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Taking inspiration from the iconic Canadian folk song Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers, this evocative and timely work weaves together a complex tapestry of ideas: from the colonial quest for the Northwest Passage to contemporary Arctic Sovereignty; from global warming to the human nervous system; from the doomed Franklin Expedition to the legacy of the explorer’s wife, Jane Franklin.
Taking inspiration from Glenn Gould’s landmark 1967 CBC Radio documentary The Idea of North (recorded aboard the “Muskeg Express” train to Churchill), this “contrapuntal theatre documentary” seeks to re-examine and re-define the Idea of North in the Canadian conscience / identity / collective imagination 50 years later.
In the Age of Melting, we can no longer consider “North” without also considering “South” and how these geographic/cultural counterpoints inform, contradict and define us as a complex, multi-cultural, meteorologically and geographically diverse nation.
Through a series of interviews recorded by Evalyn Parry and Elysha Poirier with citizens in Toronto, Ontario (2014) and Churchill, Manitoba (2015), this project embarks on a longitudinal conversation between the Canadian North and South.
This project was part of Summerworks LiveArt series in 2014, and then at Theatre Passe Muraille in 2015.
Stay tuned for the launch of the interactive website inspired by these conversations, created by Elysha Poirier (coming fall of 2017).
A concert and a conversation, Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools is the meeting place of two people, and the North and South of our country. Inuk artist Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and queer theatre-maker Evalyn Parry met on an Arctic expedition from Iqaluit to Greenland. Now sharing a stage, these two powerful storytellers map new territory together in a work that gives voice and body to the histories, culture and climate we’ve inherited, and asks how we reckon with these sharp tools.
In Inuktitut language, when a knife is dull, it is said to “have no face”. The word “Kiinalik” translates to mean the knife is sharp – or, “it has a face”.
This new work premieres at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Oct 24-Nov 5 2017.