Students in the latest
production by Soulfishing. From top to bottom, Graham Cuthbertson, Carey
Dodge, Ion Ivanovici, Mindy Parfitt and Michelle Sutcliffe.
Photo by Andrea
The unsuspecting theatre audience was directed onto what resembled a train
platform to watch Soulfishings original production One
Small Step Sideways at Hors Bord on St. Laurent Blvd. last
The independent theatre company Soulfishing was founded by Mindy Parfitt,
Carol Hodge and Paula Dawson in 2001 while they were all completing their
BFA specializing in theatre at Concordia. One
Small Step Sideways is the companys third production.
Its a play about investigating our perspectives and ideas
by stepping sideways and looking in. It addresses our desires and our
aspirations. Are we moving too fast to keep up with ourselves? Where is
the line between reality and dream? asked Parfitt, who also acts
in the play.
The production team of 17 people includes many Concordia alumni and students,
but also Concordia staff. Ana Cappelluto, an associate professor at Concordia,
is responsible for the shows innovative design.
But even with the creative expertise of a talented team, one of the greatest
challenges for an independent theatre company like Soulfishing is to get
funding. To gather enough funds to pay the artists, to construct
and implement a cohesive promotional plan and to have sufficient resources
for high production values is a challenge, Parfitt said.
Though Parfitt explained that making a living of independent theatre in
Montreal is difficult, she also said that it is young companies like Soulfishing
who are trying to broaden the landscape of anglophone theatre in
Montreal and make it an economically viable career.
The effort to put English theatre on the map in Montreal is supported
by Renegade Productions, another independent theatre company initiated
by Concordia students. Jory Berger and Manuel Verreydt, both currently
in their fourth year at Concordia, also decided to take matters into their
At the end of our second year, I decided to branch out of Concordia,
to make work for myself, because I didnt want to depend on the program
for my success in the future, Berger said. I had seen a lot
of people who had done the Theatre Departments main stage shows
graduate not knowing what to do with themselves, having had no experience
with the outside theatre community.
Though they will have to worry about funding and rehearsal space once
they graduate, they can rely on the Theatre Department for support at
the moment. The great thing about the department is that you can
do the bare minimum, or you can take advantage of everything they offer.
Theyve all been a great help, Berger said.
Their next show, Y-Connection
Two, opens on Feb. 7. The production comprises an original
piece called The Quick and
the Fool, and the play Three
in the Back, Two in the Head, by Jason Sherman.
I think that almost all students try to get involved in outside
projects in order to practice what they are learning, though not all of
them start companies to do so, said Rebecca Doll, the Theatre Departments
Interim Facilities Director. She added that one-off shows are commonplace.
Many different things conspire against independent theatre artists
succeeding, Doll explained.
Most people who work in theatre are independent contractors, self-employed
and living from contract to contract. People who start companies and take
on the responsibility for paying the rest of the gang on top of all the
expenses are exercising a courage that few people have.
However, Doll also said that despite the hardships independent companies
have to overcome to survive, several companies started by Concordia students
or staff over the past few years are still up and running.
In addition to Soulfishing and Renegade Productions, Doll mentioned Hudson
Village Theatre, Dunya Teesri Theatre and the soon-to-be-unveiled Temenos
Theatre, which held a launch party last night in Mile End.
One Small Step Sideways
runs at Hors Bord, 3655 St. Laurent, on Wednesdays to Saturdays from January
22 to February 2. Y-connections Two runs February 7-9 and February 14-16
at Studio 303, 372 St. Catherine W.
Another current Concordia-connected production is Still Once, written
by Thomas Morison of the English department. Harry Standjofski, also of
the English department, is the lead actor. Still Once will play from Feb.
12- March 2 at Théâtre La Chapelle, 3700 St. Dominique. Call
843-7738 for more information.