FemFest Welcomes A Side of Dreams!

Puppetry, aerial hoops and the power of story. A Side of Dreams fits beautifully with FemFest’s theme of Hear Her Roar, as it explores how voices silenced can find their strength through healing.  This week, we are pleased to have a guest post from Jani Lauzon, to tell us more about her inspiration to create this fantastic journey of sights and sounds that we can’t wait to experience at FemFest.

A Side of Dreams (5)When I began exploring A Side of Dreams I envisioned a simple one-woman show that spoke to loss of culture and how generational trauma can silence the best of us. But as I allowed the story to guide me the journey of writing the central character became that of the playwright: an exercise in trust, faith and allowing my ancestors and the story to guide me.

Early on I had the pleasure of working with John Turner, (of Mump and Smoot fame) as my facilitator. John and I share a common vocabulary having both studied with clown master Richard Pochinko. I have come to appreciate this method being connected to the oral traditions of both my Metis and Scandinavian ancestry.  How we retain knowledge, stories and memory in our bodies and subsequently know how to retrieve those stories becomes both valuable in healing and teaching as well as a useful tool into the creation of theatrical material and expression. I was also able to work with Winnipeg’s own Christopher Brauer to continue exploring the world of the play while I was in Winnipeg for the NAC production of Mother Courage at the MTC.

ASideofDreams (4)And so it began, as most things do, with spiritual guidance. In A Side of Dreams, Spiderwoman weaves her web so that Haisa, a troubled and silent Métis mother, can awaken the spirit of the Dreamcatcher. It became clear that using an aerial hoop would provide the perfect dramaturgical framework for Haisa, to fall into the world of the Dreamcatcher. John Turner brought in aerial hoop artist/choreographer Jessica Barrera who subsequently has joined the production as a performer.

In the world of dreams, in this land of subconscious reality, Haisa appears as a Banraku puppet, brilliantly designed and manipulated by award winning puppeteer Trish Leeper with Jessica Barrera as her assistant.

While in this world she meets an ancestral dragon, a Northern Boat man and both Haisa and her daughter Aina face the truth of family secrets and ancestral violence so that Haisa may regain her voice and begin the process of reconciliation.

Upon her return, Haisa not only calls her daughters name for the first time in years but is able to complete the making of the Dreamcatcher and teach her daughter the first few steps of the dance, wise advise given to her by one of her ancestors. The journey incorporates an exquisite score composed by award winning composer Marsha Coffey and a beautifully executed projection design by Melissa Joakim.

Running at 55 minutes, A Side of Dreams will appeal to young audiences as well as grown-ups, ending in a joyful message of reconciliation and the power of regaining one’s voice, as well as the importance of embracing ancestral memory. Check out the archival video for a sneak peek.

I am very excited to share this journey with Winnipeg audiences.

The Side of Dreams gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council, National Arts Centre, Canada Council for the Arts, Arcadia Co-op, Thunderbird Centre/Miziwe Biik Employment & Training and AC Mechanical Contractors Ltd.

A Side of Dreams will be shown Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 – 7:00 PM, Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 – 2:30 PM, Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 – 7:00 PM. Don’t forget to also sign up for Jani’s workshop.