With the pandemic looming over us for more than a year, finally having a vaccine to lower the risk of getting sick seems to have calmed us down, if only a bit. For the most part, we can go outside into what I would consider the perfect weather (while respecting the rules, of course). That said, a lot of us are still tense about what might come next.
The Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) acknowledges these uncertainties in the 30-minute video episodes of the reflective series Negotiations with Existence. The first two episodes are already online at gctc.ca.
Written, photographed, and produced by Ottawa/Toronto-based artist Timothy Trieste, Negotiations with Existence includes short film production, lyrical music, and short story narrations that contemplate the vast questions in our lives.
These episodes, made with the limited resources of a one-man production, were produced during the lockdown at Trieste’s recording and video production studio. It’s also where he works as Creative Director for Sound of the Muse Records—Creative Media. The record label offers the series’ viewers a complimentary album download of Trieste’s new songs with the band The Life of Pearls, featured in the series.
“GCTC was looking for an online production to capture the interior experiences and contemplations we were all feeling during the lockdown,” says Eric Coates, GCTC’s Artistic Director. “Earlier this year, I came across Timothy’s writing, short film production, and music, and was struck by his themes. I offered him a challenge to package his stories and music into something that would capture the interior dialogue that we are all feeling at this time.”
Episode one features two stories. The first one, This is Your Captain Speaking, is about an airline pilot who announces revelations about life to his passengers. The second story, It’s All Riding On Sunny, explores a beekeeper’s journey towards reconciling with her past.
Episode two features the story The Place That Was Before, where a stage actor, haunted by the ghosts of memory, searches for clues about a final scene from years ago.
“These extraordinary times have moved into focus the existential anxieties we have always known, lurking in the periphery of our vision,” says Trieste. “Now in our line of sight, there is a sobering feeling that the veils are being removed. It feels as though never before has our confidence in the future of existence been so fragile. And it feels more personal than ever before—not just a societal revelation. There is a palpable sense for each of us that we have been called upon to renegotiate everything we thought we knew about life and living. It’s all on the table. And now the bargaining begins, each one of us pondering the big questions in our small and very personal experiences of human existence.”
Negotiations with Existence by Timothy Trieste is available to stream on the GCTC’s website here.