2018 Fringe Preview – Hooked

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Hooked - Windsor PosterThrough contemporary and jazz movement, Hooked looks at seven characters and how they function with their own increasingly addictive dependencies. It explores the possibility of a dependency-free world and the ensuing chaos when the characters are left with their own insecurities. What happens when the things we put so much worth in are taken away? How do we cope? Do we?

Hooked performs at the Windsor-Walkerville Fringe Festival in 2018.

Please give us the 1-minute elevator speech about your show:

Hooked discusses addiction in its most current form. Whether it be more modern addictions like cell phones and social media, or decade-old addictions like drugs and food, we have become increasingly more obsessed as we place worth and self-identity into these dependencies. We like ourselves better high, with a huge network of friends, focused on our careers and their rewards, and in power. When we are in these states and are engaged to our dependencies, our insecurities dampen. When they are taken away from us, the loss is only that much more devastating and crippling as we have lost what we loved the most about ourselves and our debilitating insecurities return.
Through contemporary and jazz movement, Hooked looks at seven characters and how they function with their own increasingly addictive dependencies. It explores the possibility of a dependency-free world and the ensuing chaos when the characters are left with their own insecurities. What happens when the things we put so much worth in are taken away? How do we cope? Do we?
This story was inspired by the real life struggles of addiction and how much of a role they play in our daily lives, particularly with the current generation. We invest so much need and worth in our dependencies that we have a difficult time separating ourselves from and functioning without them. We as a society cannot tear ourselves away and it is ruining our relationships with others and our lives.

Who is involved in putting your show together?

Cast:
Alysia Charbonneau (Dancer)
Originally from North Bay, Ontario, Alysia has been competitively dancing since she can remember. In high school she expanded her repertoire and began taking acting and vocal classes at the competitive level as well. She moved to Toronto to study at George Brown College in the Commercial Dance program, where she graduated with honours in August of 2017. Upon graduation, she co-founded Nonstop Dance Collective, a contemporary dance company. In November 2017 she also played the role of Voytek Frykowski in Echo Production’s “Charlie: Son of Man”, a dance theatre show about the life of Charles Manson. This is Alysia’s first time performing in a Fringe show, and she is very excited to be sharing the stage with such talented performers.

Raine Kearns (Dancer)
Raine Kearns is an independent dance artist, choreographer and teacher. She is a graduate of The University of Calgary’s Dance program, where she received a BA and concentration in Performance and Choreography. After graduating she apprenticed with WM Physical theatre in Calgary under direction of Melissa Monteros and Wojtek Mochniej. She has/performs for artists such as Decidedly Jazz founder Michele Moss, Tania Alvarado, Laida Aldaz Arrieta, Peggy Baker, Hanna Kiel, Helen Husak and Good Womens Kate Stashko. Raine has always been interested in expanding her movement horizon and her research has lead her to study in places such as The Place, London; ImPulstanz, Vienna; Tanz Festival, Berlin; Henny Jurriens Foundation, Amsterdam and Transformations Dance, Montreal. Now, living in Toronto, Raine is the Co-Founder of Gal Pal Productions and co-hosts a weekly podcast titled “Being an Artist is F**king Killing me”. Recently she co-created a dance film , Let Her Out, that will be showcased at international festivals.

Zoë Kenneally (Dancer)
Zoë Kenneally is an emerging performer and choreographer based out of Toronto. She is a graduate of the Performance Dance program at Ryerson University where she studied under the direction of Vicki St.Denys and performed in shows such as Choreographic Works, Ryerson Dances and the New Voices Festival. Zoë has traveled across North America for dance and most recently, to the San Francisco Conservatory where she learned repertoire from Robert Moses’ Kin and worked on new creations with Alessio Silvestrin and Alex Ketley. In Toronto, Zoë has worked with artists such as Louis Laberge-Côté, Alysa Pires, Alyssa Martin, Lauren Runions, Peggy Baker and James Kudelka. Since graduating, Zoë has performed in the Toronto Fringe Festival and Summerworks Festival and has danced with Line9 Collective, The Garage, and Company B. She is very interested in interdisciplinary work and enjoys creating and collaborating with other artists.

