Skip to main content

The Corpse Bride - Q&A with playwright Niki Landau

An interview with Niki Landau, writer of
The Corpse Bride
The Young Centre, Toronto
June 4th at 8pm and June 5th at 2pm and 8pm


I have two tickets to give away to the June 5 matinee (2pm) performance of this original show - contact me via Twitter (link to the left of this story).

Toronto's premiere of The Corpse Bride is an original production of  Theatre Panik. It's described as a darkly comedic Canadian interpretation of the famous Yiddish folktale that follows a young bridegroom, who, on the way to his bride’s village, accidentally weds a corpse bride. Theatre PANIK reclaims the intent of the traditional tale through Yiddish theatrical tradition using rhetorical gestures and a silent film style mixed with projections.

Of special note is the fact that former prima ballerina extraordinaire Evelyn Hart will be appearing in the play - her first appearance on stage in years.

Here's a bit of a Q&A with playwright Niki Landau (pictured below):

Q: How did the idea of doing this particular story come about?
A: I found a Jewish folktale called ‘The Corpse Bride’ when working with an acting class at York University in 2002. It struck me as very theatrical, even though it was less than a page in length.  There’s a groom, a
bride (who the groom’s never met) and the Corpse Bride – quite a love-triangle! I also liked its focus on women. I spoke to my husband, director Paul Lampert, about the folktale and he conceived it as a movement piece set to music.
Q: How did the production/people come together? Was it an existing group, or was there a particular reason why people came to work on this project?
A: We knew the story needed a big cast, with lots of young people in major roles. We thought it would be a great opportunity for a graduating class of a theatre school, so we spoke to George Brown Theatre School, and they were excited to be part of the project.  The veterans, including the wonderful Richard Greenblatt,
Sarah Orenstein (pictured left), and Bill Vickers, are playing all the ‘parental’ roles, and the mix is just great.  And, of course, Evelyn Hart, former prima ballerina of the Winnipeg National Ballet, is incredibly exciting to watch in this show, which is so different from anything she’s done in the past.
Q: Give us a brief history of the play's development - I've seen mentions 2 or 3 years spent in development. What did that entail?
A: We actually started researching the show in 2002, but then took a break to do Territories. When we came back to it, Tim Burton had found the same folktale!  Since his version veered away from the folktale’s cultural origins, we decided to continue on. In 2005, I wrote a long short story to fill out the details of the folktale. In 2007, we did a first workshop focusing on movement and music, and presented it at The Factory Theatre. ‘The Corpse Bride’ was then part of the Groundswell Festival at Nightwood Theatre in 2007, where we developed a detailed scene breakdown that Paul has used for the show.
Q: How have you put together the details, like staging, props, lighting, costuming, that kind of thing? What will the audience  see on stage?
A: This show is done in the style of silent film, so it’s like nothing you’ll see in ordinary theatre. You’ll see the large, rhetorical gestures like in the old movies –  set to music from a live band, led by the incredible John Gzowski. Lighting design is by Shaw veteran Kevin Lamotte and set design is by award-winning designer Teresa Przybylski.  Dialogue will be projected on to a screen in the silent film style. The entire show is an exciting mix of the old-fashioned and the modern.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:

POLINA SEMIONOVA TO APPEAR AS GUEST ARTIST
WITH AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
FOR 2011 SPRING SEASON AT METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Music Organizations Across Southern Ontario Celebrate Successful Virtual Concert Partnership

From a media release:Music Organizations Across Southern Ontario
Celebrate Successful Virtual Concert PartnershipWorld-renowned Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki performs a virtually broadcasted program of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Chopin followed by a live on-stage interview from The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner HallProduced in association with Ottawa Chamberfest, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Festival of the Sound, and Stratford Summer Music, Toronto’s Koerner Hall hosted Canadian world-renowned pianist Jan Lisiecki in concert and conversation through a virtually broadcasted performance on Tuesday, July 28. The private event successfully welcomed more than 2,000 viewers online and was presented in place of five concerts that were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.The evening’s program featured works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. Following the broadcasted performance, Jan Lisiecki was joined by Executive Director of Performing Arts at The Royal Conservatory, Mervon Mehta, for …