BC Scene Announces First Two Theatre Productions
Thursday, May 1, 2008
At a season launch on Tuesday, April 22, Peter Hinton, Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre English Theatre announced a coproduction with Western Canada Theatre (Kamloops, BC) of George Ryga’s celebrated play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, timed to coincide with the BC Scene. This production will be directed by Native Earth Performing Arts Artistic Director Yvette Nolan (Death of a Chief) and will feature a company including primarily First Nations actors, The production runs April 29 – May 16, 2009 in the Theatre at the NAC.
The Ecstasy of Rita Joe was the first play ever performed on the stage of the NAC Theatre almost 40 years ago and has been called the first distinctively Canadian play, with its candid focus on Canadian people and Canadian issues. Its glare is direct, unsentimental, honest and powerful and paved the way for a fledgling Canadian theatre.
Rita Joe, a young Native woman, leaves the reserve to find work and make a life for herself f in the city. What she finds is racism, poverty, obstacles and a world she is neither able nor equipped to navigate. She cannot go home and she cannot stay; ultimately, she becomes the victim of a no-man’s land for the invisible.
Director Yvette Nolan – 2007-08 NAC English Theatre Playwright in Residence – writes:
“The Ecstasy of Rita Joe was a way of understanding much about my mother and where she came from – not geographically, but emotionally, and spiritually. We used to say to each other, when Rita Joe first come to the city…or she told me, she told me, the cement made her feet hurt. It was a checking in, a comment, a secret code. It was a way of us acknowledging the difficulty of being different, of being other on our own land.”
Of the inaugural production, Montreal Gazette theatre critic Jacob Siskind wrote:
“I can only say that I sat there for two hours and was profoundly moved by something that tugged far more penetratingly at my heart strings, and far more urgently than any intellectual exercise I may have been willing to submit to…”
BC Scene is also pleased to partner with the Great Canadian Theatre Company to present Theatre Replacement’s BIOBOXES. Directed by Maiko Bae Yamamoto and James Long, this eclectic collection of short one-person shows for one-person audiences takes place in a most intimate theatre — a box worn on the actors’ shoulders.