Sarah McLennan (Dancer)
Sarah McLennan is a recent graduate of the performance dance program at Ryerson University. Throughout her time at Ryerson, Sarah had the privilege to work with many esteemed artists from the Toronto community including: Alysa Pires, James Kudelka, and Heidi Strauss. Sarah’s own choreography was featured in two shows at Ryerson, and later independently produced as part of RE:Move (Toronto, 2017). Beyond Ryerson, Sarah is fortunate to have trained with Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Northwest Dance Project, the Movement Invention Project, and Pro Arte Danza through various summer programs. Most recently, Sarah performed with GADFLY as part of their UNBXBL II Program in May. Sarah is very much looking forwards to performing in her first Fringe Festival in Toronto!

Genny Stevens (Dancer)
Genevieve, born and raised in the GTA, started dancing at the age of three and has had a passion for dance every since. After attending and graduating from Ryerson University she found her way onto Disney Cruise Lines where she spent two years performing on the main stage as well as the deck stage. Currently, Genevieve is back on land and recently finished working with the Lower Ossington Theatre as a swing in Beauty and the Beast. Genevieve is really looking forward to performing with Pepper Dance Projects and being in her first Fringe Festival.

Nomi Wiersma (Dancer)
Nomi Wiersma is a dance artist making her Toronto performance debut in the Fringe Festival after five years training and working abroad. She attended Bird College for the Performing Arts in London, England, as well as the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and Los Angeles, where she graduated with her BFA (Hons) in Dance Theatre. NYC Credits: Baker’s Wife (The Gallery Players), NY We Love You (Duplex Cabaret), SumBody (Ailey Extension/ Chor. Max Stone), 6 Degrees…Process (Dir. Cecly Placenti). Kitchener credits: Nowhere Ontario and Kitchener; Ich Liebe Dich (Backyard Theatre). Choreography credits include NY We Love You (Duplex Cabaret), 6 Degrees…Process (Dir. Cecly Placenti), Kitchener; Ich Liebe Dich (Backyard Theatre). IG: @nomiwiersma

Kristen Pepper (Choreographer/Producer/Dancer)
Kristen is thrilled to be producing, choreographing and performing in Pepper Dance Projects’ inaugural production ‘Hooked’. She is a Toronto-based dancer, singer, actor, choreographer and a graduate of York University’s BFA Dance program with Specialized Honours, concentrating on performance and choreography. As a choreographer and director, her works include: contemporary pieces premena and Going Through the Motions, Villains: An 80s Musical Cabaret with Small but Mighty Productions, Cabaret and two seasons of Show Choir with Vanier College Productions (York University) and pieces for the corporate entertainment company Tropicana Queens. She recently had the honour of directing There Is No Maybe, a play about sex and consent, at her alma mater that was performed for 6000 incoming students.

As a performer, Kristen’s technical background consists of Contemporary, Modern, Broadway, Graham and Limon techniques, Classical Ballet (Cecchetti), Tap, African, Jazz, Salsa, Burlesque, Bollywood, Heels, Persian, Latin, Improvisation, Brazilian Samba, Jazz Funk and Hip Hop. Previous credits: Soloist/Ensemble in White Light Follies with High Society Cabaret, Dancer/Magician’s Assistant for the national tours of Seeing is Believing and The Magic of Christmas, Ensemble in DJAA in Fall For Dance North at the Sony Centre of Performing Arts with Lua Shayenne Dance Company, Kite Dancer in Illuminite with Creativiva, Ensemble in Rhythm and Movement with Dance Immersion and Lua Shayenne Dance Company, and as a dancer for musical artists Fancy and La Revolucion Musical.
Kristen also frequently works in musical theatre and film. Selected credits: Featured Dancer in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Deputy in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Fritzie in Cabaret, Alice in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Featured Dancer in The Producers and Reefer Madness. Some of her latest film works include: the role of Kim in James Franco’s film Blood Theatre, Featured Dancer in David Record’s music video Closer, Bellydancer in the short film Could Be, Brazilian Samba Dancer in the 2015 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony with Cirque du Soleil and Featured Dancer in commercials for Toyota and Sonica. Website: www.kristenpepper.com | Instagram: @k.pepps

Emma Monet (Stage Manager)
Emma Monet began her theatre career onstage at Canterbury Arts High School in Ottawa, but quickly succumbed to the allure of the backstage tech crew, transitioning from acting to production with no looking back. For the past five years she has worked at the University of Toronto’s iconic Hart House theatre and event space as an A/V technician. Emma was also the assistant stage manager for the 2018 world premiere of For Both Resting and Breeding with Talk is Free Theatre and has stage managed and produced a diverse range of events including photoshoots, concerts and fashion shows. Emma is thrilled to be involved in this year’s Toronto Fringe and for the opportunity to be a part of the ‘Hooked’ team. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. Have a wonderful Fringe!

