Director’s Note: Choke

Nov 01, 2007

My first memories of Cathleen Rootsaert start in the early days of Theatre Network, back in the Jehovah’s Witness Hall by the Coliseum: So bright, so funny and so incredibly smart…
Flash forward to Soap on the Rocks, Die-Nasty! and watching her work with Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie: the scenes she wrote, acted in, and improvised, always had such duality – no comedy without tragedy – which is what makes her work so absolutely unforgettable! Sadness mixed with hilarity makes her characters incredibly human.
Flash forward to participating in two amazing workshops of Abigail in Twilight; seeing her production of House of Cats, and now directing Choke. Cathleen has a unique and exceptional voice, which is unfailingly clear and resonant. We are so lucky to have her in our theatre community.
But back to this idea of duality I am captivated by, in Cathleen’s writing: Much chaos and struggle before balance is achieved; in the midst of severest woe, there is always joyous laughter – a chance to release and breathe before the next calamity; the opportunity to reflect, absorb, understand, and grow from all the shit life deals, without choking – stopping, giving up! We have the capacity to deal – to break down a problem into small bits, or bites. The universe is big, and we are small, but not powerless. We can not only just survive, but thrive, with grace.
Maybe ‘grace’ is eventually achieved, but there is a lot of enlightened self interest, un-enlightened generosity, and just pure selfishness along the way.
I would like to thank Patricia Casey for her generous insight during our APN Workshop; Bradley Moss for his dramaturgical expertise during this process; and our gifted cast, creative team, crew, and staff, here at Theatre Network. As well as Cathleen, we are so lucky to have them ALL in our theatre community. This theatre company is all about growth and creativity. And grace. So I feel lucky, like Cathleen’s character Catherine does, in Choke.
It is my hope, by play’s end, that you will feel lucky too.
Marianne Copithorne