moving, yet it is very sharp, sharper than a film. A hand is seen pulling a scrolling roll of paper, upon which is written a narrative that is full of various events, their causes and effects, and the desperation that comes from being unable to connect cause and effect. The image the audience sees is really from an old, large-format camera with a groundglass back which is behind the frame and it is pointed toward the performer who is moving a roll of paper that contains text from court transcripts of wrongly convicted people on death row. Small objects will be presented within the frame every few minutes. If an audience member walks behind the false wall, the performer takes a flash photograph of the audience member.


Eleven Cent Magic by Shannon Cochrane 
With Jennifer Rashleigh. Thanks to Andrew Pommier. For Kenneth because he invented and constructed the first ‘portable pitcher’s mound’ in 1952. Unfortunately, when it was filled with sand, it was too damn heavy to actually be transported anywhere. His father looked out the cottage window, laughed and went back to reading the paper. The research continues here. Eleven Cent Magic: an experiment to prove that time flies and birds really only float.


Blackstrap by Paul Couillard
In this tableau work, using the fitness trail apparatus, Paul’s body slowly shifts from light to dark.


Untitled by Edward Johnson
This solo tableau work (in the skating rink) considers the physical and psychological realm of confinement in all of its vastness and claustrophobia.


Untitled by Will Kwan
This performance draws links between the ‘silent’ gestures of mime performance and ‘silent’ displays of state power as exhibited through a popular form of punishment known as community service, in this case, maintenance work. The performance addresses the issue of the function of the artist in society: as performer, worker, criminal and clown.


255 by Julie Laffin & Andrew Cook
255 is not a performance. It is an actual memorial to the practitioners of Falun Gong who have lost their lives since July of 1999 when Jiang Zemin branded Falun Gong an “evil cult” and launched his campaign to erase all the Falun Gong practitioners in China by any means necessary. Falun Gong is an ancient moving meditation (Qi Gong) that was once supported by the Chinese govt. for it’s great abilities to improve health. It was banned partly because of the sheer numbers of practitioners, which before the crackdown began, far out-numbered communist party membership in the PRC. The number 255 attempts to quantify the number of human lives that have been taken (that we know of) by means of unspeakable brutality by the Chinese authorities during the deadly campaign against Falun Gong. Practitioners who would not renounce their faith were and are at this moment being tortured to death. When we began this project in May of this year, only two months ago, the number of documented deaths was 196. The number 255 does not begin to speak about the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners now illegally detained in prisons, psychiatric facilities and labor camps. It does not speak of the rapes, torture, beatings, threats, intimidations, indignities, humiliations, unfair trials, force-feedings, forced druggings, “re-education” efforts, psychological abuses, and countless other inhumane acts against a group of people for simply asserting their right to their spiritual beliefs and peaceful practices. The number also can never represent the suffering of the families and loved ones of the practitioners that have been murdered or have had atrocities perpetrated upon them. The dress you see documents with photos and written names those Falun Gong practitioners who have been killed in police custody since the merciless crackdown began in China exactly two years ago yesterday. It is a companion dress to one that is currently in Washington, D.C. at a rally held there to bring global attention to end the crackdown in China. As citizens of the free world, we urge you to refuse to tolerate the policies of the Chinese government against Falun Gong practitioners in whatever large or small ways you can.


DEVI by Louise Liliefeldt
Devi, also known as the “Bandit Queen”, was born into a poor lower-caste rural family in the northern Indian state of Bihar. She became the subject of great fame and notoriety throughout India as the leader of a violent gang of dacoits (bandits) who terrorized authority for years until their surrender in 1983. Phoolan Devi became a popular cult figure, a vigilante liberator and a symbol of empowerment for the lower-castes of Bihar. This work is a homage to her journey and the strength for which she stands. Thanks to Derek.


I Will Cut Your Grass by Louise McKissick
Digital Video, 1:26:13, 2001
At one time, Dorothy Gaines ‘loved the wrong man’ and ended up in prison. She was put away by purely circumstantial evidence – her ex-lover, a convicted crack dealer, accused her of dealing drugs in order to obtain a reduced sentence for himself. The prosecutors found no evidence of cocaine or any other illegal drugs in her home. She was given a 19-year sentence. “I will cut your grass” is based on a letter written to the judge by Dorothy’s son, Phillip Gaines, age 11, at the time of her sentencing. A fluidly moving camera tracks youthful exuberance at the Washington Park waterslide on a Sunday afternoon, providing a counterpoint to Phillip’s words.


Untitled by Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga
Andrea and Chuck are interested in the use of sound in the establishment of power in government and the military. Their piece involves a ‘Speaker’s Corner’-style open mic, but those who try to use the forum will discover that the words broadcast are not those spoken in the microphone.


PLUS: The Ghetto by Marlon Billups & Shannon Harris

Performance
Get Trained by Shannon Cochrane

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with local artist Shannon Cochrane. Her 3-day performance, Get Trained: Celebrating 13 Years in the Service Industry, takes a practical approach toward the ‘job’ of performance art.

Over the course of three days, Cochrane will recreate her career in the service industry in the name of art. Shannon describes her performance regimen:

“On June 23rd, you will be able to find me pounding the pavement armed with my resume. I will complete an 8-hour work day attempting to deliver my resume to every business that crosses my path. No stone will remain unturned. Bars, restaurants, offices, clothing shops, galleries. I work my way from Bloor West Village to the Annex, Yorkville to the Eaton Center, Kensington Market to Queen West. Finally I work my way through Parkdale and up Roncesvalles to finish.

On June 24th, I will wait with my phone by my side for any interest that comes my way. I will spend the day making follow-up calls and scheduling interviews. I never quit a job until I have another, so potential employers should keep in mind that I am only available after I have completed my shift tomorrow. My last day.

On June 25th, I go to work as I have for 13 years. Only this time, you will be able to see examples of ALL my work, scattered throughout the Queen West community. Following a preset itinerary, I will be employed for 12 hours at a minimum of six different establishments, two hour shifts each. I am the girl serving drinks at the bar, greeting customers at the door, offering advice about home furnishings, dusting the shelves, selling books, the employee that made your cappuccino. I am energetic, responsible and prompt. I am a hardworking and loyal employee.”

To receive a “Get Trained” package, including the complete itinerary for the June 25 performance, a detailed copy of Shannon Cochrane’s resume, her CV and letters of reference, send an e-mail to get_trained@hotmail.com or leave your name and address at (416) 821-4674. If you are based in Toronto, she’ll deliver it to you while on her rounds on June 23rd.

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