Sub Basement (2012)
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My paintings are now being created specifically to stand behind and as part of my plays. My first play, White Noise, was produced in front of the large, mural-style painting entitled: "Jiwar." My second play, Butterfly, was played in front of a selection of works from the In the Garden of the Mystical Redoubtseries. The paintings add to and deepen the psyche of the characters in the play, as well as the action itself.
This series of paintings has been created for Sub Basement, which was developed with Athena Theatre Company in New York. They represent the various characters that inhabit the sub basement of our minds, and how they can metastasize into real-life actors (in the paintings, represented by political figures). These paintings honor the sometimes two-dimensional aspects of social and political leadership, lurking in the recesses of the human psyche.
Sub-Basement is a dark comedy about the importance of art and imagination in our increasingly structured society. Adrienne is going on a trip to New York that her Father is sponsoring. A one-time aspiring poet living off the grid on a farm in Ontario, she is now about to enter Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where her Father is a detective. He has found Simon for her on the Internet to shepherd her around New York and keep her on the straight and narrow.
We learn that she has been chosen by two homeless men to undergo a “teaching.” “Why her?” asks one, to which the other replies: “That depends on whether you believe in coincidence or destiny.”
Upon her arrival at New York’s Port Authority bus station, she finds a notice in the bathroom and sets off on a journey to discover – or perhaps rediscover – who she is. Squired along by two homeless men, Gustav (a one-time climatologist) and Arnaud (an erstwhile translator), she is taken on a voyage into her psyche, all the while pursued by Simon, who (unbeknownst to her) is now her fiancé.
She voyages deep into a sub-basement to meet a dramaturge; to an attic room in New York’s East Village to meet a failed baseball player turned guru; she has a horrific fall on the subway which teaches her about love and life – all while being pursued by the lawyer-to-be Simon.
Simon grows distressed and alerts her Father that she has "bolted." Her Father sets off from Montreal on horseback with three other horsemen to save her "like the last time." Meanwhile, she struggles with her two options – the one, devoting herself to a life of poetry, perhaps leading to the same homelessness her new friends are condemned to, or the other, marrying Simon, settling in Jamaica Estates, NY and traveling only East, to the Hamptons and away from the filthy, though life-filled city of New York.
The action is underscored with a solo cellist and a dancer, who interpret the emotional affect, elucidate the subtext and the dancer even has a cameo as Adrienne’s murdered boyfriend, Francois.
In the end, Adrienne must decide. Normalcy or art. And so she does.