Taryn Jorgenson begins training in directing with Richard Rose at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto
|Image of Brain I brought to design discussion|
I am doing this mentorship under the wing of Richard Rose. I was taken aback by Richard when I first met him in a directorial class that he teaches seasonally at the Tarragon. The wealth of experience gathered around him like a fog. He is able to analyze works quickly and interpret them creatively with ease. "A play is action in time and space." Putting it simply into these words took the big task of directing a show and narrowing it down to its simplest form - allowing me to settle in the thoughts - "I can do that" or “just tell the story as it is.” It was this time that I knew I wanted to dive deeper into his thought process and learn his way of working. As a director, someone who has mostly worked on naturalistic styles with somewhat factual elements, I am itching to learn the art of working with a style that moves through time and space with a non-linear approach. How can I tell a story in a different way that produces a unique experience?
I was able to get a taste of this in my last play I directed for the SummerWorks Festival. It was called This Is Where We Live—an expressionistic, poetic, character-driven tango-dance-of-a-play that made me begin pulsing my muscles in this type of storytelling. I became drawn to working with the “non-natural” or the “imaginative” part of storytelling. Richard has worked in this way for many years on various projects—Scorched by Wajdi Mouawad is one I remember specifically. The ability to produce a concept that the audience not only sees and hears but is felt all around them. How can we create a piece that is expressionistic while laying the pathway through the story and continuously pulsing at what is at the heart of it? Jason Sherman's The Message is a perfect play to explore this.
The Message is a play about the last moments of Marshall McLuhan's life. The renowned U of T professor who dazzled the world in the 60's with his theories on media and communication (specifically how our media affects us), suffered a debilitating stroke which brought about severe aphasia. A lover and ambassador of language, he was left with his mind fully intact, with the only ability to say words like "wah" “uh” and "oh boy." I can only imagine the storm of subtext that went behind those words in his last year!
|Image of Marshall McLuhan at the Ryerson Institute|
of Technology, Toronto, ca. 1967.
Photo: Bernard Gotfryd/Getty Images
I am thrilled to be delving into the mind of McLuhan with the work of such a wonderful playwright as Jason Sherman. He has captured the essence of McLuhan's ideas not only in his character, but also in the entire sculpture of the piece. There is a type of simultaneousness that is evoked. The beginning and ends of scenes are blurred creating this cosmic vortex that McLuhan tumbles through as he struggles to go to back to the moment where he can communicate his final Message to the world.
Although I never knew of McLuhan before this mentorship, I am definitely a consumer of his theories. I think we have all become consumers to what he predicted, feeding on it, expanding on it—just as he predicted! He must be shaking in his angel boots!
The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 1, 2018.
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