2017 A 6-hour performance at The Theatre Centre, Toronto
Part of the FADO MONOMYTHS series curated by Shannon Cochrane and Jess Dobkin
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859
I think we could all agree that this quote from Dickens perfectly sums up the state of our world right now, here in 2017—a world where extremes threaten to become normalized. As an artist who has at times made work that tackles political/social/philosophical issues, I have been struggling with myself about making art. In recent years I have deliberately turned my attention away from the didactic toward issues of beauty and its place in performance—to make what I hope are beautiful, immersive imagistic tableaux vivants, to make space for reflection.
But it begs the question, is this kind of work merely “bourgeois escapism” and frivolous, or can we find some value in it? What should/could artists do in the new age of “alternative facts?” I used to believe that art could change the world, now I’m not so sure. Maybe together we can make it so. (Tanya Mars, February 19, 2017).