Night Cows/Les vaches de nuit is a one-woman show by Quebecois queer Indigenous self-taught artist, creator and writer, Jovette Marchessault. Her work has a deep and lyrical ancestral voice, which celebrates words through myths and an indulgence of liberating poetic language. Marchessault emerged into Quebec’s literary scene in the late 1970s, a time that was “marked by the dominance of the feminine”. Her evocative text subverts conventional modes of language and genre to carve out a space for her own sphere of action to take place, separating from the patriarchal traditions that contrived her foremothers.
It begins at dusk. A vachette describes her mother as she removes the shackles of the day and society transforming herself into a sensual, grotesque, night cow. She opens herself in two, she splits herself in four expanding into the milky way; her daughter riding her back as they go to wake the crows.
This world is inhabited by our cow, as performed by Eléonore Lamothe. Lamothe invests her whole body and soul into her journey through the milky way, bringing the audience along for this dark and enchanting ride. Wattam uses movement and music to sculpt her own universe out of Marchessault’s text, but it’s a world that reverberates far beyond the stage. Bringing together Indigenous, Anglophone, and Francophone approaches, the intercultural production reclaims queer and feminist histories and asks its audience to imagine: what do liberation and connection feel like today?
ROLE: DIRECTOR & MASK MAKER
Her Side of the Story: Revision to Resist is a festival of performances, encounters and exchange around women who revision known narratives to reclaim Her Side of the Story from the footnotes.
The festival is theatre unplugged; a lab for exchange between emerging and established artists and an opportunity to explore character, text and story with radical imagination and depth.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
The Last Wife by Kate Hennig
What Happened After Nora Left Her Husband by Elfriede Jelinek, Translated by Tinch Minter
Fucking A by Suzan Lori-Parks
ROLE: ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF FESTIVAL
Two men enter a room. The first man seems very much like the second man and the first man seems very much like the second man. Yes. But they are not. For two reasons. One: one man is the first man and two: one man in his briefcase has a gun.
The piece stages a crisp, echoing game tinged with the ghost of a tragedy. Two men, FRANK and BILL battle in the heightened arena of the stage to outperform each other’s masculinity. MacIvor brings the toxicity of masculine gender performance to the fore of his piece through the game, whilst the REFEREE, a woman, organises each round. Using plain yet virtuosic language as a compositional force, MacIvor shows us broken masculinities and their tragic human-cost but his truest tour-de-force is to preserve the agency of his REFEREE throughout the piece. This re-mount tackles MacIvor’s rich text with an outstandingly precise and generous staging, adding a dark, ironic parody to conversations surrounding dominant gender norms.
Runtime: 45 mins
Players' Theatre | Montreal. Quebec
The story follows Mike, a neo-Nazi Skinhead who is charged with murder, and Danny, a liberal Jewish Lawyer who is assigned as his public defender. An epic battle leaves each man marked by the other’s belief, Cherry Docs is a provocative exploration of the inescapable and insidious presence of hatred in our society.
In 2017, many of the themes depicted in Cherry Docs are as relevant as they were at the play's conception 20 years ago. Why is that? Why have we not listened to history? I believe that this show is particularly important to stage because, in order to reflect, we need to expose the ugliness, the hatred, the horrible acts that we as humans are capable of committing. Let us then reflect on our own realities, our own prejudices, and how our native justice system here in Canada deals with those who are incarcerated.
Canada is a multicultural country. We know that. We are taught it in school and, for Canadians, especially those living in big cities, we see and hear it around us every day; written on restaurant signs, advertising delectable ‘ethnic’ cuisine, and on crowded metro cars and buses where chatter abounds in a multiplicity of tongues. But what does it actually mean? What does it mean to live it? Why are hate crimes, the tensions, the injustices covered with a flashy sticker deeming Canada a ‘multicultural’ and ‘tolerant’ place? If multiculturalism leads to either a ‘melting pot’ or segregation, and tolerance implies a power dynamic, what does that say about racial, ethnic, and cultural tensions in Canada? I want to make it clear that this story was written by a white man, performed by white men and directed by an indigenous woman in the cultural context of Canada in the 1990’s. It’s talking about and representing white thoughts and experiences of/with visible minorities who are not on stage. I don’t want you to leave this play with answers. I want you to leave it with criticisms and questions, about what these characters say and why, how they view others, how they view themselves, and what that says about their world.
This play is not about good and evil. It’s about how race, class, ethnicity, and culture intersect and interact with the institutions that are upheld by the privileged. It’s about how the society we are complicit in shapes us. It’s about breaking that mould and the tedious process of learning and unlearning the way we interact with others. It’s about pain. It’s about hope.
Runtime: 90 mins
June 2017, Montreal Fringe Festival
Montreal Improv Theatre
ROLE(S): DIRECTOR, DESIGNER
MOST PROMISING ENGLISH THEATRE COMPANY
AWARDED BY THE SEGAL CENTRE
I am determined to prove a villain / And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Reviled and cursed, Richard III is Shakespeare's greatest anti-hero, a sinister court jester, and our charming confidante in a bloody tale of murder, betrayal and war on an epic scale. Our production boldly re-envisions Richard III as a violent, psychedelic world of ghosts and prophesy, where murderers lurk in the shadows and mourning widows glide, haunted, through empty spaces.
In this nightmarish theatrical vision, created by an ensemble of masked storytellers, our Richard is indeed three, merging and splintering within the unbounded landscape of his tormented imagination. As Richard embraces treachery and evil, the limits of realism, and Richard’s own selves, are shattered.
Runtime: 120 mins
March 2017, Moyse Hall Theatre
McGill University Department of English
Copyright © 2021 Katey Wattam - All Rights Reserved.