As an official media partner of the 20th annual St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, Montreal Theatre Hub brings the #FringeBuzz in 2021 with an all-new interview series with artists from this year’s edition of the fest! In this Snapshot, we feature DEBBIE FRIEDMANN, Production Manager of the Phantom Limb Theatre Co.’s THE SPACE BETWEEN – which makes its premiere at Monument-National’s Studio Hydro-Québec on June 10th.
MONTREAL THEATRE HUB: What is The Space Between about?
DEBBIE: The Space Between is about coping with loss through creating a connection with the afterlife! A dark yet at times very funny show about how loss can also lead to new friendships, or romances even? A few of us have taken on a queer lens to the show, would love to hear what audiences think!
MTH: What can audiences expect from the experience of seeing it?
DEBBIE: To be a little scared but more in a fun witchy way then a classic horror show. They can also expect incredible performances. This cast is phenomenal.
MTH: What has it been like trying to create a show during a pandemic?
DEBBIE: Very challenging! Honestly the most important thing for me on any show I work on is trying to create a safe and comfortable environment which has been particularly hard with a pandemic. However, we have found some joy in outdoor rehearsals with cute animals and bits of sunshine.
Poster for the Phantom Limb Theatre Co.’s The Space Between
MTH: What’s kept you driven to keep creating during this past year?
DEBBIE: I realized how vital it was for my mental health to keep creating. To be honest it has been difficult sometimes to stay motivated, I learned early on that the virtual theatre world was something I wasn’t totally ready for so I shifted my energy into writing more this year, though I also was happy to get to do a great queer-ing of Last 5 Years virtual project with Contact Theatre. It was a tough year, but I got to take some great virtual workshops and keep reading and learning so I’m looking forward to being back!
MTH: How does it feel to be back presenting on a live stage?
DEBBIE: Honestly, weird! Obviously so full of joy and good feelings, but also tinged with an anxiety I can’t shake. I’m hoping people feel safe to come and share art with us. I am confident in the safety protocols Fringe and Phantom Limb Theatre Co. have put in place, yet I’m still nervous that everything will fall apart. The theatre industry has gone through so much yo-yo-ing this year it’s kinda hard to trust it’s really happening!
MTH: How does this show/story speak to our present times?
DEBBIE: I think a lot of us are dealing with loss right now. It’s always meaningful to have your stories reflected back to you on stage and I hope some of our audience connects to our characters. I also think, thanks in part to tik-tok that witches (which I have always been) are going through a bit of a moment right now so it’s fun to bring this witchy vibe to the stage.
RAPID FIRE ROUND
What have you missed most about the Fringe?
Meeting awesome artists from all over (this year from all over Montreal at least).
Favourite Fringe show you’ve ever seen?
I know I’m biased cuz I worked on it but I really loved Glam Gam’s Greasy: A Lesbian Love Story. Though one I didn’t work on and loved was Trevor Barrette’s Captain Aurora.
#Fringebuzz: which show(s) on the 2021 lineup are you most stoked to check out?
Really excited about Home Theatre Production’s song cycle How the Fables Have Turned, I know a few of the writers and Julia who is in The Space Between is also a performer!
Debbie is a director, choreographer, and thanks to the pandemic, now also a production manager and a writer! The Space Between is her first foray into production management, but she is no stranger to the administrative side of theatre. She co-founded Contact Theatre in 2018, an independent musical theatre company based in Montreal. Her most recent Directing work includes Chicago (Contact Theatre, cancelled due to COVID), Bonnie and Clyde (Contact Theatre) and assistant direction of Mainline’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. She has trained with Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship program as well as currently a cohort member of the Jewish Arts Mentorship at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts.
THE SPACE BETWEEN presented by Phantom Limb Theatre Co. runs from June 10-20 at Monument-National’s Studio Hydro-Québec (1182 St Laurent Blvd). Tickets ($10-12) can be purchased online at www.montrealfringe.ca
IG and tik tok: @dubzdirects
Facebook: Debbie Friedmann
Trailer for The In Between
Read here all of the interviews in the Fringe Artist Snapshots series: