As their childhood friend, I have had the unique pleasure of knowing Lior (aka Gabe Maharjan and “Babe” to me) since well before they were working the Montreal performance scene. For the first decade of our friendship, their creativity made itself known time and time again; in the make-believe games, we’d play at Benny Park every summer, as a performer in plays and musicals (in which Babe typically played a leading role), and even behind the scenes of high school productions as a choreographer/director. Over time, they’ve inspired me in several ways as a muse to my artistry, almost competitively so. They are the first person I would call to workshop a creative project and have steered me through many creative blocks.
Now after more than 15 years of scraped knees, graduations, tears and breakups, dreams and firsts, you would think with that much history, there aren’t any surprises left to be had. Yet I will never forget the surprise I felt when I witnessed them truly come into their own as a creative: closing night of their self-written, self-produced play, EVA IN RIO. At the time, they had commissioned me to do the graphic art for the show, and I knew they were going to play the titular role but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next. Over the 80-minute performance, I carefully watched as my best friend slipped away, captivated by the characters before me.
Since then, I’ve maintained a lifelong front-row seat to Babe’s magic disappearing act – in what they write, what they perform, and whatever they do. I witness it again and again in the diverse lineup of projects that fill their CV. I expect to be treated to such an experience again with RICKI at Centaur’s Wildside Festival, and I predict you will be too.
-Written by Ranee-Inez, friend, animator & filmmaker
Which ’hood are you in?
Grew up in Montreal’s Ouest-End. I’ve moved around the city quite a bit and have been in the Plateau for the past few years…we’ll see how long that lasts, with our landlord’s recent stab at evicting us so he can turn our home into an Airbnb.
What do you do?
Lately, mostly rehearsing or on-stage, as well as writing, translating, and dramaturging. I’ve started creating for VR and for the screen, which gets me excited! I also enjoy travelling for work. If I’m not doing any of those things though, chances are I’m either eating delicious food made by my partner, watching TV in the bath, or dancing till sunrise.
What are you currently working on?
Just had a think-piece published in This Is Beyond, an anthology curated by Evan Tsitsias and Bilal Baig. We’re just about to open RICKI at Centaur, which runs from January 30th to February 3rd. The day after we close, I’m taking off for a filmmaking mentorship in Banff with Spindle Films!
Where can we find your work?