Arts Team Interview – Hana Moscovitch on The God That Comes

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Laurren Iacobellis speaks to Hana Moscovitch, Canadian playwright and prologue writer of The God That Comes: with Hawksley Workman at Club PuSh 2013 (a growing part of the PuSh Festival). It runs January 16 – 18, 8PM as part of Club PuSh at Performance Works on Granville Island 1218 Cartwright Street, 19+

This week I caught up with one of Canada’s most prolific and celebrated playwrights, Hana Moscovitch. Her work has won multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and she’s been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Carol Bolt Award, the Toronto Arts Council Foundation Emerging Artist Award, the K.M. Hunter Award, and the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Hannah’s smash hit East of Berlin played to a sold-out run when it premiered at Tarragon Theatre in 2007 and  has since been remounted twice, in 2009 and 2010 and gone on a national tour. Currently, she is in the middle of a mini-festival of her work which is taking over the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. Not bad for only 35 years on the planet.

We will get a small taste of the wordsmith’s work in the prologue to Hawskley Worksman’s rock show The God That Comes at Club Push this weekend. The writer described to me the rare pleasure of putting words into a rock star’s mouth; when Workman gave Moscovitch and his wife a private preview in his home, the playwright was – for once – at a loss for words: “What the f^&$?!” she remembers exclaiming, “What the F%^& is he even DOING?” Her response to that first encounter set the tone for an enthusiastic explanation of his performance in the interview to follow.

L: What is going on for you in Toronto right now?

H: I am going into rehearsal tomorrow for Other People’s Children – the second play of mine that’s premiering at Tarragon – and the next week I go into rehearsal for Little One. I’m also writing full time for a television show.

L: Are there any plans for those shows to tour? We wish we could have access to them here in Vancouver.

H: Little One is going to tour after this production; it is going to Banff, the Yukon, and Victoria.

L: Y The God That Comes featuring Hawksley Workman and created with 2b theatre’s Christian Barry. What can the audience expect from the show?

H: It’s a hybrid show – it’s a rock concert with a story, or an album for the stag. It stars HawskleyWorkman who is a super charismatic and well known rock star and performer.  I contributed the prologue- if you go and see it you’ll know what that means – the stuff that Hawksley Workman speaks onstage. I worked on with Hawksley and Christian Barry who co co-created it and directs it.

L: What was it like to work with Hawksley and Christian?

H: Well…Christian is my fiancé; so, it’s comfortable and stormy to work with him. And Hawksley is a really good performer…that’s what you hope for and want, you hope someone will say your words as well as it is possible to say them, and that is what he does. I felt really lucky to collaborate and work with him on it. And I LOVE the play, I just think its sooo good. It seems unfair somehow that Hawksley Workman can walk into theatre from the world of music and take all the prizes – but that is for sure what has happened I think.

L: Performing is performing, regardless of genre.

H: Yeah! And I think Hawksley Workman’s music has always been immersive and performativeand theatrical, so the leap is smaller than you think.

L: In the program, it says the show is a work-in-progress – how do you anticipate that it could change?

H: I know that they are still working on it, and I’ve been working on the text. They are workshopping it through a variety of venues. Push is another chance for them to work on it with an audience there, live. They can use audience reactions to make the show clearer and more beautiful.

L: I can’t wait to see it in this incarnation and I’m sure it will show up again in the future for those of us who haven’t got tickets yet.

H: Yeah, I really like it, I REALLY like the show. And I can say that because I contributed about four minutes.  I’m a big fan of it.