Brian Goldenberg (Producer)
Brian is an experienced theatre producer and a two-time graduate of York University (BFA in Music, Schulich MBA specializing in Arts & Media Management). Brian has worked as Assistant Producer at Acting Up Stage Company, Executive Director for Theatre 20, and founding Artistic & Executive Director for Angelwalk Theatre, a musical theatre company that has produced 17 musicals with 11 Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations. Brian’s original musical, Seven of Us made its Toronto debut in the 2010 Toronto Fringe Festival and he conceived the 2017 original musical Maddie’s Karaoke Birthday Party (nominated for Outstanding New Work, My Entertainment World). In 2017, Brian produced three hit Toronto Fringe Festival productions that all received 4Ns in NOW, including Jay & Shilo’s Sibling Revelry, Bad Date: a cautionary tale, and Maddie’s Karaoke Birthday Party. Brian is a recipient of three SINGular Sensation BackDoora Awards for contributions to the Toronto theatre community.

Please tell us about yourself:
I’m a professional dancer, singer, actor and choreographer based in Toronto, ON. I grew up in Windsor, ON, attending Andrea Stafford’s School of Dance and Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts. I was a student of the dance, drama and vocal programs and graduated with a High Skills Major in Musical Theatre. I also participated in over ten musicals and concerts with Windsor Light Music Theatre while growing up. All of these experiences and training led me to being accepted into York University’s dance program where I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with Specialized Honours, concentrating in performance and choreography.

Since then, I have been an actively working artist in Toronto. While my dance training had consisted of more fundamental forms like ballet, tap, jazz and modern, I became a much more versatile performer as many companies I auditioned for and were accepted into performed more cultural styles such as Brazilian samba and Bollywood (Tropicana Queens), traditional West African (Lua Shayenne Dance Company), Persian (Ziba Dance Group), and Turkish (Evolution Dance Theatre). I also began to explore work in the film and musical theatre industries and performed in commercials for Toyota and Sonica, music videos for artists such as Astha, David Record and Hesam Dana, short films, feature films such as the role of Kim in James Franco’s Blood Theatre, and the opening ceremony for the 2015 Pan American Games for forty-five thousand people and broadcasted to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

I most recently have performed as a burlesque dancer for High Society Cabaret, toured the country as an illusion assistant/jazz dancer for Seeing is Believing, directed a play on sex and consent called There is No Maybe at York University and choreographed Villains: An 80s Musical Cabaret, a rock musical cabaret, before being accepted into the Toronto Fringe Festival and started working on Hooked.

I am represented by Hailey Joy of Fusion Talent Agency, which is based out of Windsor, Toronto, and LA.

Is this your first Fringe production?

Yes, this is my first year at both the Toronto and Windsor-Walkerville Fringe Festivals. Hooked premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival earlier this month and we open at the Windsor-Walkerville Fringe Festival on July 24th and run until the 29th.

What does Fringe mean to you?

We wanted to debut “Hooked” at the Toronto Fringe because of its exciting, inclusive and vibrant atmosphere, which we will bring with us to the Windsor-Walkerville Fringe. The people of larger cities like Toronto and Windsor understand mental health issues and their impact on day-to-day life as many suffer from them. They can relate to our characters and will be impacted the most by our message.

The Fringe and its platform mean a lot to us, especially myself as an emerging choreographer and producer. The festival provides such an incredible opportunity, support and resources, which would be hard to do without when creating and producing for the first time. It is also great to be working alongside a network of artists who are working towards the same goals and are producing such fascinating and diverse projects.

Aside from Fringe, what are you up to this year?
Creating Hooked took the better half of this year on top of producing and performing it at back-to-back fringe festivals, so I’m looking forward to break for a week or two before my next contract, aside from gigs. I will be returning to choreograph another musical theatre project with Small but Mighty Productions and have been offered another national tour as an illusion assistant/dancer in the months of September and October. The nice thing about this industry is that I live day-to-day and auditions from my agent or postings spring up all the time. It’s a constant surprise and you never know when your next contract will come up. I’m also looking ahead with Hooked and the possibility of touring it to high schools and opening up the dialogue of addiction and mental health with the next generation in areas that don’t have as many initiatives or funding like Toronto does.

Hooked performs at the Fringe on:

July 24th – 4:00pm
July 25th – 8:30pm
July 26th – 8:30pm
July 27th – 9:30pm
July 28th – 1:30pm
July 29th – 4:30pm

Tickets are available at the Fringe website.