I’ve been wanting to tell you about this Toronto artist whose work I discovered a while ago, and now he’s having a holiday show!
All images courtesy Henri Fabergé.
Cock-up on St. Creskin’s
Monday December 16 at Comedy Bar
Presented by Henri Fabergé Feint of Hart
Written and performed by:
And a cast of thirty comedians, actors and musicians.
His name is Henri Fabergé . His performances have always reminded me of the great Billy Childish – whom I used to see perform in London – mixed with the kind of wry, humorous art that comes out of Winnipeg.
What I find so refreshing about H-Fab is that he’s doing a fabulous, low-budget no-holds-barred take on multi-disciplinary collaboration – sort of like how Merce Cunningham, John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg did all those years ago.
He’s primarily a musician, but he works with improv actors and his brilliant set & costume designer wife, Juliann Wilding to create multimedia theatrical experiences that are hilarious, nonsensical fun with an undertone of serious ART.
I don’t want to give too much away, but Cock-up on St. Creskin’s is derived from his previous production Henri Fabergé’s Feint of Hart and is a partly scripted and improvised “three act interactive performance” set in fictional Edwardian England at the Boyce Naval Academy. It features General Lorette, head of Boyce Naval Academy; Instructor Rivas, who learns a lesson; Head Boy Alex Tindal-Tyndall, who plays the female lead in the pageant and Henri himself, who is haunted by a ghost. Sound confusing? It makes sense (sort of) when you see it.
I had a quick chat with Henri about the show, his inspiration and why he does it all:
VoCA: Where do you find your inspiration?
I find in musical performance there is already an established structure. So it’s more interesting to explore the intersections between different artistic groups…
Bringing those characters to life lends more context to the music. The music follows a fairytale narrative. So it’s exciting to create that world…
Is your music a key part of all your shows?
The theatrical performances are recreating tales from my life, yes. I was expressing myself through the music I wrote. So it’s the most straightforward way of portraying what I was going through at the time.
Why did you choose to include improv actors in your work?
Improv is not always comedic. It’s a good way to explore truth, because it brings out for the performers innate ideas about those types of characters and how they would react. Humor is nice…for me it’s more a performance than a comedy. I view it more as a collaborative art project. Comedy is just heavily about one thing, not about the exploration and truth of the thing. Comedy is such a strong presence, and I feel there has to be humor in the narrative for people to engage with it. A lot of our characters present versions of what we see in ourselves and we can laugh at that.
How would you describe what it’s all about?
Well, having it set in a naval academy is an opportunity to poke fun at power structures. Capitalism, over consumerism, getting away from the true message. It’s also celebration of the Toronto music and comedy scenes coming together, intersecting…it’s nice to do something that is giving comedy its due.