On a warm morning in the midst of the Montreal winter, QDF met with the lovely and amazingly talented Natasha Perry-Fagant who is remounting her piece, ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’ at this edition of Le Festival Bouge d’Ici. She answered our question, opening her heart to us to discuss her piece. An emotional interview QDF is proud to give you.
[QDF] You shared ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’ at the 2016 Fringe Festival, and now you are featured at this year’s ‘Bouge d’Ici.’ Tell us about your journey.
[NATASHA] I always imagined the show as a movement piece. I was trained as an actor but I am not a dancer. Ther is dance in the piece but I feel the “dancey” bits are more stepping stones in the character’s journey. It was both an honour and also slightly nerve-wracking to be invited to the festival because I felt the subject matter didn’t match the mandate of the festival. Only later did I understand that movement theatre work I have been doing really lives comfortably within the worlds of theatre and dance.
[QDF] How did coming to Mainline change your vision?
[NATASHA] I was very nervous with the idea to coming to Mainline because Mainline is a very intimate space: the performer is enveloped by the audience. I was really scared of this proximity, not only for the technical aspect of the show but with having to engage with the audience. Upon reflection, this proximity and engagement what was the piece needed considering the moments where the spectator is forced to examine their part in the relationship between audience and performer.
[QDF] What is special to you about being featured in ‘Bouge d’Ici’?
[NATASHA] Being trained as an actor, I have always been doing movement work without ever considering myself a dancer. It is very special being featured in a movement festival because it makes me feel like my movement training has really informed and aided my development as an artist. I also get to perform in front of my peers, the producers of the festival who recognized that they really liked the piece and wanted it to go further. It means the world to me – which is a phrase used way too often but it’s the truth – to have this acknowledgment and support from the people I admire. Remounting the piece is the greatest gift they’ve given me..
[QDF] What would you tell a non-theatre goer to convince them to see the show?
[NATASHA] Depends who is asking. To the artist, wearing a beret and sitting at a coffee shop with a cigarette, I would say that ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’ is a movement piece examining identity, the loss of childhood, and the essence of being an individual. It is set in a surrealist landscape aided by visual methods calling back to the films of David Lynch. To the common audience member I describe the piece as an experimental show that is about my journey as an actress and artist, and if a connection is forged, usually the public is interested.
[QDF] Tell us about ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’
[NATASHA] I find it very hard to describe the show because I am the only one on stage, and I feel like it is me, Natasha, on stage and not only a character. I feel like David Lynch examines the idea of the struggling actress and the objectification of the female body in films like Inland Empire and Mulholland Drive. In ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’, I took a lot of inspirations from Mulholland Drive and Eraserhead and included call-backs either in the content or in the sounds capes I created. I was drawn to Lynch because he is a surrealist and he seldom speaks about what his films are about, which I love because I can decide exactly what I get out from the film, which is what I really wanted from the piece. I was worried to perform the show because since it is such a personal piece, I didn’t want the audience to perceive it as emotional vomit. The reactions I received from the Fringe Festival were positive and the audience thought that the piece was about being an artist, about being a woman, about being a human in the world. Taking the surrealist, Lynchian approach paid off and I feel most of the audience is able to connect and engage personally with the piece.
[QDF] What does this mean piece means to you and why did you choose to tell it?
[NATASHA] This piece was conceived after I went through a pretty earthshattering trauma. After I felt a bit better, it became apparent to me that there were things in my life I needed to do and say. When I was selected in November at the Fringe Festival, I was so excited because working on this piece became a very therapeutic method to deal with my personal struggle while also being an examination of my life. It is a really personal story for me to tell and it feels very cathartic getting to perform it. It also felt very important for me to tell it. I think of Beethoven’s 9th, the first movement is a like a bout of tempestuous anger and but progressing through the symphony we move to more clarity and form, the phrases become less violent and the melody more clear. He lets out his entire life, from his frustration and anger towards the world and evolving into the “Ode to Joy”. Having been through a personal struggle, I felt I could put these raw feelings into a context and make something important. I’m certainly in no way comparing myself to Beethoven but I think I have managed to make something beautiful out of something very hard.
[QDF] What’s next for Natasha and ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’?
[NATASHA] I will be touring the piece this summer. I have been accepted at the Regina Fringe and am still waiting on the Summer Works in Toronto, which is very exciting to me. I am also thinking about developing the piece. I am very happy with where it is at right now, but I feel there is more I can explore.
[QDF] Any last note you want to share?
[NATASHA] It is always been very difficult for me to ask people to come see my work. One of my favourite teachers once told me that every actor feels that they are abandoning the work on stage at opening night, that they feel they can still explore further the character of the piece they are about to perform. For this reason, I was always reticent about inviting people to see my pieces because I felt they weren’t ready or finished- or simply I was scared. ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’ is the first piece I have felt this level of pride for. For the first time, I feel I am asking people to come see the show because I want to share something deeply important to me.
Thank you to Natasha Perry-Fagant for this honest and raw interview. You can catch Natasha and her fabulous, surreal, and emotionally charged piece ‘A David Lynch Wet Dream’ this week at Bouge d’Ici. Visit this link for more info.
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