Love in the Age of Autocorrect

autocorrectlogoWhat do you get when you combine two short operas from two very different style periods? Well, something very unexpected…

Tonight’s premiere of “Love in the Age of Autocorrect”, by Loose TEA Music Theatre, will be a memorable performance adapting Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and Stravinsky’s Mavra – two short, comic operas about the extremes one will go through for love and all the nonsense and miscommunication that comes with it. Taking place at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu, audience members will enjoy these two buffa classics in a setting like no other.

Artistic Director, Alaina Viau, has been one busy gal and I was thrilled when she agreed to share her story with me and the entire Loose TEA journey.

MC:  Please share your Loose TEA story with us!

AV: I started Loose TEA last year with its inaugural performance of “La Tragedie de Carmen” last season but the idea of having my own company to explore different interpretations of opera and classical music goes back a few years before that. I realized that I wanted to share the experience and emotions of this art. Even though I love the art form, I felt that the historical context of these pieces made it inaccessible to people living in today’s world. Loose TEA’s mission is to take traditional musical and operatic works and infuse them with and entrench them within the issues, concerns and topics of our present day world. We want to challenge, motivate, and inspire our audience through the medium of music and opera, in a way that is approachable, understandable and relevant. Loose TEA is a company that focuses on the emotional journey that is created by musicians and actors on stage for the 21st century audience.

MC: How did you come up with the idea for “Love in the Age of AutoCorrect”?

AV: Given LooseTEA’s mandate of making opera accessible, the first thought was “how can I reflect the main issue in today’s world” and “what topical issues are we dealing with now that causes these same consequences”. In looking at these operas, the main issues are different types of miscommunication. So it wasn’t too hard to look at my phone and think about how many times I’ve had autocorrects happen on email, texts and twitter that lead to funny and, on occasion, horrible consequences. There have been countless times when I read “damnyouautocorrect.com”, and ended up in tears from laughing so hard! I mused it out loud to my GM saying that we should call them something like “Opera in the Age of Autocorrect”. He chimed in with “Love in the Age of Autocorrect” and our title was born!

MC: How are you incorporating your modern flare to these two specific works by Mozart and Stravinsky?

AV: We have adapted the situations and language of the operas to reflect a 21st century view of the operas. We use a text to start the situation in the Mozart, with Andrea receiving a text from Andrew that was supposed to go to his on-the-side lover. We use things like tagging on Facebook and hacking accounts to further situations. This is instead of the “soothsayer” missed letter and town gossip. The language used is exactly how we use in our everyday lives with expletives and catch phrases, and “dot dot dots”. But once in a while, we hark back to the “classical” setting of the opera to poke fun at how that language is interpreted today.

Keenan Viau and Morgran Strickland in Andrew and Andrea

Keenan Viau and Morgran Strickland in Andrew and Andrea

In the Stravinsky, we have changed some genders around to start and made the parent an overworked corporate single father who doesn’t have enough time to pay attention to his daughter. She and her boyfriend take an opportunity to trick him but in the end, she gets caught because her text went to “text purgatory” and her boyfriend never receives her warning! How many times have you not received a text or email and it was actually REALLY important putting you in an very awkward situation.

MC: The setting for the performance is also very interesting – please share more about the choice to perform at Rosemarie Umetsu’s Atelier on Davenport?

Gregory Finney trying on his shirt for Mavra

Gregory Finney trying on his shirt for Mavra

We are so lucky to be able to hold our show at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu! We love that we can be outdoors, on a terrace in natural light, rather than holed away in a dark theatre. We are always looking for interesting places to present our operas because instead of building a set and fabricating a setting, we want the setting to work for us and support the concept of the piece. Rosemarie’s  space does perfectly! It was also fantastic that she was willing to dress some of our characters with her pieces in Mavra. It has been a great collaboration of space, fashion and opera. Even if it rains, we have engineered a canopy that covers the terrace to give us some extra acoustic and keep everyone protected from the elements. We love working outside and in a place that supports our art, so it was very natural to ask Rosemarie what she thought about holding an opera in her own backyard.MC: What do you want the audience to take away most from this performance?

