Unscripted. Unstaged. Kat Single-Dain.Unscripted. Unstaged. is an interview series from Laura Murray Public Relations that speaks with fascinating artists, advocates, administrators, and other individuals who keep the Canadian artistic community visible, viable, and vibrant. This week we spoke with Kat Single-Dain of The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret; an award-winning filmmaker, critically acclaimed choreographer, and dramaturge specializing in the intersection of clowning, contemporary dance and swing dance. Kat recently wrote, directed and choreographed Hard Times Hit Parade, an immersive theatrical experience set in a Depression era dance marathon. She is currently touring the show through the support of Made in BC.
Oh, that moment ! To be honest I usually try to avoid introducing myself altogether. I’d rather talk about something that interests us both, and introduce myself naturally through the content of a conversation.
But that doesn’t answer your question. Well, it may be like, “Hi, I’m Kat. Did you know that a raisin will bounce continuously up and down if you put it in your champagne? Watch this….”
And then later I’d be saying:
“….Yeah, I just found that I wasn’t connecting to many of the dance performances I saw on stage, yet I loved to dance and saw so much potential for human to human connection in the form. I mean, any dance festival or great house party will show you that, but it wasn’t translating to the relationship between performer and audience on stage. That’s why after studying contemporary dance at Berkeley, I became a clown and then came back to choreograph with a totally new lens, and now I’m directing a whole troupe of dancer-clowns. Whoa, it works with beer too! Nice one….”
Q: If we checked your nightstand, what books would we find you reading right now?
Thank you for asking. I’m reading a great book that I would highly recommend, and I’m very picky about books so I like to hear other people’s favorites too. It’s a transcript of a CBC lecture series called A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright. Brilliant. It starts with evolution and details many of the patterns of human history that we are seemingly doomed to repeat at this moment in time. I am particularly drawn to our history as apes, and almost always have an ape in my dance pieces to remind us of our roots.
Q: If we checked your computer, what favourite sites would be bookmarked?
Hmm, I’ll check. Well it looks like I have a lot of bookmarks for sites I am featured on in some way because I will very easily forget them and am challenged to keep records of these things. There’s also The Funginears, fabulous collaborators, masters of animation and fun-egineering on the Sunshine Coast, Body Research, a friend from San Fransisco, and Internet Archive, where I get all my rights free music from the 30s. This was an invaluable resource for Hard Times Hit Parade and the feature film version of it. Amazing stuff. PS. Hard Times Hit Parade is a theatrical dance marathon set in Depression era America that I wrote directed choreographed and produced. There is a feature film currently in post production.
Q: How did you come to do what you do – was there a defining moment you can tell us about?
I think it was my consistent drive to create mini plays and dances and tell stories when I was a kid. I mean, I strayed from that desire for a long time, mostly from lack of confidence and societal misdirection, but how I ‘came to do what I do’ was by basically doing what I was doing all along! Picasso said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up?”
I recognize that it’s a privileged position to be in: to do what I want. Ultimately my goal is to use art as a tool to bring people into deeper empathy with one another. The way I can do that is by revealing myself as fully as I can. To be transparent and honest, as a person and as an artist.
Q: When it comes to marketing, is there a particular campaign or a poster, advertisement, or promotion that made a significant impact or that stands out in your mind?
What has always worked for us is dressing up like ragamuffin pirates and taking to the streets with instruments and dances. From Nevada to Montreal, that’s been the best way to advertise to new audiences, have a good time, and often get on the local TV.
Q: Lastly, what inspires you?
When laughing and crying happen simultaneously.
BC residents can catch Hard Times Hit Parade in two cities during the coming week:
January 27, 7:30pm: Courtenay, BC at the Sid Williams Theatre