Thursday, September 29, 2022

Robyn Vivian goes Deeper

Told through a series of flashbacks and old letters, Robyn Vivian's new play explores an underwater world full of life, love, and loss guided by three queer women in mid-80s and 90s Newfoundland.

Told through a series of flashbacks and old letters, Robyn Vivian’s new play Deeper explores an underwater world full of life, love, and loss guided by three queer women in mid-80s and 90s Newfoundland.

I hope people feel a little calmer, and leave with a feeling that a lot about life can be so much more simple than we make it out to be.

We learn more in this Q&A with playwright Robyn Vivian and director Logan Robins.

Deeper plays at Neptune Theatre’s Imperial Studio on September 6-10. Visit tickethalifax.com for tickets and information.

This interview has been edited.

Tell us about Deeper. What can audiences expect?

Logan Robins: Deeper is a world premiere by Newfoundland-based playwright Robyn Vivian that we are thrilled to share at the Halifax Fringe Festival.

Told through flashbacks and old letters, audiences will journey into an underwater world full of life, love, and loss guided by three queer women in mid-80s and 90s Newfoundland.

Audiences can expect an inventive fusion of text, movement, and music that wrap themselves around an impactful story that urges them to hold onto love.

What was the inspiration for Deeper?

Robyn Vivian: As you can probably guess from the title, Deeper contains a lot of, well, swimming.

I draw a lot of inspiration from topography and natural architecture when I write. For Deeper, I leaned on the geography of the island, including a very special story structured around the beach and inlet, which sit just at the end of the street by my childhood home.

I’ve never been athletic in the slightest. I have motor deficits that left me further and further disconnected from my body and my tangible self for a time. But I’ve always felt at home in the water. It eases the jerkiness of my movements, soothes joint pain, and gifts me with grace and strength I could never achieve on land. Over time, I appreciated its fluidity, transience, and malleability. And so, too, I began to find freeing those same qualities in myself.

Water. Queerness. Shapeshifting. I can’t help but feel they are connected.

Why this particular show now?

Robyn Vivian: Every time the future starts to feel rocky or uncertain for me, I find it best to ground myself in my past. I think that might also be a good strategy to try out collectively.

Logan Robins: Deeper has reminded me about the fleeting nature of life and love, and now feels like as good a time as ever to share in the hopes of guiding others to remember this too.

What do you hope audiences leave Deeper talking about?

Robyn Vivian: I hope people feel a little calmer and leave with a feeling that a lot about life can be much simpler than we make it out to be.

Logan Robins: I hope they leave talking about queer joy and a deeper understanding or longing for it in their lives.

Why should someone come to see Deeper?

Robyn Vivian: It’s really gay. Like, palpably gay. Like your soap opera-intense, unrequited crush on your straight best friend in high school kinda gay. What’s not to love?

Deeper plays at Neptune Theatre’s Imperial Studio on September 6-10. Visit tickethalifax.com for tickets and information.

The Halifax Fringe Festival returns to live in-person performances from September 1 through September 11, with more than 55 productions taking place at venues across the downtown and North End neighbourhoods.

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