the queen in me
“I had to tell her story, then I had to tell mine.”
— Teiya Kasahara
Since late 2016, Teiya has begun creating theatre, playwriting and performing in an opera-inspired solo theatre show called The Queen in Me, originated during the Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre during the 2016-2017 season.
Kasahara, a biracial, masculine non-binary female artist, takes inspiration from her career as a professional opera singer alongside her lived experiences as a queer, feminist, person of colour to re-imagine the Queen of the Night, one of opera’s most infamous “fallen women,” and places her in the centre of a metaphor for silenced and discarded women everywhere. The curtain rises mid-performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, at the beginning of the Queen of the Night’s highly anticipated aria, Der Hölle Rache. However, this time, the work comes to a halt as the Queen stakes a stand against her expected traditional female narrative and tells her story in her own words for the first time – at a cost.
The Queen in Me explores the constraints of conventional opera roles and their reliance on gender and sex stereotypes, and explodes traditional expectations of demure muses and femme fatales by turning opera on its head. Combining Mozart’s infamous “fallen woman” the Queen of the Night rebels against her expected narrative and refuses to finish the opera. She reveals her own story through monologue, spoken word and unexpected operatic excerpts in a highly theatrical piece that is powerful, funny and uplifting. The Queen in Me serves as a critique of the opera industry and a reimagining of what it could be. Created and performed by Teiya Kasahara, and directed by Andrea Donaldson.
The Queen in Me is produced by Amplified Opera and Theatre Gargantua’s SideStream Cycle and is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.
The work is currently in development and will see its world premiere in the 2020-2021 season in Toronto. Sign up for Teiya’s newsletter to stay in the loop with TQIM’s development.
“Somewhere our truths collide, all sung unamplified.”
- Queen of the Night from The Queen in Me
In 2018 various excerpt performances were presented:
Tapestry Opera TapThis: A Queerated Opera Series in partnership with Pride Queer of the Night (aka The Queen in Me) - An exploration with cabaret style staging, piano as live accompaniment with David Eliakis and various costumes
SummerWorks Exchange: Open Studios - A new excerpt with material developed in July 2018
ROM Friday Night Live: VOX - A new excerpt exploring amplification and live piano accompaniment in a concert style
Presented in excerpt at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival Pitch Session Jan 30, 2019 in Vancouver, BC
The Queen in Me is coming to Vancouver! Join us at the Queer Arts Festival June 21 & 22, 2019 for two performances of the latest instalment of this work.
Click on the photos below to view larger and for more details.
Photos 1-12: Royal Ontario Museum - Friday Night Live, Nov 2018, David Eliakis on the piano. Photos by Yolanda Ferrato and Catherine Wilcox.
Photos 13-16: SummerWorks Open Studios, Aug 2018. Photos Henry Chan.
Photos 17-24: Tapestry Opera Tap This: A Queerated Opera Series - “The Queen in Me/The Queer of the Night”, June 2018 with David Eliakis on the piano.
Tapestry Opera: “Tapestry Opera joins forces with Pride Toronto” - June 8, 2018
By Darren Bryant https://youtu.be/qV6eeAc7WSM
CBC Arts: “Opera's massive queer fanbase rarely sees itself reflected on stage — this series is changing that” - June 7, 2018
Ludwig van Toronto: “Tapestry Opera’s Queerated Opera Series Is A Fresh Way to Start Your Toronto Pride” - June 6, 2018
Tapestry Opera: “Being Gay and Female on Stage” - June 1, 2018
By Darren Bryant https://youtu.be/HE86dkCmEfY
Tapestry Opera: “Queen of the Night misbehaves” - June 1, 2018
By Linda Rogers https://tapestryopera.com/queen-of-the-night-misbehaves/