Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh Captain! My Captain!

Incoming Artistic Director Tara Beagan neatly tied the past to the present in her first words at the opening night of this year’s Weesageechak. She talked about doing her first play, Thy Neighbour’s Wife on that very stage at the Theatre Centre, and looking into the sparse audience and seeing Michelle St John – and completely losing her lines. Michelle St John, who for so many is inextricably linked to the first time we saw one of our stories – our mothers’ stories – on the screen in Where the Spirit Lives. Michelle St John – wherever she goes – is greeted by young First Nations people with awe and tears and effusion. Her character’s story in the 1989 CBC television movie is one of resistance. That she is a young girl who insists on holding on to her language, her culture, her connection to her people, has inspired thousands and thousands of young Aboriginal people, from every nation.

(that that story – Where the Spirit Lives – is contentious because none of the primary creators – director, writers, producers – were Native – well, that is another much longer discussion…)

So here is Tara Beagan standing on the Theatre Centre stage, some six and a half years after spotting Michelle St John in the audience, and drying, speaking extempore, about our stories, our people having voice, the importance of Native Earth, and why she would accept the role of Artistic Director.

Welcome Beagan. Hoka hey!

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