DECLARATION: Repatriation @ROM extended

~ Kitsuné Soleil in living diorama “Display” in ARTICLE 11’s show at ROM ~

 

ARTICLE 11 proposed a challenging project to the TAC’s Animating Historic Sites and Museums last year. A piece that would confront the existence and conduct of the very venue we suggested house us. Real, live Indians at the ROM! It seldom happens, unless you count National Aboriginal Day and the now expanded National Aboriginal Month. Perhaps you’ve attended one of the kick ass Friday Night Live events in Junes past – they are pretty killer.

This aside, the ROM has cultural treasures that belong to our people: collected, acquired, stolen and more. Like every museum in the country, our grandmothers’ and grandfathers’ gorgeous and intricate arts and crafts appear behind glass, and identified only by year and sometimes by nation. The “collector” is, at times, named, thanks be to Her Majesty. Our friend, a past DECLARATION collaborator, Monique Mojica let us know Geronimo’s colours are at the ROM. how strange it all seems.

Credit to the ROM that they have demonstrated a progressive enough approach to have us in the Roloff Beny gallery throughout June. Our work is subversive and beautiful. Our live show of June 5th was such a hit that the ROM are funding a repeat performance on June 19th. A Franco-Ontarian celebration, we and our collaborators will bring Blackfoot, Anishnaabemowin and Cree to the festivities.

Join musician/actor Plex (Ojibwe), literary icon/educator Lee Maracle (Stó:lō), actor/comedian Cherish Violet Blood (Blackfoot), grass dancer Theola Ross (Cree) and actor/burlesque artist Kitsuné Soleil (Cree) as we light up the ROM Friday, June 19 beginning at 8pm.

The installation runs, in all its splendour, through to July 5th during regular ROM hours.

AANMITAAGZI HAS ARRIVED!

~ photo of Penny Couchie, co-AD of Aanmitaagzi by Nadya Kwandibens, Redworks ~

we are nestled in the downtown marriott in ottawa, and happy at the arrival of Aanmitaagzi: sid bobb, penny couchie (pictured above) and troupe, drove all the way from Nipissing First Nation North Bay. we’ll all be working to bring an offering to the welcoming event at the NAC’s Ontario Scene at 3pm on Wednesday, April 28, 2015. Please join us, all people are welcome. Check out our “What We Do” page for more info on DECLARATION at ON Scene.

aanmitaagzi logo                              Print

ARTICLE 11 and friends in ottawa

DECLARATION is hitting ottawa in a few weeks. Greats Santee Smith, Monique Mojica, Michelle Latimer, ShoShona Kish, Raven Kanatakta and Jesse Wente will be jamming with us to offer up some creative visitations. Pop by the Salon at the NAC and check out our installation/performance creation lab. All people welcome.

spirited

Sera-Lys McArthur by Juan Camilo Palacio from the NEPA 2013 production.
design Moro, direction/writing Beagan.

we’re back at it.
in workshop with In Spirit, at queen’s u.

this work never stops being topical, yet it is inspired by a missing and murdered case that goes back more than thirty years.
our country is sorrowfully slow to take up the epidemic of murder and heartbreak.
we’re very fortunate to have the support of gregory wanless and the drama department here.
it’s an innovation, just to concern oneself with art that addresses our missing and murdered women and girls.
it’s risky because it causes conversation. conversation requires more than one person and so it demands engagement.

i was at queen’s last year at this time thanks to an invitation from daniel david moses. greg heard me read from the play at that time, and we began a discussion about visiting queen’s.
it’s one of the most recent adventures this storymaking has been on.
in september 2013, native earth had recently reshapen a season due to the challenges brought on by taking on a venue, and that recovery season included a full-production debut of In Spirit at Talking Stick and, thankfully, the Rutas Panamericanas festival, in partnership with Aluna Theatre.

this work runs under an hour. indeed, it keeps economizing, yet it’s been the most consuming of my life.
from day one, it’s been andy and i. we made leaps and bounds with michaela washburn as actor when we first developed the piece.
we gained ground again when pj prudat took the position two years later.
we are scorching all expectations with sera-lys in the role.
our FN actors are extraordinary. our women are indomitable.

