Making Theatre One Mistake at a Time

Written by Alex Colle

Every year, York’s theatre department presents a season of plays that revolve around one central theme. This theme can be anything the department chooses, but it must fill one piece of criteria; it must be relatable to the human condition. A chosen theme will be found in every performance aspect of the theatre department, such as in the trio of fourth year Acting Conservatory shows and the Devised Theatre unmounted shows.

This year, the department has focused on the exploration of Indigenous performance. In the frame of this theme, the third year Devised Theatre students have been creating an unmounted showcase with the intent of presenting them to an audience. With the guidance of their professor Michael Greyeyes and teaching assistant Moynan King, they have been exploring the creation of Devised Theatre by focusing on four main components of Indigenous performance: Interculturalism, Indigenous protocols, Postcolonialism, and the staging of ethnicity. They have named the showcase Making Theatre One Mistake at a Time by Wet Bread Collective (Third Year Devised Theatre Class). The showcase features six pieces that run 12-15 minutes in length, and is approximately two hours long with a ten minute intermission. They will be accepting donations at the door, all of which will go towards the fourth year festival. Making Theatre One Mistake at a Time will have two showings:
A preview on Monday February 29th at 7:00 pm…
…and the opening on Tuesday March 1st at 7:30 pm

Here is the list of plays that will be presented:

One Of Us Now: “One of us Now” explores the erasing of a culture and the cycle of abuse generated through Canadian residential schools.
Stage Manager: Jenna MacNeil
Performed by: Ashley Rodriguez and Sofia Demidova

Dear Canada: A physical exploration of the alarming statistics of violence against women in our nation. Their research was pioneered by their personal observations, experiences and understanding of the prevalent issues among our women in modern society today. Despite history’s attempt to ignore cries for help, their collective is adamant in giving a voice to the silenced. Their performers, inspired by indigenous practice, have collectively devised a movement-based piece to demonstrate how they feel about the MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women), the belittling and pressing issue of inequality, and feelings of inferiority among our women in Canada.
Stage Manager: Mackenzie Taylor
Performed by: Kat Francis, Kait Gallant, Rowena Tam, and Mackenzie Taylor

What Do We Have Left?: Four students struggle with their right to perform indigenous issues for an assignment. Together they come to realize with what their project should really be about.
Stage Manager: Shannon Farrell
Performed by: Rebecca Klein, Daniel Lord and Robyn Barnes

The Place Where Morning Lies: An instillation piece that focuses on modern interpretations of post-colonialism and our migration from nature and the earth towards capitalist practices. Society has moved so far from nature and its roots that it has begun to rely on false and unsustainable notions of living and truth; the way we live is a short-term solution for a long-term problem.
Stage Manager: Ryan Boulet
Performed by: Larissa Watson, Ryan Boulet, Dana Westerberg

Cerebrum Complex:
Through the lens of inter-culturalism, Cerebral Complex explores the notion that mental illness is a common factor stretching vastly across the spectrum of age and culture. With a script based on the testimonies by real people from many walks of life, our show reveals, and then deconstructs the symptoms, stigmas, causes and repercussions that occur when one is at war with their mind. Just as every person’s thoughts are unique, so are their stories.
Stage Manager: Melanie Petriw
Performed by: Joseph Burdi, Alejandra Florez and Charles Manzo

Settle Down: Inspired by the history of residential schools in Canada, Settle Down takes the idea of assimilation and explores examples of it in the present day. They show how everyone is a part of assimilation and who experiences it.
Stage Manager: Yasaman Nouri
Performed by: Kaitlyn Mifsud, Yasaman Nouri, Maryana Parfenyuk and Ali Watt