Anton von Webern


Music Title:
Five Movements for String Orchestra, Op. 5; Six Pieces for Large Orchestra, Op. 6; Two Songs, Op. 8


Costume Designer:
Denis Joffre


Lighting Designer:
Ron Snippe


Premiere Date:
March 13, 1990, Toronto Dance Theatre


Premiere Location:
Premiere Dance Theatre, Toronto



The boy -- Christopher House; His sister -- Karen duPlessis; A boy who loves him -- Graham McKelvie; A girl who loves him -- Suzette Sherman; The school hero -- Michael Sean Marye; An angel -- Bill Coleman; Girls -- Kate Alton, Miriane Braaf, Monica Burr, Rosemary James, Coralee (McLaren) Moen, Laurence Lemieux; Boys -- Bill Coleman, Pascal Desrosiers, Crispin Redhead

Program Note

Have adults forgotten how corrupted -- that is, incited and aroused -- by the sex impulse they themselves were as children? Have they forgotten how the frightful passion burned and tortured them while they were all children? I have not forgotten for I suffered terribly under it.

-- Egon Schiele, Prison Diary, 1912

The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.

-- Jean Cocteau, Les Enfants Terribles, 1929

A Melodrama in 12 Moving Parts:

(1) Brother, sister, angel; (2) School hero; (3) Girls dance; (4) A scene in a schoolyard; (5) Three children witness love as an ideal; (6) Night scene; (7) Games; (8) Three mirrors; (9) The wall -- labyrinth; (10) Dance hall; (11) Midnight; (12) The path of flowers.

Interview with David Earle, November 4, 2002

Dreamsend was my effort to pay homage to Les Enfants Terribles, a book that gave me permission to be myself when I was sixteen. After reading the book I turned in a new direction and have stayed on that course for the rest of my life.

The tragic deaths of Julien and Marguerite de Ravalet, brother and sister executed for their love in the sixteenth century, inspired me to create a story about a brother and sister who were in love and have a guardian angel with whom they play. At school, the boy has an infatuation with a school hero and, bullied for his puny size, he experiences violence because of his sensitivity. The brother and sister go to the city where the tragic and discarded city people find the siblings' love ridiculous and destroy them -- stripping and killing them. It ends in a mock funeral. Shrouded in black veils, the people who refused to accept them in life offer the brother and sister flowers as they pass with their angel, but they are oblivious to anything except the path they are on. I started at least three new pieces and got lost before I started Dreamsend. It was a nightmare time when Toronto Dance Theatre was divided in two and I had to prove my worth moment by moment as all the people I loved and had brought into the company vacillated from side to side, depending where the power was. I was artistic director then, but close at my heels were the hounds of fate. So it took an awful lot of nerve to create under those circumstances but I did press the piece through.

Michael Sean Marye, who played the school hero, is probably the best male dancer I have ever seen anywhere in the world on any stage with any company and yet he is still unrecognized. How does the artist get through the net to find the public, I wonder? Christopher House is also one of the great dancers of this country. Lar Lubovitch was the initial inspiration for Christopher's choreography and the fact that Christopher brought that element -- with its wonderful freedom and ease of movement -- into the studio affected me and my choreography -- as does everything around me. When Christopher and I lived together we exchanged thoughts and ideas and unconsciously played a part in each others' creations.


Dreamsend - A Melodrama in