April 24, 2019

Winnipeg
19° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Without words, dance piece speaks volumes

Alone on a circular platform, Aria Evans physically interprets the words and song of Natalie Sappier, a Wolastoqiyik artist from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

RUTH BONNEVILLE

Alone on a circular platform, Aria Evans physically interprets the words and song of Natalie Sappier, a Wolastoqiyik artist from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Finding Wolastoq Voice, playing in the smaller, intimate Colin Jackson Studio adjacent to Prairie Theatre Exchange's main theatre, is primarily a dance piece.

For its hour-long uninterrupted duration, performer Aria Evans is alone on a circular platform, a magic-touched circular structure of wood, sand and water designed by Andy Moro. Without ever speaking, Evans dramatically and very physically interprets the words and song of Natalie Sappier, a Wolastoqiyik artist from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick.

So yes, it's a dance piece, but it's one with the power to move you to tears with the journey it describes from innocence to hard experience, from depression to rebirth through art.

The show was directed by PTE artistic director Thomas Morgan Jones, who essentially midwived the work with Sappier while he was A.D. at Theatre New Brunswick. Prior to creating the show, Sappier was a painter. Jones presumably saw the writer within. So will the audience.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Finding Wolastoq Voice, playing in the smaller, intimate Colin Jackson Studio adjacent to Prairie Theatre Exchange's main theatre, is primarily a dance piece.

For its hour-long uninterrupted duration, performer Aria Evans is alone on a circular platform, a magic-touched circular structure of wood, sand and water designed by Andy Moro. Without ever speaking, Evans dramatically and very physically interprets the words and song of Natalie Sappier, a Wolastoqiyik artist from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick.

So yes, it's a dance piece, but it's one with the power to move you to tears with the journey it describes from innocence to hard experience, from depression to rebirth through art.

The show was directed by PTE artistic director Thomas Morgan Jones, who essentially midwived the work with Sappier while he was A.D. at Theatre New Brunswick. Prior to creating the show, Sappier was a painter. Jones presumably saw the writer within. So will the audience.

Through her movements, Evans conveys playful innocence, despair, courage and pride. (Andre Reinders)

Through her movements, Evans conveys playful innocence, despair, courage and pride. (Andre Reinders)

Sappier has a plainspoken quality to the monologue we hear that belies its poetry. She describes a life in chapters, starting with a very young girl watching her uncle fish for salmon in the Wolastoq (a.k.a. St. John River), and recklessly jumping into the river itself to fulfil a desire to be a salmon.

Raised without a father, her life takes a hard turn when her mother allows a new boyfriend into their home, a man bedevilled by alcohol, drugs and violence. His presence drives a wedge between mother and daughter, and instigates a 10-year twilight of restive "sleep" from which she must awake if she is to reclaim her life. That awakening entails an embrace of the Indigenous culture she abandoned, but which flows through her with the urgency of the Wolastoq current in springtime.

At least Evans vividly suggests that in her dance, which draws from modern, traditional Indigenous dance and presumably a grounding in the study of theatre movement, encompassing mime and stylized gesture.

It's a lovely performance, lovingly braiding together the seemingly contrary qualities of her character: playful innocence, despair, courage and, in the end, a defiant pride.

Finding Wolastoq Voice is the latest in PTE's Leap Series that accommodates smaller productions adjunct to the PTE's mainstage season. It's a fine choice, with the power to address themes we need to see more often on the Winnipeg stage.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us