Makayla MorganAbout Makayla

Hello all! My name is Makayla Morgan and I am a first year journalism student here at Carleton University. I am from a small town in Ontario called Ajax and have lived there all my life. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write. I spent a long time trying to figure out how I was going to make a career out of that. Combining my rather outgoing personality and writing skills, I found journalism. Around the same time, I found the dramatic arts and theatre. I love it. I had always been a theatrical and dramatic kid. I wanted to perform; to become someone else, even if only for a little while. I thoroughly enjoy both performing and watching theatre and I have been doing so for about 4- 5 years now. I firmly believe that theatre is one of the best conduits for social change and that the world would be a much duller place without it. Theatre helps us understand each other and the world around us. That’s why I want to write about it. I want to take theatre apart, understand what makes it amazing and then tell people about it.

About the NAC Student Performance Review Project


Makayla’s Review: The storytelling of dance theatre show Finding Wolastoq Voice

Aria Evans as she dances in dance theatre show Finding Wolastoq Voice. Submitted by Andre Reinders

Aria Evans as she dances in dance theatre show Finding Wolastoq Voice. Submitted by Andre Reinders

Dance is meant to take the viewer on a journey. The performer tells a story with their body and music. Finding Wolastoq Voice by Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier), a dance theatre piece about an Indigenous woman reconnecting with her cultural identity in a modern world, is no exception to that rule.

Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones, the show combines the movement of dancer Aria Evans and tech by Andy Moro and Michael Doherty to portray feelings of faith, suffering and belonging, while also moving the audience through the memories of a young Wolastoqiyik woman in search of herself.

The audience is captivated by the graceful movements of Evans as her dance brings the extradiegetic monologues to life, while also being accompanied by female voices singing Indigenous songs. She breathes life into the words, expressing emotion that cannot just be spoken. In the beginning, the audience is greeted with a breathing that’s repeated during the production, centering them and the character. The lighting aids the dance in making the viewer feel the woman’s emotions. It’s constantly changing as the monologues shift tone, the music changes volume and tempo and as the emotion of the dancer changes. The lighting helps to move the audience through the memories of the woman.

The set design is simplistic, however, the dancer manipulates it by building it up further using curved wooden posts and red ribbons. This adds complexity and symbolic meaning that can be interpreted in many ways. The circular platform is surrounded by sand with water and rocks extending out from the centre, exemplifying how important elements are to the show. The set is designed to connect back to the water, an important part of the story.

Finding Wolastoq Voice brings a new meaning to the term storytelling, something so valued in Indigenous culture.

Victoria PelkyAbout Victoria

My name is Victoria Pelky and I am starting my masters at Carleton in the program of Indigenous and Canadian Studies.  I am originally from the small northern Ontario town of Blind River, located roughly 9 hours from Ottawa. My primary and secondary education was all done in French in a school, leaving me bilingual from a very young age. Over the last three years, I attended Trent University, where I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts with honors in French studies and history. Coming to Carleton, my academic interest lies in the questions surrounding the rights of the French Ontario people, specifically surrounding education. Self-expression and cultural identity is something that I hold close to my heart, having not only been part of the francophone minority within the province but also as part of the Metis minority. Both of whom have had to stand up and fight for their rights within the province and the country. I believe that my background will bring a unique perspective on future projects and experiences and may inspire others who find themselves in similar situations. Within our country anything is possible.

Victoria Pelky’s Review

The production of Finding Wolastoq Voice is a unique and moving experience. The piece was presented through a single actress ( Aria Evans) accompanying the voice over that narrates the piece in interpretive dance. The work presented the story of a single person, a young Wolastoqiyik woman. The play starts with a story of the young girl, swimming with the salmon, feeling the water move through her, as she connects with the earth in the most intimate way. As the play moves forward the feelings of losing one’s self, one’s history, andone’s culture becomes more vibrantly felt trough not only the narration but the brisk movements portrayed on stage. You could see the emotion and spirit move through the dance and the audience joins the spiritual journey told by the narration. What stood out was the way the playwright (Natalie Sappier) includes the indigenous culture on stage through traditional Wolastoqu music and most importantly through the theme of life coming full circle as the main character searches for her identity. The play is accompanied by a multitude of lighting techniques and minimal stage props that both portrayed the story while not overpowering. The lights were kept low to create an intimate setting, while the brighter white lights were only used to symbolise the spirit voice talking in the story. The simplicity allows you to lose yourself in the spoken journey. Finding Wolastoq Voice tells an emotionally moving story that captures the audience and stays true to the indigenous culture.

La production, Finding Wolastoq Voice est une expérience unique et émouvante. La pièce a été présentée par une seule actrice (Aria Evans) accompagnant l’histoire racontée en danse interprétative. La pièce présentait l’histoire d’une seule personne, une jeune femme Wolastoqiyik. La pièce commence par l’histoire de la jeune fille, qui nage avec les saumons, sentant l’eau passer à travers elle dans une façon la plus intime. Au fur et à mesure que la pièce avance, les sentiments de se perdre et de ne plus se connaitre se font sentir de manière plus vibrante non seulement dans la narration, mais aussi dans les mouvements vifs démontrer sur scène. Vous pouviez voir l’émotion et l’esprit se démontrer à travers l’actrice et le public alors que nous sommes invités à participer au voyage raconté. La façon dont la dramaturge (Natalie Sappier) a intégré la culture autochtone sur scène à travers la musique et surtout le thème de cercle alors que le personnage principal cherche son identité, a été particulièrement mise en valeur. La pièce était accompagnée d’une multitude de techniques d’éclairage et d’accessoires de scène minimaux qui dépeignaient l’histoire sans être accablantes, mais qui comportaient une représentation symbolique. La simplicité permet de vous perdre dans le voyage oral. Finding Wolastoq Voice raconte une histoire émouvante qui capte l’audience et reste fidèle à la culture autochtone.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 in
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