13 November 2020

Threefold: a poem by me/a video by Amelia Does

I have always dreamed of being a playwright. I liked the idea of creating a script and then passing it along to a team who would interpret it and surprise me. The idea of letting go of my own work and letting happen to it what happens to it is appealing.

The only play, though, that I ever wrote that made it to the stage was my own The Ape Play, which was originally commissioned by RM Vaughan for the 100 Tiny Queer Performances night he curated for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. He asked for a one-minute performance. I later expanded the play to two minutes, and eventually to six minutes. I performed it myself, in all its iterations. So no one has ever interpreted a play of mine.

Well, here is a variation on that dream. I commissioned my friend Amelia Does, a writer, filmmaker, and performance artist currently based in London, Ontario, to create a video for one of my poems. I did audio recordings of a couple of my poems and sent them to her. She was free to use those recordings or not. She could do what she wanted visually.

I'm a big fan of Amelia's video work. Especially those in which she herself performs, like this one. I had vaguely suggested to her that it would be interesting if no people appeared in the video. But she surprised me by performing in the video herself. This creates an interesting contrast/tension with the male voice that reads over the images.

The poem is "Threefold," a pretty bleak triptych that appears in my 2019 poetry collection, Motel of the Opposable Thumbs.


Over and out.


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