Does where we write colour what we write? Do our surroundings impact on our work without us truly realising? And how about the weather – or the quality and intensity of sunlight? These are the questions I was asking myself on my morning walk today, beside the River Glomma, in Norway. One month ago I […]
Award winning poet, Vera Wabegijig, published her first book, Wild Rice Dreams, after 20 years of writing poetry. She shares poems, and her life, with readers through her blog of the same title.
This week she posted about her ongoing journey of art making, service and healing. I am grateful to her for allowing me to share it with you. She began:
For four and a half years I had the pleasure to work at a local Indigenous women’s centre here in Ottawa as a cultural programmer. Over the years I put my energy in service of Indigenous women and children who came through the doors. The mandate is to serve Indigenous women and their families who are escaping domestic abuse, healing from intergenerational trauma, survivors of residential school, and who want a place to feel safe in an urban world. I learned so much about myself, my path, and my passion. The work itself was rewarding and it helped me to clarify where I really want to go with my love for language and my passion for writing. It challenged my worldview, ideologies, and beliefs. It was really life changing.
Ruth Hill sends along these thoughts. Ruth is a poet living in Canada. Hi, Michael. Thoughtful interactive conversation can heal great divisions. It is important to air out concerns. Anyone who studies zen knows there is seldom only one right … Continue reading
Andrea Stephenson’s writing and photography are grounded in place, and in her deep and abiding sense of spirituality. In this post, February’s Doubts, she considers the light and shadow that is February, and reflects on creativity in difficult times. I am grateful to her for allowing me to share it with you.
February is the fag end of winter. Though I love this season, this is the point when I’m ready for spring, for light, for warmth. This is the point at which the cold and dark tires me and I trudge through the days simply surviving. When it is no longer as easy to connect with that self I find in the rich, dark dreaming. I have woken up, but rudely. February is the alarm that wakes me when I’m not ready to wake, interrupting a peaceful sleep. It is the truculent moment when I haul myself out of bed before I’m ready, to a day that I’m not looking forward to. A transition time, but not the lazy transition of summer into autumn, or the barely perceptible change from autumn to winter. February is hard work. Read more!
Jason Grasl Lying with Badgers by Jason Grasl (Blackfeet)A Blackfeet man faces his troubled relationship with his late father and his culture when he returns to his estranged family’s remote mountain home.Jason GraslWhat is your favorite thing about playwriting? The idea of ultimate creative freedom in any directionWhat is your least favorite thing about playwriting?The realization of the…
Yesterday, we went to Montreal, a marvelous, if notoriously inaccessible, city for the day. We had planned to be in a workshop focused on using puppetry for working with businesses. Montreal is about two hours from here, so we were up early, aiming to leave by 6 o’clock. We finally made it out of the house about 6:30. The drive up was uneventful, and traffic in the city was delightfully negligible.
Usually we can find our way around Montreal with relative ease; yesterday, perhaps because we were already feeling a bit crunched for time, we were unable to find the workshop site. Even using a map, our destination proved illusive; we found ourselves driving around in circles, passing old haunts, and running into newly one-way streets and, this being the season, construction. Continue reading
Back in December Gaele Sobott published an interview with Amit Sharma on her blog, Gaele Sobott:Writing, Culture, Social Justice and….
The post was entitled:
The conversation is about a play he recently directed, The Solid Life of Sugar Water. The play centers on relationship, sexuality, and disability, hot topics for most of us. I hope you will visit Gaele’s blog and read the entire interview.
Sobott introduced the director thusly:
Amit Sharma has been the Associate Director of Graeae Theatre Company, London, since 2011. He recently directed The Solid Life of Sugar Water, a Graeae Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Plymouth production, gaining unanimous acclaim at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, leading to a 2016 UK tour including a run at the National Theatre…..
Here is a brief excerpt from the interview:
GS: The audience are looking down on the bed but they are also being spoken to directly by the characters. It is not possible for the audience to position themselves as just observers. They have to participate. What are your thoughts on this?
AS: That’s the good thing about theatre. You can set up a convention and then just totally break it. So whenever the characters were on the floor, that was like the wall of their bedroom but it became less about the bedroom, it was the post office, the bridge, even though the bed was always present. As a creative team we wanted it to be subtle, so yes the bed was always in the background because there was always that big question of them trying to have sex.
GS: There are many disabled artists and directors who feel there is a need to explore sex and disability, for various reasons including societal attitudes, the infantilisation of disabled people. What is the importance of sex in disabled art? What is the relation of this play to the exploration of sex and disability?
AS: The most interesting thing coming out of Sugar Water is that question has not been asked. It has not been unpacked. What the play does is almost normalise that very question of sex and disability. It is such a huge topic for so many different reasons. Perhaps it is because of the performers, one performer is Deaf and one performer has a physical impairment, but not to the extent where it impacts on their sex lives. What I mean by that is that if, say, one of the characters was a wheelchair user who had 24 hour personal care then that dynamic shifts. I was reading an article today about the Independent Living Fund and this guy saying how it can be difficult to live independently for example to go out and chat up girls because you’ve got someone else there all the time. So you have to negotiate that relationship. This play doesn’t go there. People have picked up on the element of communication between the couple, but the sex element not so. I also think it is because of how Jack as a writer was playing with the idea of sex. There’s a lot of comedy with some really graphic descriptions.
GS: Well yes there is comedy and there are very serious moments, a fine line.
Our workshop at the International Playback Theatre Network conference in Montreal provided an opportunity for directors, and individual performers, to think with us about disability, inclusion, and aesthetics. The time allotted to the workshop passed much too quickly as we engaged in a deep conversation about these difficult topics.
One of the most challenging aspects of any conversation about theater and disability is making the distinction between theater for, theater by, theater to, and theater with. Still other categories have been suggested, perhaps in an effort to thicken our understanding of this thorny topic.
These distinctions have evolved to address the difference between theater practices that nominally include persons with disabilities, those provide programing to persons labeled as disabled, and those that seek to be truly inclusive. The latter may originate in group or individual work by disabled persons, or by ensembles of “mixed abilities,” in which the presence of disability is acknowledged, but normalized, resulting in an aesthetic that explores the differently abled body-mind as a vehicle for storytelling in myriad ways. Continue reading
This morning I read the following post from Juliana Farha, posted on her blog, Two Worlds: Notes and Observations. The post, Why Music? Notes on Reciprocity, struck a deep note within me. Juliana writes:
Although she dreamt of learning the cello, my sister never played an instrument. She loved to sing but her voice wasn’t especially good: our annual duet of The Boar’s Head Carol at Christmas was as close to choral performance as she ever got. And yet Darya’s connection with music was so profound, her sense of the musicality of life with its singular and idiosyncratic rhythms so innate, she was one of the most musical people I’ve known.
Darya died of breast cancer more than three years ago, and in less than a month’s time The Forge in central London will host the premiere of Reciprocity, a half-hour chamber work based on her poetry which I commissioned from the exciting young composer Daniel Patrick Cohen……