An extraordinary piece of theatre
The creation of a new work of music theatre is a long and complex journey but it is only with that commitment and rigour that a masterpiece can be born. CHARLOTTE: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music is an ambitious genre-bending chamber musical based on the life and artwork of Charlotte Salomon, and the creative team is now ready to embark on the final stages of its development.
This is Charlotte’s story. She was a playwright without a stage, a graphic novelist before such a thing existed, and a young woman struggling to claim her voice and affirm her existence. She recorded her remarkable life story, coming of age under the shadow of family suicides during the rise of Nazism.
Charlotte produced over 1,000 paintings between 1941 and 1942 while in hiding in the south of France. She imagined her life as a “singspiel,” or “song-play,” with narration, dialogue, and vibrant, raw images, painted with increasing desperation as the walls of history closed in on her. Before her deportation to Auschwitz, age 26 and pregnant, she handed the work to a local physician, with the message: “Take good care of this... it is my whole life.” CHARLOTTE: a Tri-Coloured Play with Music realizes Salomon’s graphic book Life? or Theatre? as she originally envisioned.
In the centenary of her birth, the production is a tri-national collaboration with a core creative team from Canada, the UK, and Czech Republic, plus seven actor-singers and four musician-performers.
As a mark of Luminato’s commitment to suporting artists needing time, space, and resources to realize their dreams, the festival brings the CHARLOTTE company together to continue their exploration of this magnum opus and to present a semi-staged production.
Indulge your curiosity for the creation process as you join the artists for this work-in-progress presentation.
Image: Erika Nielsen, Ariana Chris, Kelly McCormack, Adanya Dunn, and Xin Wang in CHARLOTTE. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.
This production is based on Leben oder Theater ?, ein Singespiel ( Life or Theatre ? ), a dramatized autobiography in 796 gouaches by Charlotte Salomon ( Berlin 1917- Auschwitz 1943).
Leben oder Theater, ein Singespiel by Charlotte Salomon is part of the collection of the Jewish Historical Museum Amsterdam, www.jhm.nl/collection/specials/charlotte-salomon.
© Charlotte Salomon Foundation, Amsterdam
A Theaturtle production; developed with the support of Canadian Stage, Toronto (Matthew Jocelyn Artistic and General Director, Su Hutchinson, Managing Director), and with a residency at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts Centre, Kingston (Tricia Baldwin, Director).