Montreal Rampage spoke to the playwright/director Guy Sprung about the performance and the project Fight On! by Infinitheatre.
Sinj Karan (SK): What inspired you to take on this project at this time? Given what has been happening with the hearing related to the missing and murdered women around the country, how do you find this production finding a place in the contemporary narrative surrounding indigenous peoples’ rights?
Guy Sprung (GS): I was inspired by my own misconceptions about the invasion and occupation of the West, of what we call Canada. It was not heroic, it was not a settlement. Through a combination of lies, deliberate attrition, military and political force, and sheer numbers, Settlers took over the land that belonged to indigenous people and destroyed their culture, stories, language, health and means of survival.
SK: Can you speak to the use of satire and comedy and why you chose these theatrical tools for this production?
GS: This is something that we are exploring. What are the limits of satire when the subject matter is so serious? First Nations’ humourists have a saying that humour is the WD-40 of resistance. At times we know we are pushing the limits, at least we hope we are…
SK: Would you like to share your personal engagement with the material and the project? What brought you to this on a personal level?
GS: The play’s protagonist Frank Dickens (third son of novelist Charles Dickens) is intended as a reflection of my own ignorance, and his learning journey is one I hope audiences will be sympathetic to and inspire them to ask questions of themselves and our history books.
SK: As an artist, how do you see contributing to the discussion around indigenous rights in Canada?
GS: This play better add to the discussion about how we can more justly share and care for the land that we now all live on.
SK: Please share your thoughts about the show, things that perhaps make it special, different?
GS: For Infinithéâtre this is a huge undertaking. This first part is a professional workshop as we integrate music, sound, video and masks into a cohesive story-telling format. We don’t at this point have the funds for a full-on production, and have had to limit ourselves to two weeks of rehearsals. This means we are all working our buns off bringing the elements together so that we learn as much as possible and the audience can guide us in the development of the play. There are talkbacks after each performance. We are all jumping off the cliff together. But, as Albert Einstein said, “If an idea does not sound absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
Infinitheatre presents Fight On! Part 1 at the Espace Knox, 6215 Godfrey Avenue, Montreal. The performance runs from April 11th to April 22nd. For more details and tickets: http://www.infinitheatre.com/tickets