from the start, there were big things that loomed large.
one – there is a “Molly shaped hole in the universe.”
two – she grew up at a time when tv was culture.
three – the design is a character in the telling.

finally, these elements are converging in a way that humbles the makers all over again.
the video design is strong and necessary, and thanks to feedback from multiple workshops and offerings, the blocking and text are lifting and REQUIRING each other.

so… thank you. for coming, for speaking, for asking, for reading now.
thanks also for passing along info to anyone you know in kingston about our workshop presentations – one is for students and purportedly quite full, but the other is for the public.
it plays at 7:30, september 23 at convocation hall. it’s pwyc and all of the box goes back to the department.

you’ll want to see this.

Fort Art

[photo: Brandon Oakes as “Clem” by Juan Camilo Palacio]

our time at the Fort started off with an adventure. the truck for our workshop set was pushed into place by 7 stubborn and generous humans as co-director/founder andy moro steered our one tonne friend along its way. the second day, actors joined and it was clear our workshop would be a summer art camp to be remembered. day by day, an empty events tent filled up and the world of The Ministry of Grace came into view.

workshop pics by Juan Camilo Palacio are here.

ben was our loyal canine companion for several days. he took to the presence of groundhogs as keenly as we did. ARTICLE 11 provided lunch for the hard working lovelies, and the highlight was, without question, fish tacos from Pancho y Emiliano. each artist approached the work with a unique take, and each contribution seemed to jive with very few hitches. the hitches were handled gently and became learnings.

to our delight, costume designer jeff chief created three original dresses for the show. patti and lindsey were transformed into 1950s church-going ladies. brandon was an adorable life-sized teddy bear of himself in his overalls “I was raised in these, man.” and after many auditions, the perfect jacket was cast to suit up the tall and lithe mr. mccarthy.
andrew penner joined us after his other tent show closed (congrats http://selfconscious.ca/) and brought with him some very twisted and tasty guitar stings and hymns. penner and moro commandeered the fabbed up mini booth (Fort Andrews) and jammed on the performance throughout rehearsal’s second week. all the while, brittany ran (cycled) like a banshee, assuring our every need was met AND organized.

we lucked out on weather, with the torrents pouring down only on the “day off” which forced moro to work only nine hours on site that day. of course that brought him home for work on video design.

the greatest gift of the work at the Indigenous Festival @Fort York was, perhaps, the audiences who came to the three showings. our first evening was a beautiful chaotic festival crowd. young children running to and fro, including the boys of craig lauzon battling with swords as a sideshow alternative – very fierce. our late night show brought our most devout and focused crowd, stolidly enduring the rapidly declining temperatures in the tent and remaining until the bloody end to applaud madly. our final evening was a dream audience. what better can one do than to have spontaneous applause when the antagonist takes a shovel to the head? three nights of standing ovations, and a brilliant opportunity to make changes to the work for each presentation made the whole undertaking a true-art-love experience.

those of you who came out, thank you for doing so. those of you who asked when you can see the show in its full splendour, please stay posted. we will be back, replete with shovels, song and superstars.

A Soldier’s Tale

Michael Greyeyes’ Signal Theatre creatively helms and produces, along with producing partners DanceWorks and commissioning partners Canada Dance Festival and the National Arts Centre. |
Choreographed and directed by Michael Greyeyes, this dance theatre work probes the lives of soldiers over the span of fifty years, from the end of the Second World War to our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 21st century. Devised for 13 performers, A Soldier’s Tale examines the ugly realities of war, reminding us that warfare and the reasons we wage it are irrelevant to those on the front line; war remains the same for each generation and the horrors of it do not lessen with time. The words from George Santayana’s powerful “Soliloquies in England and later Soliloquies” echo loudly in this context, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Beagan provides text for this dancetheatre work, and Moro has created sound and video design. Both are honoured to work in collaboration with many remarkably talented artists, including Indigenous artists Yvette Nolan, PJ Prudat, Keith Barker, originating artist Tamara Podemski, and Eva and Lilia Greyeyes.
Barker’s acting transports those of able hearts and minds to a new level of empathy, while Prudat’s sympathetic wife-of-veteran illuminates suffering in a way that sings too beautifully for pain.

