The Air Loom by Ming Hudson and Kevin Kraussler
August 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20 at the Yardbird Suite
More information: facebook.com/events/295603607460154/
An interview with Ming Hudson and Kevin Kraussler.
Describe your show in five words.
Dark, chilling, moving, raw, honest.
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
The Air Loom weaves a tale of two people whose lives are irrevocably altered when delusions begin to tear their worlds apart. In 18th century London, a man pleads to be released from Bethlem Asylum as he is assailed by a mysterious gang that may or may not exist, while in 2015 a young Canadian girl comes home from school to find her parent unscrewing all the light bulbs in their house because they have been “bugged”. What happens when your reality begins to unravel?
Your play is inspired by both personal experiences and the believed first documented case of schizophrenia. What sparked the idea that you wanted to create a play about schizophrenia and the history and treatment of mental illness?
There’s that old saying about writing what you know and one of the Co-Artistic Directors of our company had this experience (living with a family member who had delusions) and we thought the story would lend itself well to the theatre because of the meta theatrical aspect. Suspended disbelief is, in essence, believing in something that’s not real. We thought that was an interesting conversation to have. When is it permitted to believe in something that isn’t real and when is it something you are punished for?
It seems like it was important to you to include not just the person experiencing a mental illness in your show, but also their loved ones. Why was this a focus of yours in creating this show?
The reason we told this particular story is because it was his (Kraussler’s) lived experience. We think it’s important not to tell other peoples’ stories for them. Also, it’s not a story that gets a lot of airtime. We’ve seen a lot of theatre and we’ve never seen this play before.
I love the title of your show, The Air Loom. What does it symbolize?
The Air Loom was the machine that James Tilly Matthews thought a gang of mercenaries were using to influence his thoughts and behaviour. But it also sounds like “heirloom”, something that is passed down from generation to generation. A legacy. It seemed appropriate for the half of the story about the parent and child. You know, how do our loved ones affect us?
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
The Air Loom is based on two real life stories. The 1700’s storyline is based on the actual doctors notes of, what is widely regarded to be, one of the first ever documented cases of schizophrenia. The other story is based on the experiences of one of our own Co-Artistic Directors growing up in a household with a family member who was experiencing delusional behaviour. We think it lends a certain authenticity to our production. Also, we are donation 5% of our box office take from the Edmonton Fringe to the Alberta Schizophrenia Society.
The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.