LEPAGE AU SOLEIL: The KANATA Controversy

Thursday, July 8, 2021 Start time: 8:00 pm

Talk

Venue: Online

In 2018, the celebrated Canadian director Robert Lepage collaborated with the Théâtre du Soleil in France to produce KANATA: a work that imagined the meeting of Europeans with First Nations people of Canada over a period of two centuries.  In an open letter published by Québec newspaper Le Devoir, a group of Indigenous actors, writers, activists and artists protested against the production's lack of Indigenous performers and authors, saying that they were fed up with "hearing other people tell our stories." The resulting debate led to the cancellation of all planned North American performances, although a version of the play was presented in Paris.

Working with Border Crossings (Ireland) through its Erasmus + project CRE-ACTORS, ORIGINS brings together Innu writer Maya Cousineau Mollen, one of the signatories to the letter of protest, and Dominique Jambert, who played the leading role in KANATA to reflect on the controversy surrounding the show.  Their talk will explore important issues about intercultural theatre, relationships between Indigenous people and European cultures, and the working out of colonial legacies.

The talk will assume that you have seen the documentary film LEPAGE AU SOLEIL: AT THE ORIGINS OF KANATA, which is available via Vimeo on Demand.  Directed by Hélène Choquette, the film charts the development process of KANATA, ending as the protest began.  Please watch the film before the event, and book your place for the talk via Eventbrite.  The film is in French with English subtitles, and the talk will be in English.