2019/2020 Season Weesageechak

Ed Bourgeois: Honouring those who continue to whisper in our ears

“In a world with increasing ties through technology, many of us remain painfully disconnected — from our homelands, our predecessors and the touchstones that ground us in a shared reality.”

Oregon-based playwright Ed Bourgeois comes to Weesageechak 32 with his latest creation, River of Blood. Set in the early 18th century, Joseph, a modern Indigenous man, confronts the true nature of his mixed ancestral heritage through his relationship with his daughter. 

We don’t always recognize or know how to relate to the trauma, the memories, the dreams and the voices that reach out to us from the past. River of Blood honours the ancestors — those who wished us love, those who sent us messages, and those who continue to whisper in our ears.

Catch the staged reading of Ed’s play on November 14th, alongside Christopher Mejaki, Cole Forrest and Maria Campbell, Yvette Nolan, Marilyn Poitras and Cheryl Troupe.

Learn more about Ed Bourgeois

Why is Weesageechak the right place to present your work?
The specific historical setting of River of Blood — New England, New France and Iroquoia in the early 18th century — represents an interweaving of cultures that is barely mentioned in US textbooks today, despite that fact that so many of us have all three roots in our family trees. The complexity and subtlety of multilingualism and diplomacy are far removed for US audiences, but I expect them to play better with Canadian audiences, whose ears are more attuned to the many shades between black and white.

What kind of reaction or effect do you want your piece to have to the audience?
I hope the audience will see themselves in the mixed people on stage, and have an understanding that those people are dealing with gifts over which they do not have control. We are made up of all the things that have flowed downriver to us.

Where do you find your inspiration for your creative work?
To be inspired is to be in spirit. The work comes from listening carefully to the spirit world and then not getting in the way with our egos.

Who is your Indigenous role model? How do they inspire you?
Oglala Lakota visual artist Walt Pourier. “To be inspired is to be in spirit” is his quote. Walt reminds me to work from our values.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“Stop acting and just do it!”

What are you craving right now?
Quiet time to get the next three plays in my brain down on paper.

What is coming up next for you?
Coordinating the pilot Native Artist Residencies + NPN Creation Fund project: The Indigenous Road Show, devised with Indigenous artists and director in residence at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska. The work will premiere in Portland, Oregon next summer.

Thursday November 14, 2019

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