Dreary & Izzy

Western Canada Theatre . Gateway Theatre . Persephone Theatre . Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company |

This work introduced the Indigenous theatrical community to Tara Beagan (and vice versa) when Native Earth premiered it in 2005.
The play was intended to have a Western Canada debut in Alberta, in 2012, but was re-scheduled for early 2013. The possibility of production had to be pulled from the Albertan company, due to differing ideas of professionalism. Beagan was deeply saddened at missing the chance to have this play run in its home province, but was comforted to know she was sparing artists from mistreatment. She was also leavened by the interest of the four current producing companies and the artistic and professional integrity with which they operate.

Strong advocates of Indigenous direction and design on Indigenous plays, Beagan and Moro are honoured to be on the quadri-co-pro D&I team.  The duo who helm ARTICLE 11 were and are continually humbled by the dedication of the emerging Indigenous theatre artists in the cast (Roseanne Supernault, who many know from her film and TV work, Dakota Hebert, and Garret C. Smith), as well as the vet (Sharon Bakker) who guides them gently along their way.

The Play
1975, Lethbridge Alberta. When the Monoghan sisters lose their parents in a car accident, Deirdre remains as the sole caregiver to her older sister, Isabelle. Just as Deirdre is poised to enter university and begin exploring, for the first time, her own future and independence, she must choose how much of her own life she will sacrifice for the love of Isabelle. Deirdre is barely staying afloat under the strain of this reality when hope arrives in the form of gorgeous vacuum cleaner salesman Freddie Seven Horses. Both sisters find in Freddie a new world of unexplored emotions and ideas, where Freddie is a port in a storm.

CAST & CREATIVE TEAM

Written and Directed by Tara Beagan

Dakota Hebert as Deirdre
Roseanne Supernault as Isabelle
Sharon Bakker as Mrs. Harper
Garret C. Smith as Freddie Seven Horses

Set Design: Ross Nichol
Lighting and Sound Design: Andy Moro
Costume Design: Cindy Wiebe
Stage Management: Sarah Wallin
Design Intern: Aaron Shingoose

Upcoming presentations – click for further detail:

Dreary & Izzy at Western Canada Theatre, Kamloops, BC Sept 12-28, 2013

Dreary & Izzy at Gateway Theatre in Richmond, BC March 5-15, 2014

Dreary & Izzy at Persephone Theatre and Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company in Saskatoon March 26 – Apr. 6, 2014

In Spirit

photo by Juan Camilo Palacio

a Native Earth Performing Arts production |

“I don’t remember growing up. Not really. Do people remember that? Growing? Only when it hurts, maybe.”

Synopsis

Spring, 1979. A young girl is mere days away from celebrating her birthday. Her dad can’t keep the secret of her gift any longer, so proudly presents her with a new bike – well… new to her. Birthday girl and bike take their debut trip along the nearest paved road. Failing to return for dinner, a makeshift search party finds only the bike, tossed into some bushes at the side of the road. For years,  family and friends imagine their missing girl into adulthood. This play is told from the perspective of the missing girl, her own memory returning for the telling, only in shards.

This story is a fictionalized account inspired by all too many true stories. Through the perspective of one lone girl, it is the tragedy of a peoples systemically abused by an uncaring government, made intimate. This play is a plea that it never happens again.

Native Earth’s featured production is the much-acclaimed In Spirit (formerly Quilchena,) directed by former Artistic Director Tara Beagan. Created by Beagan and the original creative team, In Spirit is a fiercely haunting work. Production Designer Andy Moro returns with a fearsome videoscape along with the sound and lighting he conceived of in the SummerWorks production where “he seared our eyes and ears.” (NOW Magazine, ’07 Top Ten Theatre Artists of the year.) Actor Sera-Lys McArthur (Where the Blood Mixes, CBC’s Arctic Air, Hard Core Logo II) joins Beagan and Moro as the sole performer, rounding out the all-Indigenous creative team. The work will debut at the Talking Stick Festival before returning to the Aki Studio Theatre and Rutas Panamericanas.