“I’m very lucky to be asked to help tell stories that I believe in, that I feel like need to be shared across the globe. This show is a fascinating mix of history, art, music, a reminder of what we do to each other in our darkest chapters, and why we must always fight for our humanity.” — Derek
Life? Or Theatre? (Leben? oder Theater?) is the name that Berlin born Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon gave to a sequence of nearly 800 gouaches accompanied by text and musical references that she produced between 1940 and 1942. Before her deportation to Auschwitz at age 26, she handed the work to a local physician, with the message: “Take good care of this… it is my whole life.” Miraculously, her extraordinary magnum opus survived.
Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music is a multi-national collaboration with a core creative team from Canada, UK, and Czech Republic. The essential quality of our chamber musical is the total synchronicity of word, image, and music. It is conceived as an art installation inhabited by performers in which Charlotte’s paintings come to life. Each moment flows into the next much like the waves of the sea in the final images of Charlotte’s Life? Or Theatre?
Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music
Libretto by Alon Nashman, Music by Aleš Březina
Theatre Centre, Toronto
Thom Allison, Ariana Chris, Andrew Cohen, Adanya Dunn, Kaleigh Gorka, Derek Kwan, David Ludwig, Kelly McCormack, Tracy Michailidis, Alon Nashman, Shaina Silver-Baird, Xin Wang
with Lori Freedman, Erika Nielsen, Ben Promane, Peter Tiefenbach
Director & Scenographer: Pamela Howard
Stage Manager: Andrea Baggs
Music Director: Peter Tiefenbach
Movement Director: Marie-Josée Chartier
Lighting Designer: Patrick Lavender
Production manager: Kaitlin Hickey
Derek participated in full and concert versions of this production in:
- Kingston, Ontario at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts
- Toronto, Ontario as a part of Luminato Festival 2017
- Taipei, Taiwan at World Stage Design 2017
- Prague, Czech Republic at the New Stage of the National Theatre (Nová Scéna)
- Litomyšl, Czech Republic at the Smetana Festival.