The invitation of Robert Lepage is welcomed by the opponents

L’invitation de Robert Lepage est bien accueillie par les opposants

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The Collective SLAV Resistance are also said to be ready to meet Robert Lepage.

The invitation to a “meeting of dialogue” launched by the stage director Robert Lepage and the wife of French theatre Ariane Mnouchkine is very well received by the signatories to a letter of protest against the production of the play ” Kanata “.

The room, which must be presented by the Theatre du Soleil of Ms. Mnouchkine at the Paris autumn Festival in December, is said to want to present a new reading of the history of Canada ” through the prism of relationships between White and Indigenous “.

However, the distribution does not include any actor from the First Nations, which has provoked the ire of many artists and intellectuals of the aboriginal people and supporters, and led to the open letter published Saturday.

“Unfortunately, it should have been done well before that, but I take it well. I think it is a beautiful initiative on the part of Ms. Mnouchkine’s and Mr. Lepage want us to meet, discuss and have a dialogue and to reach out a hand, ” said the artistic director of the théâtre Ondinnok, and a signatory of the letter, Dave Jenniss, in an interview with The canadian Press on Monday.

Although he recognized that Ms. Mnouchkine’s work since a long time with the same actors in the troupe of the Theatre du Soleil, Mr. Jenniss says that ” everyone is excited to be able to sit down and share the why of our presence and see what we can do for the future […] and that is what we can do for our place and our art should be recognized more.”

He says that the occasion will be beautiful to raise awareness of Mr. Lepage and Ms. Mnouchkine from the point of view of Aboriginal people and the fact that they can be struck when one takes their history to reinterpret it in his own way.

“You can’t take the stories of the people and to tell them as we want on stage, and most importantly, do not put us there. For me, it is a total lack of respect, especially with everything that is happening now. It is 2018 ; you’re not in 1960 in an old documentary for Radio-Canada, which takes images of Aboriginal people and which in fact then what he wants, ” said the man of the theatre.

The executive director of the native women’s shelter of Montreal, Nakuset, who also signed the letter of protest, for its part, has argued to The canadian Press that the aboriginal community has a huge reservoir of talent.

“We know that these are all non-aboriginal people who play the roles of Aboriginal people. I have a problem with that : we have very strong native actors and very strong directors “, she stressed.

“It is necessary to understand that after the Indian Act and residential schools in the 1960s, we have lost our culture and language. We are re-learning our traditions, and we are resilient. The fact that he has chosen not to include us in its production is a kind of theft, ” said Nakuset.

The time and place of the meeting remain to be determined.

SLAV Resistance also ready to dialogue

In a folder is connected, the Collective SLAV Resistance, who had led the protests that led to the cancellation of production “SLAV” by the Festival international de jazz de Montréal, says he is also ready to meet with Robert Lepage.

In expressing his invitation to the signatories of the letter, the director had also expressed his openness to an encounter with the Collective.

In a statement released Monday, the Collective notes that it has ” not yet been contacted directly by the team of Mr. Lepage “, but it is said ” to have this exchange in the franchise and respect “.

The controversy surrounding SLAV was related to the fact that only two of the singers involved in the production staged by Robert Lepage to highlight the career of the singer Betty Bonifassi on the songs of african-american slaves were black.

Betty Bonifassi has recorded two albums during the past five years in order to restore life to these songs of slaves by referring to the work of the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. Although focused on the form of slavery, afro-american, the production of SLAV aimed to go beyond it and touch the broader question of slavery among the different peoples through time.

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