Have We Forgotten Yet? 


A festival a play readings around the subject of war

Winter 2014, at the Monument-National Hydro-Quebec Studio
In partnership with Black Theatre Workshop, Geordie Productions, Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal, Scapegoat Carnivale and Teesri Duniya
Curated by Cristina Cugliandro, with Micheline Chevrier

Photo credit: Imago Theatre

 

“Have you forgotten yet?… Look up, and swear by the green of Spring that you’ll never forget.

Do you ever stop and ask, Is it all going to happen again?”

 

About Have We Forgotten Yet?

To mark the one hundred year anniversary of the beginning of The First World War, Imago Theatre curated a play reading series entitled, Have We Forgotten Yet? The title takes its inspiration from WWI British poet Siegfried Sassoon’s work Aftermath, which deals with the paradoxical curse and importance of remembering the horrors of that war.

The series focuses on plays that deal with 20th and 21st century conflicts from around the world and the consequences of armed conflicts. It is important to note that many agreements made in the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, as well as the restructuring of borders and nations that emerged from this treaty, are in direct correlation to the worldwide hostilities we are experiencing today. Through these readings, we intend to encourage reflection and discussion, as we learn about the genesis, those affected most and the nature of the conflicts. While honouring the brave who fought and continue to fight for human rights, we also want to highlight those who continue to suffer everyday but whose spirits bravely cry out for justice. The works explore the different sides of warfare such as a child soldier’s journey towards emotional rehabilitation, the torture that remains within, Canada’s flawed refugee system that can lead to acts of desperation, the collective faces of war, the individual accounts of what really went on in Iraq, and the war on civilians.



The Plays

The Sound of Cracking Bones 

by Suzanne Lebeau, translated by Julia Duchesne and John Van Burek (Québec)
In partnership with Geordie Productions
Directed by Dean Fleming

Cast: Letitia Brookes, Mike Payette, Warona Setshwaelo

The Sound of Cracking Bones tells the story of thirteen year old Elikia and eight year old Joseph, two children on the run who have escaped the grips of child soldiering. As they travel, Elikia’s strength and determination to save them both never fails. Their story is a brilliant tribute to the unbreakable spirit of children who manage to survive the horrors that have marked their lives. Winner of the 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Sony Labou Tansi Award, and the Collidram Award, playwright Suzanne Lebeau tells us of the power of will and faith to overcome seemingly insurmountable circumstances.


The Refugee Hotel
 

by Carmen Aguirre (Canada)
In partnership with Teesri Duniya
Directed by Paulina Abarca

Cast: Marcelo Arroyo, Charles Bender, Ellen David, Braulio Eliser, Craig Francis, Ziad Ghanem, Gitanjali Jain, Gilda Monreal, Joy Ross-Jones, Amrit Sanger, Mayahuel Tecozautla

A dark comedy about a group of Chilean refugees who arrived in Vancouver in 1974 and were put up in a modest hotel. An uncompromising look at exile, torture, guilt, and betrayal, The Refugee Hotel is ultimately about love and its power to heal.



The Possibilities  

by Howard Barker (UK)
In partnership with Scapegoat Carnivale
Directed by Alison Darcy

Cast: Alarey Alsip, Mary Harvey, Mike Hughes, Mike Payette, Brett Watson


Howard Barker forces us to face innumerable themes of war in The Possibilities. Through various snapshots that take the audience to suspended places in time, our collective human weakness to continually repeat our cruel history is ripped open for examination. The human psyche can be tormented and tricked through oppression, guilt, and feelings of helplessness. As these sensibilities are manipulated, so is our ability to see all the possibilities available to us, and our right to stand by our personal morality.



Refuge 

by Mary Vingoe (Canada)
In partnership with Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal
Directed by Emma Tibaldo

Cast: Sara Bradeen, Eric Davis, Marcel Jeannin, Warona Setshwaelo, Natalie Tannous


Refuge tells the story of a former soldier from Eritrea who has arrived in Canada without papers and seeks refugee status. Seen through the eyes of the couple that take him in and the lawyer who represents him, the play lays bare some of the shortfalls of the refugee system as it exists in Canada today. Refuge combines two distinct aesthetics: adding ‘verbatim’ text from CBC radio interviews to the fictional world of the characters involved.



Palace of the End 

by Judith Thompson (Canada)
An Imago presentation
Directed by Micheline Chevrier

Cast: Deena Aziz, Paul Rainville, Amelia Sargisson


Palace of the End brings a fresh creative spin on three historical moments from the Iraq war. A U.S soldier, convicted of prisoner of war crimes committed at Abu Ghraid prison, recounts the events of the infamous prisoner pictures that went viral and reveals the ignorance and welcomed blindness of the masses. David, a British inspector sent to report on the presence of weapons of mass destruction, confronts the horrible reality of corrupt governments’ manipulation as a means to a more profitable end. Nehrjas, a Communist Party of Iraq member, relates the horrific torture during Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror. Judith Thompson once more delivers raw and gritty writing with these three beautifully written political monologues.


Ruined 

by Lynn Nottage (USA)
In partnership with Black Theatre Workshop
Directed by Quincy Armorer

Cast: Letitia Brookes, Tamara Brown, Justin Johnson, Matthew Kabwe, Tristan D. Lalla, Liana Montoro, Christian Paul, Mike Payette, Patrizio Sanzari, Warona Setshwaelo

From Lynn Nottage, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of such plays as Fabulation and Intimate Apparel, comes this haunting, probing work about the resilience of the human spirit during times of war. Set in a small mining town in Democratic Republic of Congo, Ruined follows Mama Nadi, a shrewd businesswoman in a land torn apart by civil war. But is she protecting or profiting by the women she shelters? How far will she go to survive? Can a price be placed on a human life?

Series Creative Team: Jesse Ash (Sound), Jacynthe Lalonde (Stage Manager), Andrea Lundy (Lighting), Kita Mendolia (Assistant Set and Costumes), Marjolaine Provencal (Set and Props), Diana Uribe (Costumes)

Guest Speakers: Frank Chalk, Alain Deneault, Dr. Myriam Denov, Jaswant Guzder, Frédéric Mégret, Mireille Paquet, Anna Lise Purkey, Carmen Gloria Quintana