THE GREATEST CITIES IN THE WORLD
Wim Wenders portrayed the landscape of Paris, Texas. But what do we know about Paris, Tennessee, the catfish capital of the USA? The state is also home to Rome, Moscow, Athens – best known for its ice cream – and London, a hamlet on a dirt road in the middle of the Cherokee National Forest.
Fascinated by the lives of the inhabitants of these villages that have appropriated the names of famous cities, by their colourful experiences, their wanderings and their impassioned or star-studded dreams, the members of Theatre Replacement immersed themselves in this mythical South, visiting the length and breadth of the state, its waffle houses and backroads snack bars, its shacks and air-conditioned motels, collecting a great number of interviews and life stories to reveal an unsuspected, haunting Tennessee. After winning over FTA audiences last year with the amazing Bioboxes and WeeTube, this Vancouver company is continuing its quasi-ethnographic pursuit with this spirited new interdisciplinary piece. This astounding universe of knights, carnival queens and “stolen” dialogue portrays an America full of contradictions, a place where, during the brief passage of a baroque dance, the terrible and the magnificent unite.
PRODUCED BY THEATRE REPLACEMENT
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY MAIKO BAE YAMAMOTO + JAMES LONG
PERFORMERS: RUBEN CASTELBLANCO + NNEKA CROAL + SUSAN ELLIOTT + YOUNG HEE-KIM + ANDREW LAURENSON + TANYA PODLOZNIUK + MICHAEL RINALDI
SET DESIGN: JESSE GARLICK
MUSIC COMPOSED AND DIRECTED BY VEDA HILLE
LIGHTING DESIGN: JONATHAN RYDER
COSTUME DESIGN: ALLEE WELLS
COPRODUCTION MAGNETIC NORTH THEATRE FESTIVAL + FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES
WITH THE SUPPORT OF SHADBOLT CENTRE FOR THE ARTS
PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH PLACE DES ARTS
REDACTION: CATHERINE CYR
TRADUCTION: NEIL KROETSCH
MAIKO BAE YAMAMOTO + JAMES LONG (VANCOUVER)
After the astounding interactive installation WeeTube (Microclimats), based on videos discovered on YouTube, as well as the amazing Bioboxes, a series of “cabinets of curiosities” for one spectator at a time that featured nano-narratives of stories based on interviews with recent immigrants to Canada, Theatre Replacement continues to pursue its quasi- ethnographic approach. Amassing a vast number of testimonials, James Long and Maiko Bae Yamamoto have reshaped the material, turning it into “stolen” or hijacked tales. To that end, the two directors and co-artistic directors of Theatre Replacement (who studied at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University and who have worked together for the past fourteen years ) teamed up with collaborators from diverse backgrounds (actors, dancers, a musician, an architect).
With their emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach, an aesthetic underlying many of the company’s principal works such as YU-FO (2007) and Train (2008), Long and Yamamoto encourage the sharing of imaginations to reveal a disconcerting Tennessee. Like their disquieting production Clark and I Somewhere in Connecticut (2008), concocted from family photo albums and travel diaries found in the street, and similar to the irreverent Sexual Practices of the Japanese (2006) with its harsh yet amused anthropological viewpoint, Theatre Replacement explores reality, mingling the real and the invented to portray, in The Greatest Cities in the World, human experience.