Show: The Crook of Your Arm
Photo credit: Yukiko Onley
Shannon received her BFA in Theatre Performance with a Minor in Music from Concordia University and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She is currently pursuing a PhD at The University of Birmingham, UK, in Theatre and Drama Studies where her research includes the development of improvisational practices as a process towards performance and the theoretical exploration of the connections between the lived body and voice.
As a performer, Shannon has worked for over 30 years as both an opera singer and an actor. Shannon is currently part-time faculty in the Theatre Department at Concordia University in Montréal, having previously taught at Capilano University in North Vancouver BC. She is an associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®.
Tell me a little about your show.
The story of my parents and their struggle to come to terms with my Mother’s Alzheimer’s disease emerged as I was doing some in studio research into somatic vocal methods that span the singing and speaking voice as part of my PhD studies. Writing this show was a bit of an accident.
What inspired you to create it?
I was doing some improvisational voice work at Pantheatre in Paris, France last March and using the Kurt Weill song “Je ne t’aime pas” as material. I started to realize that this song, which on first take is about sexual betrayal was actually far more complex and could just as well be about the many forms that betrayal can take. At the time my Mother had just been moved into a care facility because she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and I was so struck at how much she was being betrayed by her mind. Physically she was (and still is ) in good shape, but her mind has betrayed her. I went on to workshop and develop the piece further in London UK in August of 2014 during a workshop for voice teachers. In November 2014, I did a work-in-progress showing in Montréal.
I am very excited to be working with Molly Arnoson, a brilliant local (NYC) cellist. Kaitlyn Raitz the cellist I worked with in Montréal was unable to come for the festival and recommended her college roommate Molly.
Anyone who has had to look after ageing parents I think will relate very well, but it speaks to anyone who has faced communication difficulties within a family unit, which seems to be quite a universal issue.
I trained as both an opera singer and an actor so my influences are pretty diverse. In opera I loved the Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas, and am a big fan of Dawn Upshaw as well. In theatre I see Robert Wilson as a true visionary, Robert Lepage never ceases to amaze me, and I love Laurie Anderson- she is so inventive and fascinating on stage. I am also a huge fan of The Wooster Group and Elizabeth LeCompte.
Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg, Everyday Edna Mae, Shirley Grome, Real Mature, Hey 90’s Kids, You’re Old… for starters!
Besides trying to finish my PhD, I am looking to take The Crook of Your Arm to the UK.
Favorite theatre professional? Robert Wilson
Your dream show to be involved with? The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets, I mean really?! Tom Waits, William S. Burroughs AND Robert Wilson?!
Who would you most like to have a chance to work with? Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Anne Bogart…
For more about "The Crook of Your Arm," visit the FRIGID New York website.