AV: My primary goal is to make people laugh not just at the situations of our characters, but also themselves. Although we now need our devices for all types of reasons as it has become the ultimate multifunction tool, I think it is also good to take a moment to laugh how these situations are created because of how handy they are. Much like how one reads the horribly hilarious “damnyouautocorrect.com” posts, I also want people to think about how this has changed our communication and that sometimes the best solution is to actually talk to a person face to face. So much can be inferred from short written texts/emails that we are no longer communicating properly or effectively. We can’t go back, and nor should we, to a time before mobile devices, however, I would like everyone to think about meeting up for coffee or a drink and share an experience with someone in person rather than having a Facebook conversation.

Love in the Age of Autocorrect premieres tonight at 7:30 pm with performances taking place until August 24th. For more information, please visit looseteamusictheatre.com

A “Worthy” Designer

I first met David C. Wigley last year while working as the head of public relations for FAT | Arts and Fashion Week. We were t-minus two hours before showtime and he was cool and calm to the max, super sweet when I had to bug him about a million things and definitely eager to get the evening started. The Toronto designer has established three separate collection –  Worth by David C. Wigley the mens collection, Ease; a unisex basics line made in eco-friendly fabrics and seasonless pieces, and the new collection Clan Gordon for women. His definely tailored menswear pieces have caught the attention of many and it was no surpise to see his name on the roster list for Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.

MC: What drew you to TOM*?

DCW: I feel like TOM* is such an amazing venue to give such incredible exposure to just menswear. I design both a mens (Worth) and a separate ladies label (Clan Gordon) and I love doing both equally. The women’s collection is always pretty much just expected but the men’s label is what people will always talk about. I love that I’ll be able to present a menswear collection to the right audience who I think will really love this collection.

DCW3

MC:  You have prepared your collections for other fashion weeks such as Fashion Art Toronto (FAT) – how have you prepared for this show.

DCW: I’ve prepared for this collection in the same way I would prepare any other collection. The medium of exposure is the only thing that changes –  the way in which I design is consistent. This collection has been a very organic and fluid experience. I designed it on a short timeframe with TOM* being brand new and unexpected and I think that added a very real element to the design. Nothing has been overthought and a lot of details and even one of the colour combinations was very unexpected and inspired. It just came to me when I was out picking up entirely different leather, the print was already designed and being printed, but the additional garments in the pop colours was a very spontaneous decision that I think looks amazing.

Photo Credit: Jaz Panaguiton

MC:  What can people expect from you tomorrow?

DCW: It’s going to be a really fun and bright collection. It may have a bit of a nostalgic feel but done in a modern way. The silhouettes and styling have a very James Bond 60’s beach blanket bingo mash up sort of vibe. The pieces people have seen, they have been clamouring for, and that’s always an exciting feeling for me personally.

MC:  Do you have a special routine that you go through before a big event like this?

DCW: Just try and make it (lol)! No really though, I try and make sure to drink plenty of water and eat clean and healthy in between the little spare time I have. I know I won’t be sleeping much, so I want to be sure that what I put in my body is as clean and healthy as possible, and just try not to crash!

MC:  What does it mean for you when it comes to designing menswear and being a Canadian designer?

DCW: I try and keep my collections as accessible and commercial as possible, but I never sacrifice the design element. I will always try and have a unique and progressive voice within the menswear industry, and I think that’s slowly getting easier as men are opening up the idea of fashion and enjoying the experimentation that they can have with it. While I do believe my collection would do better elsewhere, I love being Canadian and a Torontonian and I will always stay true to that!

DCW1

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Model: Tyler Berman of Valt Models
Photography: Jamo Best
Makeup: Carli Vickery
Hair: Tori Lalonde
Photography by Jamo Best
Makeup by Carli Vickery
Hair by Tori Lalonde

David will present his collection tomorrow, August 12th, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

For tickets, visit tomfw.com