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Itsazoo takes to Twitter to talk Chairs

Itsazoo takes to Twitter to talk Chairs

A lot has changed in the last five years — just ask the folks at Itsazoo Theatre Productions. Half a decade ago, three UVic theatre students incorporated Itsazoo as a non-profit society; now, they’re doing a live interview with us over Twitter, a social media service that didn’t even exist then. In 140-character spurts, we (@mondaymag) chatted with two of Itsazoo’s three co-artistic directors — Chelsea Haberlin and Sebastien Archibald, on Twitter as @thezoocrew — about all things Itsazoo, including if they are where they thought they’d be as a theatre company five years down the road.

“Yes and no,” was @thezoocrew’s answer. “No, because we thought we’d have more funding than we do and that we would have given up our shitty day jobs. Yes, because our record of success is high, we’re able to be very prolific, we are really loving what we do.”

While Itsazoo relocated from Victoria to Vancouver a couple years ago, they regularly appear on the Island; their next Victoria show is Chairs: A Parable, which they describe as “a tribal allegory featuring a unique blend of live action, flash animation and found sound musicscape.” Penned by Archibald and directed by Haberlin, Chairs is characterized as a parable for a variety of reasons.

“A parable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a lesson. That’s what this play is,” says @thezoocrew. “We’re using an abstract story to convey a timeless truth … It’s not so much a lesson as the beginning of a conversation about the nature of humanity.”

In Chairs, three men are living in a bleak world when one decides to build a giant chair in an attempt to get the lay of the land — and the other two struggle with the new power dynamic. Haberlin and Archibald say that the play is quite different from anything they’ve done in the past. For one, it wasn’t a commissioned piece — Archibald wrote it on his own, then presented it as an option to Intrepid Theatre when they approached Itsazoo about doing a show for their Presenting series — and it’s representative of the new direction Itsazoo is going in.

“It’s a passion project from the heart. A bold exercise in minimalism — something we have rarely done,” @thezoocrew says. “We also have a special place in our hearts for comedy. And Chairs is the funniest thing we’ve produced in many years … we use comedy to address politics a la Colbert, Daily Show, South Park, etc.”

Minimalism, politics and laughter? Sounds like a good night of theatre. M

For a full transcript of the Twitter interview, click here.

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