The Suicide

Winner of the Alcan Performing Arts Award: Theatre 2004

The Suicide satirizes the plight of an unemployed man who is thought to be contemplating suicide. When a sausage in his pocket is mistaken for a gun, word gets out and the man is immediately besieged by spokespeople from various discontented groups who attempt to persuade him to kill himself on their behalf.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY

THE INVITATION:

In October 2002, Boca del Lupo was invited to the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato as part of a delegation of Canadian theatre artists sent down to represent Canada for the thirtieth anniversary of Mexico’s premiere international arts festival.

THE CERVANTINO FESTIVAL:

Upon our arrival to this world class festival we found a country and people very similar to our own; a country bordering the other side of the world’s singular superpower, rich in resources and culture yet struggling to find a voice in the shadow of The United States. These similarities transformed from simple curiosities into profound excitement and further to extraordinary possibilities during a meeting with a group of local theatre artists: San Banquito Teatro.

San Banquito Teatro:

A physical theatre company that developed a creation process remarkably similar to our own. Even with language barriers we discovered that we were not only kin in our artistry but that our aesthetic, ideals and ethics were also aligned.

THE COMMITMENT:

Over a period of two weeks at the Festival, we had a brilliant exchange of ideas both practical and fantastical. The result was a firm resolve to enter into a co-production. A project that would explore the common ground between our two nations and celebrate our differences, similarities and diversity.

THE SEED:

It was a challenge to find something that was popular enough to have been translated into both Spanish and English yet obscure enough for us to adapt into a new piece of physical theatre. After a long search, Boca del Lupo director, Sherry J Yoon dug up a piece she had her sights on for some time: Nikolai Erdman’s The Suicide. A piece filled with surprising characters, bizarre reversals and a full gypsy band framed within a story of an unemployed ‘little guy’ trying to find his place and his voice within the overbearing bureaucracies of class and power.

THE REALIZATION:

In March 2003, Boca del Lupo won the Alcan Award for the Performing Arts: Theatre 2004. The award is the largest of its kind in Canada providing us the resource we needed to create this international co-production and present it at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre along with the Cervantino Festival itself in 2004.

Boca del Lupo teamed up with Mexico’s San Banquito Teatro to present an international, multi-dimensional, almost original adaptation of The Suicide, a highly physical, viscerally engaging production based on a controversial and comical play by Soviet playwright Nikolai Erdman.

“Boca del Lupo is one of the most important creative forces in this city”

– Georgia Straight

Creative Team

Sherry J. Yoon, Artistic Director of Boca del Lupo, is a theatre creator and director with a passion for creating new performances through collaborative pursuits. With Boca del Lupo, Sherry has co-created more than 35 productions, including: Fall Away Home, an intergenerational site-specific production in the forest of Stanley Park; Photog, a large-scale show that toured across Canada and was created with interviews from prominent conflict photographers; and You Are It, as part of the Silver commissions from the Arts Club Theatre that investigates the complex dynamics between female friendships. During Sherry’s tenure, the company has received numerous awards, including the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award, and Jessie Awards for Outstanding Production, Design, Actor, Ensemble, as well as the Critic’s Choice Innovation Award. Her productions have toured festivals and venues across Canada, Europe and Mexico.  She co-created an online exhibition of Expedition, an iterative collaboration between Boca del Lupo and the Performance Corporation, and working on Net Zero, an interactive theatre installation about climate change that involves the audience charging a battery with a stationary bicycle. She is also a freelance director who has worked at the Richmond Gateway Theatre, Bard on the Beach, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa Canada.

Sherry J Yoon
Director

Jay Dodge

Performer/Set Designer

The Artistic Producer of Boca del Lupo, Jay Dodge has won several Jesse Richardson Theatre Awards including seven nominations for the Critic’s Choice Award for Innovation. His artistry is one of innovation and daring, demonstrated in his one-man show about conflict photography featuring interactive video, stunt rigging and verbatim text, Photog. Jay’s playwriting is characterized by a balance compelling content with dynamic forms. Other examples include Red Phone, an iterative project that dramatically shifts the relationship of the audience to the playwright through the technology of a telephone and video prompter; large scale, site specific works such a Vasily the Luckless co-written with James Fagan Tait which engaged the geography of the performance’s journey as a central collaborator in the dramaturgy and design; and My Dad, My Dog which leveraged the world of Jay White’s animation in taking the audience on a journey to the most sequestered kingdom on earth, North Korea. Currently serving on the national board of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT), Jay is also a co-founder of PL1422 and has special interest in creative space making. He has consulted with several local BC companies including the Playwrights Theatre Centre and Gateway Theatre for their strategic and facility planning.

Jay Dodge
Performer/Set Designer

Carey Dodge

Sound Design

Technology Director of Boca Del Lupo

Carey is a board member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Society. Carey is a multidisciplinary artist and technologist whose work focuses on sonic arts, interactivity, installations, sound design and performance. He studied Electroacoustics at Concordia University and received a Masters at the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast. He has collaborated with hundreds of artists in the creation of works mostly in Vancouver but also Montreal, Toronto, the USA, UK & Ireland.

Through his work with Boca del Lupo in the unique role as a full-time technology director for a theatre company he as worked with the core creative team to continually expand, challenge and grow what is possible and what are impactful uses of technology for expressing artistic vision and connection with each other.

Carey Dodge
Sound Design

Performers Camille Gingras, Marco Soriano*, Diana Karenina, Moises Ledesma, Lucas Myers* and Carmen Aguirre*. Video Design Candelario Andrade Technical Director Liz Baca Costume Design Mima Preston, Lighting Design John MacFarlane Stage Manager Andrea Hughes

*Appearing courtesy of Canadian Actors’ Equity

The English version of The Suicide is translated and adapted by Eileen Thalenberg and Alan Richardson and published by Mosaic Press. Photo artist: Bill Thomas.

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