Often, when dealing with our relationships, we get lost in ourselves. We begin to feel isolated, alone and as though no one could have gone through let alone understand our experiences. Debbie Deer is using her production, Exmas, to show how much we all have in common. Based in Toronto and centering around a diverse group of characters falling in and out of love with one another, Exmas shows just how universal our lives can be. Running at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre from November ninth to the twenty-fourth, it is an event you want to see.
Debbie describes Exmas as a “combination,” of fiction and her own life experiences. She proudly reports that she’s had a “pretty active dating life,” giving her access to a whole “spectrum,” of life experiences to draw from. “Within my dating world, not only were you dealing with different sexualities, but you were dealing with different cultures.” This mash up of totally unique characters often with completely contrary worldviews is a big part of the Exmas charm. Everyone can see some part of themselves up on stage, trying to find their place in the world. As Debbie says, “Despite your sexuality, despite your preferences, despite your background, we’re pretty much the same people looking for the same thing.”
Debbie is no stranger to the stage. She has grown up with a theatre and dance background and even worked as a V.J. for MTV. “I’m very comfortable in front, but being behind was new territory for me.” Writing and directing is a new “challenge,” for Debbie, she reveals her “biggest obstacle was actually fear.” However, once she saw people in Toronto “identify,” with her story, it gave her a boost of confidence and she has been full steam ahead ever since. She declares it’s been exciting and rewarding, “to go behind the scenes and create something.”
When asked if she could have written Exmas outside of Toronto, Debbie responds with a flat, “no.” She explains that living in Toronto has allowed her to “realize that within different cultures there are so many similarities.” She estimates that without the “progressiveness,” and “diversity,” of the city, she would be holding on to a lot of “preconceived notions.” However, while the Toronto is open and welcoming, it’s not a place that can be described as slow or calm. Exmas reflects our cities bright and bustling attitude with a dizzying array of multimedia. Debbie was inspired by the “stimuli,” of modern everyday life and designed to Exmas engage and excited audiences all the while, “keeping you on your toes.”
Exmas is a story that will grab you. Music, Dance and a flood of multimedia come together to create an unforgettable and truly unique event. It offers experiences we are all familiar with, in ways we have not seen before. Opening on November ninth at Buddies In Bad Times Theater, it is an event you will regret missing.
WORDS: TIM LUTHER
VIDEO: BRAD SILVERBERG