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People will Talk: Diane Gaidry

Photo courtesy of Torn Space, image by Lukia Costello

After 25 years away from Buffalo, Diane Gaidry returned in 2008. She holds a BFA from New York University (1986) and a Masters in Psychology from the University of Santa Monica (1994). Gaidry, in her mid-40s, acts professionally, as well as runs her business, Verite Life Coaching (www.veritelifecoaching.com). She is currently in Torn Space’s Procession, a site-specific theater piece written and directed by Dan Shanahan.


Jana Eisenberg: Why did you come back to Buffalo?
Diane Gaidry: After my ex-husband and I split up, I needed a soft place to land, and Buffalo was it. I have family and friends here, and I knew there was a great creative community. It wasn’t necessarily a decision about my career; it was about my life.


JE: Do you miss Los Angeles?
DG: I don’t—I felt I didn’t fit in to the Hollywood/agent thing. It was like “square peg/round hole.” So, with my then-husband, I founded a film collective—we created an independent film community, based on collaboration and mutual support. Those values are strong here in Buffalo, and not pervasive in L.A.
What I do miss is film; that is my love. Working on-camera, in very personal types of filmmaking.


JE: You have made a connection with Dan Shanahan, and Torn Space. What is that based on?
DG: I love Dan’s work. In its visual style, it contains all of film’s elements, but it’s done in person, on stage.
My favorite films don’t mimic life. They’re poems: visual, nonlinear. Film is illusion and dreamlike. So is Dan’s work.
In our dreams, our minds are trying to work things out. That is the kind of work that I really love: strange, bizarre, and non-commercial. That’s what art ultimately, hopefully, offers us: a way of understanding things that we can’t necessarily get with our literal, linear minds.


JE: How does life-coaching fit?
DG: When I decided to walk away from L.A., a friend must have suggested it. I didn’t even know what it was. Now I have found a lot of similarities to my experience helping filmmakers realize their visions for their films.
When we act on what our hearts tell us—if we really listen to our “authentic” voice, we’re actually doing good in the world. That holds a lot of fulfillment for me: to see people’s lives light up with a sense of purpose, meaning and joy.
In this practice, coach and client are equals. The client is the expert on their life; my responsibility is to ask questions, to reflect back on what I see, and to hold a safe, caring space for that to happen.


JE: You’ll be doing a one-woman/two-ghost show in March, 2012 in Europe. “we are not afraid of the dark” is co-conceived by Tine Van Aerschot, a Dutch woman, and the late Tracy Wright, based on conversations Van Aerschot had with Wright (1959-2010), a Canadian actress, as she was dying. What about this project appeals to you?
DG: I love Tine’s work—it’s a unique personal take on the world; quirky but simple and unadorned. I’ve been told that the Dutch culture is considered to be austere. That comes across in all the ways that they express themselves. And it works great for me—it’s more film-like. I love that film is about “being and believing,” as opposed to “performing.”


Torn Space Theater presents Procession through October 9, at the Theosophical Society of Buffalo, 70 Military Rd, Buffalo. For tickets, call 716-812-5733. www.tornspacetheater.com

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