Crystal Pite Interview at the Globe & Mail Mar 16, 2016
“...We have to think about how this is all going to go in the future, but I love being with the show, I love touring, I love seeing the performances and experiencing the show with an audience around me,” said Pite from Ottawa this week, where two nights at the National Arts Centre (where she is associate dance artist) kick off an international tour of Betroffenheit. “The actual performance doesn’t exist, right, unless it’s actually being performed. So I like to be there [when] it actually comes to life and exists; I like to be there to witness it with the audience and to be part of that ritual, to be part of that moment.”
For Betroffenheit – co-created with Vancouver actor and playwright Jonathon Young, who wrote and performs in the piece – that moment has produced shattered audiences and raves from critics.
“Simply devastating,” wrote Globe and Mail dance critic Martha Schabas, in her four-star review of the world premiere in Toronto last year. Young conceived the work in the wake of a horrendous personal tragedy – the death of his 14-year-old daughter Azra (with fellow theatre artist Kim Collier) and two young cousins in a 2009 fire. Wrote Schabas: “I can’t remember the last time I heard so much audience-sobbing at a curtain call.”
An artistic triumph, Betroffenheit has also been a seminal creative – and life – experience for Pite, who choreographed and directs the work.
“The stakes felt incredibly high and I knew at every stage of the process that I was working on something that I cared about more deeply than I ever cared about any other project,” she says.