The Chemical Valley Project

Kevin Matthew Wong in rehearsal for Chemical Valley Project. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

One senses as one steps into the convent at Cité-des-Hospitalières, that The Chemical Valley Project created by Broadleaf Creative, is going to be a particular kind of experience.  The side entrance to the ancient building and the beautiful staircase going to the performance space will lead you to an experience like no other in contemporary Montreal theatre.  Teesri Dunya has converted a large room on the second floor into a performance space, and it works perfectly for this show.

From the title of this piece, one knows that it will not be a light comedy, but Kevin Matthew Wong puts us at ease immediately. He delivers the facts without melodrama and runs through some of the most horrific statistics without shutting down his audience. In fact he imbues the story of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reserve with a kind of grace and performance magic one rarely sees in such a politically strong work.

The projections and videos are so very clever that it seems as if Kevin’s guides, Venessa Gray and Beze Gray are actually on stage with him. The use of the projections and the videos give the piece a multi-dimensionality which carries the horrors of the tale to you without making you wish to turn away.

We know that the First Nation peoples were cheated abused and massacred as well as robbed, but Kevin Wong devises ways of addressing these atrocities while holding our attention. It was a privilege to experience this performance in a brand new space. For the first time is a long time, I felt that the standing ovation at the end of the piece was well earned and well deserved. 

The Chemical Valley Project is at Cité-des-Hospitalières, 251 av. des Pins Ouest, H2W 1R6, March 14 – 24. No shows on Mondays. Details HERE.