2018 SummerWorks Preview Questionnaire: The Red Horse is Leaving

5 Aug

Your name: Erika Batdorf

Your production: The Red Horse is Leaving

Your role: Playwright/Performer

Tell me about your show.

It’s a portrait of my mother, Thaya Whitten, a painter who toured Canada in the 60’s doing controversial performance art. Through the use of biosensors, this interactive theatrical two-hander explores the meeting point of madness and creativity.

I play a painter, in her studio struggling to paint. She struggles with mental illness and has hallucinations. One of them is a Gargoyle played by Zoe Sweet wearing a costume that has a spine that lights up based on my (the painters) heart beat and breathing. I am a bit of a cyborg; I wear some technology that you cannot see put together by an amazing team of art/scientists.

It’s a wild show, the audience gets to paint if they want and things go flying (if you come, you should duck).

You’ve been commissioned to write a musical about the events of 2018 so far. What is it called, and what’s your elevator pitch?

A super cheesy musical called MILKWEED about the demise of civilization while secretly a butterfly population grows a whole new society; new rules, new laws, justice it’s main goal.

In the triumphant ending, concrete in Toronto is overtaken by grassy, flower lined mini butterfly sized bike lanes and butterflies take over the city, chasing the humans out to the suburbs.

Music by The Monarchs, directed by David Suzuki.

We live in ever-changing times (for better and for worse). What, in the artistic community, do you currently feel there is too much of, and too little of?

-A city that puts a ten year plan into place for arts audience development, so that the artists can spend more time making good art and less time marketing their own work.

-Too much fast art, I like well crafted work with levels and depth. How do we fund that? Risk works really well with knowledge, skill and experience, but that takes time.

-Too few Mom’s making art. I want to hear those voices. Artists are paid less than child care costs.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

The Negro’s are Congregating… very excited to see this!

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