Debajehmujig Storytellers collaborates on the third edition of the international trilogy

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The cast, alumni, directors and stage crew collaborate on an international artwork “TransPoetico Trilogy, Epic Borders”. photo by Michael Erskine

MANITOWANING – The Debajehmujig Creation Center is teeming with activity as directors, actors and stagehands near the culmination of weeks working on the Canadian portion of the “TransPoetico Trilogy, Epic Borders”, which takes place in Mexico, Ireland. North and Canada.

The main event is an international collaboration between actors and support staff from Debajehmujig and Manifesto Politico, an international arts organization with a foot in many waters.

The Exhibitor met Canadian co-directors Paige Allerton and Carlos García Estévez as they took a break from the arduous rehearsal schedule.

Ms. Allerton is a full-fledged international performing artist and anthropologist who is in charge of the design and direction of the Poetic Manifesto’s open laboratories and its educational activity. She is a movement teacher and performs with masks internationally. Mr. Estévez is an actor, director, theater researcher, teacher and specialist in contemporary Commedia dell’Arte and masked spectacle. He is artistic director of Manifesto Poetico as well as associate artist and teacher at LEM (Ecole Jacques Lecoq) in Paris.

The Commedia dell’Arte is defined “as a kind of popular improvised comedy in Italian theaters of the 16th and 18th centuries, based on serial characters. The actors adapted their dialogue and comedic action based on a few basic storylines (usually romance stories) and hot topics. The form remains topical in the theater until modern times, hence the name “contemporary”.

The co-directors explain how they came to work with Debajehmujig and the fundamental theme of the trilogy they led.

“We are doing a show with local artists from Debajehmujig,” Ms. Paige said. “It’s totally from scratch. We didn’t have a story when we arrived and it was a six week creative process. It’s actually the end of a trilogy.

Ms Allerton explains that the piece is part of Epic Borders, a trilogy that started in Guadalajara, Mexico with the first part in 2019 with local artists, the second part premiered in Belfast, Northern Ireland. “This is the third part of the trilogy that was supposed to take place right after, but then COVID-19 happened,” Ms Allerton said.

A film version of the trilogy will also be released online.

This is the duo’s first job with Debaj, but they had visited Debaj two years ago, before COVID, as they launched the project.

The first part of the trilogy is called “The Door of Hope,” said Estévez. “It has to do with the borders, but from an immigration point of view, if you will, all the issues that come up.” Current refugee issues, economic and otherwise, face the southern United States. The second part uses the issues that arose from Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union, in particular those between the Republic of Ireland, which is still part of the European Union, and the Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain.

The third installment of the trilogy takes a different tact, examining the boundaries between humanity and the environment. In this segment, the co-directors felt that they were not sufficiently qualified to speak on the subject. Enter Debajehmujig.

Mr. Estévez explained that in 2016, they attended a world social forum in Montreal, as artists and not scientists, where they met an extraordinary man, Riccardo Petrella, author of “Audacity of the World”, who really is the scientist. The duo were very impressed with Dr Petrella’s work and took the opportunity to meet him.

Co-directors Paige Allerton and Carlos García Estévez of international theater company Manifesto Politico pause for a photo while helping Debajehmujig Storytellers create the third edition of Manifesto Politico’s “TransPoetico Trilogy, Epic Borders”. photo by Michael Erskine

“He asked us what we were doing there, as artists and non-scientists,” recalled Mr. Estévez, who went on to say that they were probably the most important people attending the conference. “At first we thought he was funny,” Mr. Estévez said. But the scientist explained that he is communicating with other scientists, those who use the rarefied lingua franca of academia, and that artists could form a bridge between harsh scientific language and the public by interpreting what was said in symbols. and metaphors that the common person could more easily grasp.

Dr Petrella’s book explains how the challenges facing humanity today, global in scope, can only be met if the whole world moves forward with the boldness necessary to meet these challenges.

“He said, ‘why don’t you make a story about it? “”

The co-directors didn’t feel like they were the people who should tell this part of the story, that of the borders between humanity and the earth, but that it should be told by those with more connections. close to the earth.

“Someone suggested, ‘What about the Manitoulin Native Drama Group?’ », Declared Mr. Estévez. Manifesto Poetico contacted Debaj and soon a framework for collaboration was ironed out.

The resulting production uses issues that arise locally to tell a story that touches on global issues, expressed through the perspectives of actors in a terrestrial theater company (and a group of former associates who lend their talent, their humor and their well-being). insight founded to help flesh out the bones of the story).

The Exhibitor has had the opportunity to witness a full story series, so far, and sat spellbound throughout the performance. We could humbly suggest our readers take the opportunity to catch this important international work created locally, here on Mnidoo Mnising — Manitoulin Island. The production will take the stage as part of Debaj’s annual Six-Foot Festival with performances at 7 p.m. on October 7 and 8 and 5 p.m. on October 9. will take place at the Larry E. Lewis Studio at the Debajehmujig Creation Center. Admission is $ 20. Call 705-859-1820 to reserve tickets.


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