A CASUAL RECONSTRUCTION
At the heart of this collaboration is a dinner conversation between six people whose origins are indigenous and “other,” about the challenges each of them face in being and belonging within the confines of Quebec, Canada.
Nadia Myre recorded this dinner while in residency at Vaste et Vague in the Gaspé, staging her own version of Jeannette Bertrand’s Parler pour Parler with her friend Miza’l Anglehart. The conversation was edited and transcribed, and Nadia had other artists read it as a script.
Hearing the original voices through the bodies of others changed the listening.
A Casual Reconstruction was presented as both an installation and participative event in Quebec City, Waterloo, Seattle, Montreal, and New York. When Myre told Johanna Nutter she thought she was making theatre, the two artists decided to collaborate.
They first staged A Casual Reconstruction at La Licorne, as part of Onishka's Indigenous Contemporary Scene at the OFFTA in 2017. Members of the audience were invited to participate in a spontaneous reading of the conversation.
For the Phenomena Festival, they added costumes by Elen Ewing, and for First Voices the Origins Festival in London UK, individualised scripts were developed. The pandemic moved the process online, achieving greater reach and accessibility.
Coming up is a live/digital hybrid double-bill at the MAI (Montreal Arts Intercultural) June 3 - 5 2021
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to participate.
When Nadia and Johanna began their collaboration, they added a line through the word "casual" because of the formal nature of theatre. That act has since become its own piece, in the form of a playful investigation into what a genuine sense of conciliation might feel like and look like.
Dubbed a perpetual work-in-progress, STRIKE/THRU is always changing, always evolving, along with politics of decolonisation and the relationship between the two artists, as representatives of an indigenous/settler dynamic.
This work is a fruit which continues to ripen through the act of many collaborative exchanges. It would not have come into being without Miza’l Jeannotte Anglehart (and our dinner guests: Mary-Jane Condo, Cindy Condo, Chris Brasier, and Josh Philbrick). We are equally grateful to Marie Novack from Vaste et Vague for recording the original conversation, and to Brian Gardiner for transcribing and shaping the verbatim.
We extend our gratitude to the organisations supporting our work: MAI, Montreal Arts Intercultural, Onishka, Les Filles Électriques, First Voices, The Vermont Art Center, Border Crossings, The Cole Foundation, The Canada Council for the Arts, Centre Turbine, NYU, ELAN, Playwrights Workshop Montreal, and the OFFTA.
We further recognise the valuable contributions of Lib Spry, Tim Rodrigues, Talya Rubin, Sarah Elkashef, Diane Roberts, Jacob Wren, Elen Ewing, Alexis Gagnon, Rod Shearer, Nico Williams, Tasha Chartrand, Natjelly Lozada, Pierre Holemans, Katey Wattam, Nadia Ross, Brian Gardiner, and Jonathan Mckiel.
And heartfelt applause to all our participants :)