The final entry in our Montreal-focused interview series by Praxis Theatre Associate Artist Greta Papageorgiu.
1) What does Montreal mean to you?
Montreal is a living city. An old piece of the new world. I love its history and share a bit of its heartbreak. Its multicultural diversity, European flavour and Canadian lifestyle makes Montreal one of the best cities in the world.
2) How did you end up moving to Montreal and building Theatre Ste. Catherine with your bare hands?
On a cold winter night there was a fire that destroyed the building. As there had been no insurance it sat in near complete disuse until such time as I happened to inherit. I was on a tight budget, so the demolition and rebuilding took five years.
3) Your free improv classes have a huge following among the actors here in Montreal. How did they come about?
They’re free so . . . that’s cool and of course they are a lot of fun, but mostly because there is a skill to improv that can be observed and crafted.
4) How did Keith Johnstone and the Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary influence your approach to theatre?
The magic is in the method and the depth of understanding. Improvisation is not comedy. Improvisation is a philosophy that can unlock your mind and imagination. At a point we learned that I didn’t even need a theatre and performed to people on streets and outdoor festivals all over the world.
5) What are TheatreSports?
Theatre Sports is team on team competitive improv. First created in Calgary at the Loose Moose Theatre, TheatreSports and improv comedy is now popular all over the world as direct result of Keith Johnstone’s work and forms the basis of similar improv groups such as Canadian Improv Games and League National D’ Improvisation.
6) Can you teach someone to be funny?
7) Any words of wisdom from your twelve years as a street performer?
A smile goes a long, long way.
8) What advice do you have for someone just starting to run an independent theatre space?
Get some friends.
9) Where would you like to see Theatre Ste. Catherine in 25 years?
Still open and teaching a whole new generation of people.
10) If you had a million dollar no-strings-attached production budget, what would you do with it?
Hmm...I have to keep some secrets.