Facility Theatre Presents THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION Preview – Interview with Director Dado

THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION director dado. Photo supplied by artist.

Editor's Note:  Picture This Post recently spoke with Chicago actor and director, Dado, about her work with Facility Theatre on a production of THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL PASSION, based on the work by Hans Christian Andersen and the choral score by David Lang.   


PTP: Where did the inspiration for this piece come from?

DADO: A mentor and friend of mine put the CD of little match girl passion into my hands in 2013, and then handily introduced me to Alex Monroe (music director and percussionist). At the time I was in grad school, and I needed to start thinking about getting OUT of grad school. I decided to stage several workshops of this project while at University of Chicago, and even though technically this was not my thesis, I attached this project directly *to* my thesis; I thought of matchgirl as more of a vehicle with which to drive myself out of the grad school experience, not a thesis per se.

Really I had been wanting to explore ideas behind democratic and systemic empathies, the empathic structures that are more public, more visible to the social eye. I think that we take a lot of social behavior for granted and that we believe we are far more autonomous than we actually are. 
I wanted to make something that took us out of the harder forms of theater and in to something far less predictable. I'm not trying to eschew all conventions of the notion of theater, but I don't want to spend a lot of time thinking about "how it's done", I want to think more about what does the piece itself need? 
How would you describe LMGP?
LMGP is an installation of an experimental opera set in a middle school cafeteria... but that's too long! So we have been looking for a way to describe this... I think I have figured it out. It is a Spectacle Opera. I didn't know what this was called for a very long time, I just knew that it didn't feel like a "play"... there's no script!
What were your goals with this iteration of the project? How does it differ from your thesis?
I really could not make time and/or resources to understand and develop the grandmother component in the UChicago work that we did, and I knew she was a big factor, simply because of the way Hans Christian Anderson wrote of her, and how she grew and grew in the mind of the little girl. 
Building the grandmother aspect of this has been completely thrilling and made me a little delirious. There is a real hallucinogenic idea going on here, as the girl begins to freeze. I went to Assisi last year, and I sat around in a lot of churches and I watched a lot of deeply spiritual and religious people behaving around the mass, and it helped me collect some images that you might see translated here into these particular grandmothers. 
The other thing that is important to me, is that the music is memorized and that the performers and vocalists are far more integrated than previously. Because in the end, we are all inside of the same story, are we not? In one way or another. 
What surprised you working on the show this time around?

The Grandmothers! They really did. They made me so nervous. Because they were so completely absent last time. It would have been much easier to forge on without them. So when it came time to stick them up there, I just froze up. I thought, no, this is good the way that it is, this is just enough. But the match girl is not about just enough. She's about too much. She's about excess, and imbalance, and disproportion, and the places you are not allowed to go, but then you do go, and what does that mean, that you go. So when I took the leap, and started to stick them in there, I was pretty alarmed. But once we saw them, with their lights, and their movements, and the singers and the actors, we all knew, oh no, we are never going back. You can't unsee this. Building these grandmothers, their branches, their movements, it has been so meaningful to me in ways that I can't yet articulate, but at the same time, I can't stop looking at them. And that's why things like art exist. Because we can't say them. 

What do you hope audiences get from the experience when they attend?

We try to rather gently but deftly disorient the audience just a little bit when they arrive, sort of like when you are not sure if your chiropractor adjusted you or did they just touch your back a little bit. And then, I am hoping that they will become rather internally focused on the experience; perhaps they can enter a somewhat hypnogogic state and not be too literal in their thinking, because that will get you nowhere fast with a piece like this. And from there, I don't know what may happen in their minds. I hope they might get a little curious, and a little hungry.


Performances of The Little Match Girl Passion continue through April 29th.

Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 4:00pm


Holy Trinity Church School (Szkoła ŚW. Trójcy), 1135 N. Cleaver St., Chicago, IL


Tickets range from $10 to $25 and are available at Facility Theatre's website.

Share this:
  • 9

Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *