Jenn Forgie: Disconnection and Un-Belonging

This is a story I’ve wanted to share for many years, because I wanted to bring voice to the experience of disconnection and un-belonging, starting first with the Body.

Seven Pieces is an interdisciplinary play that explores the effects of dissociation and the steps to healing one’s Self and Body, after childhood abuse and cultural erosion. Through dynamic and nuanced physicality, vocal expression and breath, Jenn Forgie tells the story of Kate and her child self Katie, guiding us through their childhood home, moments of denial of their Métis roots, the dull disconnect to their French Canadian culture, and the powerful force of religion as the shield between secrets, truth and what remains unseen.

Jenn Forgie and Lisa Nasson in Seven Pieces, Weesageechak 31. Photo by Kaytee Dalton

Developed as part of Native Earth’s Animikiig Creators UnitSeven Pieces is a revealing tale of courage, healing, and reclamation of a woman who must face her past.

(Snippet from Seven Pieces)
CHILD KATIE: I’m an Indian? 
MOTHER: We’re not Indian.
KATE: The je ne c’est quoi of shushed hushed languages
MOTHER/CHILD KATIE: Kilts and bagpipes and filthy Scots and—
KATE: The jagged lines of tight lips and severed bloodlines.
MOTHER: Before the long fade out buzz of the heat bugs in the maples

Since last festival’s short reading, the piece has bloomed further. Catch the extended version on November 20th!

Learn more about Jenn Forgie

What inspired you to create the piece?
I did not discover the “way in” to how I would tell it until I had a life changing experience with elephants in Thailand who were no longer free.

How did the piece change/evolve/develop from last year’s presentation at Weesageechak?
The story has evolved to a full, complete play; one character was revealed to be not their own character but to exist in the bodies of the two main characters. We have also been engaging in workshops, thanks to Canada Council for the Arts, exploring and developing the physical and vocal languages of the characters and integrating this with the script. I hope to continue to develop Seven Pieces this way through 2020. In addition, I am gaining clarity about the underlying theme around identity for the main character and I’ve been exploring the ways of weaving this into the script.

Cheri Maracle and Jenn Forgie in Seven Pieces, Weesageechak 31. Photo by Kaytee Dalton

What kind of reaction or effect do you want your piece to have to the audience?
I hope to offer a glimpse of the interdisciplinary aspects of the play; I hope they see the Light of this story and have a sense of the container it is built around. I hope they have a sense of the theme around Belonging and that they relate in some way, within themselves, to their own desires for belonging and experiences of un-belonging. I hope they want to see more of this play!

Where do you find your inspiration for your creative work?
I find it in myself first, in my own lived experience, and respecting that and in coming from a place of truth and integrity. I am also inspired by the incredible artists I am privileged to work with.

Who is your role model and how do they inspire you?
This is a tricky question for me because I don’t have one mentor I am inspired by. I have several and they influence and inspire me in such varied and unique ways. I suppose in general I am very inspired by women who find their ways home to themselves, however and whatever that means. Their strength and courage inspires me every day and they are everywhere.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Of late, the best advice I’ve been given and I’m finally allowing myself to receive is that I don’t need to work so HARD! I can trust…I can relax into the work. As an actor in my own written piece, it is encouraging to hear “you don’t need to work so hard, Jenn. The writer has given everything you need right there in the text and breath.”

What are you craving right now?
I am craving the resources, space and time to further expand the interdisciplinary elements and languages of Seven Pieces, with the artists I want to work with. I’m craving clarity about one character in particular, though I’m trying to relax and let her reveal herself to me when she’s ready.

Jenn Forgie and Lisa Nasson in Seven Pieces, Weesageechak 31. Photo by Kaytee Dalton

What is coming up next for you?
I will be launching my website in the next few months, focused on my work as a writer. Primarily, I will be diving deeper into the next phases of writing and dramaturgy of Seven Pieces. And who knows what else is coming! I can’t wait to embrace it all!

Wednesday November 20, 2019

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