Books·Canadian

Authenticity is a Feeling

A work of nonfiction by Jacob Wren.

Jacob Wren

Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART is a compelling hybrid of history, memoir and performance theory. It tells the story of the interdisciplinary performance group PME-ART and their ongoing endeavour to make a new kind of highly collaborative theatre dedicated to the fragile but essential act of "being yourself in a performance situation."

Written, among other things, to celebrate PME-ART's 20th anniversary, the book begins when Jacob Wren meets Sylvie Lachance and Richard Ducharme, moves from Toronto to Montreal to make just one project, but instead ends up spending the next 20 years creating an eccentric, often bilingual, art. It is a book about being unable to learn French yet nonetheless remaining Co-Artistic Director of a French-speaking performance group, about the Spinal Tap-like adventures of being continuously on tour, about the rewards and difficulties of intensive collaborations, about making performances that break the mold and confronting the repercussions of doing so. A book that aims to change the rules for how interdisciplinary performance can be written about today.

When Jacob finished a first draft of the book he sent it to many of those who had co-created or worked on PME-ART projects asking for their comments. Therefore, the book also features contributions from: Caroline Dubois, Richard Ducharme, Claudia Fancello, Marie Claire Forté, Adam Kinner, Sylvie Lachance, Nadia Ross, Yves Sheriff, Kathrin Tiedemann and Ashlea Watkin. (From Book*hug)

From the book

Destabilizing is another word we often use to describe the work of PME-ART. Vulnerable, intimate, destabilizing, direct. Unafraid to speak directly to the themes and questions we fine ourselves exploring. Bringing imperfection into the performance space. These are all words and phrases I have used over and over again in artist talks and grant applications. They are the sentences I repeat to give those who have never seen our work some sense of what it might be like and, more importantly, of some of the impulses that lie behind it. I often worry these explanations have supplanted the work itself, especially in my own intimate understanding of it, that there is some feeling perhaps the most important one, regarding how and why I am doing it that these explanations don't even begin to touch. If explanations could suffice there would be no need to perform. 


From Authenticity is a Feeling by Jacob Wren ©2018. Published by Book*hug.

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