About / Theatre Geek

a second home in theatre

 

Theatre Gargantua’s The Wager, Nov 2018. (L-R) Teiya Kasahara, Michael Gordon Spence, Belinda Corpuz, & Kwaku Okyere. Photo credit: Michael Cooper.

“I was in between opera gigs, flying across the pond a lot that season and feeling tired, and probably mistaking that exhaustion for a lack of artistic fulfillment. I wasn’t able to put a label on it at the time, but I knew I was yearning for something more. I had been doing the opera-singer-thing for a while: freelancing, gigging, trying to make a career of it while bouncing from contract to contract with nothing to hold me down. I was living the dream, living out of a suitcase, literally, with no real home base, but I guess I was also seeing what there was beyond that life and what else I could be doing or doing it with…

“In early 2016 I found myself in Theatre Gargantua’s office space for their Roundtable and realizing that there was more to just singing, to just being another “player on the stage” as Shakespeare has put it, that there was something more I could do with my passion for music and story and drama than simply sing long-existing roles by — let’s be honest here — dead, white men. I wanted to know how I could do that “something more”, something beyond perpetuating the stories of people that frankly, really didn’t look like me or were anything like me. Queer, gender-fucked, mixed raced characters in opera? Not so much… So what was the point? What was the point to continuing to do this job knowing what I know about the world and opera? Could I make my own point? Could there be space for me within a system that was never meant to include me?

“I started working more closely with the Theatre Gargantua as a periodic collaborator, then later came on as an artistic intern for their first instalment of Reflector. TG, as I endearingly call them, also encouraged me to apply for other programs, since I had initially expressed a desire to write or create, or both. I wasn’t sure about the difference at the time. I thought playwrights write, composers compose, librettists lib...? No, they write too, but I thought it was all separate, especially coming from a background of just being a singer in my 20s. And I thought I could only sing, too.

“It wasn’t long that I soon found myself knee deep creating my own story about Mozart’s the Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute. This time she didn’t follow Schikaneder’s plot, she didn’t do what she was told. She stopped singing. She went on strike and made a platform to tell her own story. The Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre gave me the opportunity to run wild with my imagination for this character, but more importantly, gave me the support and encouragement to discover and reveal the creator within myself. I finally got to tell my story. The Queen In Me was the catalyst to allow me to express myself as a full and complete artist, which has subsequently led to more joyous, rich and invigorating collaborations with other theatre creators and performers within the city.”

 
 
 

“Multidisciplinary theatre is a thing, it’s an art-form, it’s an identity that excites and fulfills all my artistic desires and impulses. All my freaky opera-ness finally feels right in Theatre!”

— Teiya