A Dark Season of the Spirit

SAD FACE

Emotional overwhelm. Ever been there? It’s when the body shuts down and maybe it’s accompanied by a feeling of wanting to go to sleep and never wake up again. My brain gets cloudy and I seem to lose my ability to focus. I become more addicted to mindless scrolling- or numbing out. Take your pick- binge watching, eating, smoking, drinking, scrolling. DAAAANG.

Here it is- without shame, without glory. I’ve been depressed. I’ve been feeling emotionally, physically and spiritually STUCK. I noticed it coming- each day a little harder to wake up and get myself pumped for the day. What am I living for again? I feel so tired. Like- So so tired.

Yesterday it hit- or more specifically it demanded that I pay attention and not try to ignore it. I don’t feel well. I know what it feels like to feel whole, happy and healthy- and this is not that. My guts/digestion isn’t processing. How can I trust my gut when it has no feeling or movement? Part of me wants to go to the doctor and the other part of me says- don’t feed that part of this dis-ease. CHILL OUT- be ok with not being ok. Just for a minute. It’ll pass- it always does.

So here I am “trying” to just be ok WITH the sads.

My advice to me: Embody it, let it be a part of my wholeness. The world is severely F#$%ed up right now. I remind myself that- I’m still worthy of love and health even in my sadness. My digestion is probably tied into this- I’m having trouble digesting so much conflicting information. I’m still worthy of love.

Our bodies are a symphony of systems. Depression/trauma is an assault to the life sustaining harmony of our systems. To some degree or another the body’s natural ability to self regulate has been overwhelmed. I think this is what is happening.

I ask myself how I can wake up and to take positive action to better my life’s expression? I’m sitting with it. And that’s that. I’m taking a break from my practice of making a weekly comedic short. I’ll most likely get back to it, but for the next while I’m going to focus on listening and following my creative impulse. No prescribed projects or tasks. I’m just coping. 

I cope by creating- and sometimes, by watching Game of Thrones for hours from the bathtub.

I’ve been having trouble reading lately- it’s like I can’t focus or concentrate. I’ve read that the brain becomes somewhat disorganized and overwhelmed because of trauma/grief/depression etc. Basically the body goes into a survival mode and shuts down the higher reasoning and language structures of the brain. The result of the metabolic shutdown is a profound imprinted stress response. What’s to be stressed about? (haha.. that’s a joke)

Holy Mackerel.

Here is my video from last week- depicting my lack of focus. Ha! Wish me luck in making a new short today. One foot in front of the other- or maybe I might just sink in GOT in the TUB.

I just read in a book today: FEAR IS EXCITEMENT WITHOUT BREATH. I’m going to breath, and sit WITH the sads, sit with the hopelessness, sit with the apathy. I am grateful for so so so much.

THE CURE FOR FEAR” – is a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment? Seems I’m really living it right now.

BLOOM- a touching short film about depression and what it takes to recover the light of being.

I am always open to feedback, and corrections if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

OOPSIE

Today I am writing a quick note to tell of an exciting new project branch that I’ll be exploring for the next 2 months. I’ll continue to develop the CURE FOR FEAR in tandem with OOPSIE, but it will be taking a side seat for a minute to make space for this important project.

Oopsie is an original live TYA (theatre for young audiences) that explores mistakes and I am adapting it into a short film. The film will be a part of a virtual performance for schools that will come with a livestream Q & A about the creative process.

As my research for the CURE FOR FEAR has shown me that a digital format of theatrics is a different beast than for a live audience. In live theatre you can watch someone breathing on a stage, and be captivated, even at the edge of your seats. In film, not so much. You may want to add swelling music- shift from close up shots of eyes, to feet- to long shots, to a clip of a memory- etc. This is to say that I’m taking OOPSIE back to the drawing board for some redesign and reshaping for film!

I’m pretty excited about the opportunities film has in it actually. All of this shifting to film has given me some fantastic skills in filming, directing and editing. I’m not being left behind! And, when all this is over- and we are able to tour and perform in schools and theatres again- I’ll have these new skills of engagement and for reaching a wider audience.

So there you go- The art of adaption and resilience in action.

In Oopsie- We have Dr. Sara Bellum (cerebellum.. get it? wakka wakka) conducting her experiments with her question- IS IT OK TO MAKE MISTAKES?

Her research involves interviewing numerous children through ZOOM and a few live creativity exercises with her young folk lab assistants. Dr. Sara Bellum builds a brainometre shadow puppet machine that measures brain activity. What happens when the human subjects do something easy and get it right vrs trying something hard and getting it wrong? We also get some inspiration from the NOT-YET-i monster who reminds us that you just need to add YET to the word Can’t.

I’m curious about sharing GROWTH MINDSET and NEUROSCIENCE through art and stories in a fun and captivating way where the audience gets to figure it out and be the experts. The kids are actually already on to this- and this next generation are going to be so full of thinkers, makers and risk takers. I’ve done one interview so far and I was amazed at this little human’s responses.

Celebrating mistakes is already on it’s way to being a part of everyday culture- and OOPSIE is making sure of it!

EPIDERMALIFT

As some of you may know, I’ve been spending the last couple of months researching and creating for my new show THE CURE FOR FEAR. This has lead me down a path of research around trauma and what it means for white people to decolonize. This decolonization work informs my art in protocol and process, through awareness and understanding. It doesn’t always show up ON THE NOSE in form and prose- but it’s in there because it is in me. I am becoming more and more aware of my invisible privilege and how to better support BIPOC folks and find ways to shift our power structures.

Here is my research video from this week. This one is a reflection of our patriarchal standards and social pressures to have our appearance be a certain type of “BEAUTIFUL”.

For much of my life I was so ashamed of the way I looked that it immobilized me. I shut myself up and kept small. I know I’ve written about this before-

“Shaming is one of the deepest tools of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy- because shame produces trauma, and trauma often produces paralysis.”-

Mysha T (From Check your Priviledge)

Yes, I was ensnarled by the capitalist patriarch- right where they wanted me- buying and trying and too preoccupied to speak up. So instead of building on my strengths and celebrating my uniqueness, I spent so much energy hating myself and buying and dieting and exercising. I tried SO HARD to be beautiful. If only I knew then that it’s not appearance which makes one beautiful.

Oh my chin. How much self suffering I have made over this teensy part of my entirety. What a gift that I can find lightness around what was once so horrendous to me. I hope this video brings some joy to you- and I hope you feel beautiful in your soul.

RESOURCES THIS WEEK:

  • CKYOURPRIVILEGE – an amazing resource of anti-racism education for white folks.
  • M̓i tel’nexw Leadership – I am deeply considering this leadership program- it starts on THURSDAY but if you miss it, there will be another one in April.
  • THE BLACK LIST– click it- from @arsenalpulp. They write:

February is #BlackHistoryMonth, and while every month is the perfect time to read, buy, and support Black creators, we hope you take this time to renew your commitment to an anti-racist future

Black Lives Matter. Black stories are essential. Here is a list (a starting point, not comprehensive) of books by Black Canadian authors writing across multiple genres (many, but not all, are also from Canadian publishers). Black writing and storytelling is vital to the work of resistance and building a better world, and we urge you to continue to Do The Work and Do The Reading along with us.

from THE BLACK LIST @arsenalpulp
  • Thank you for reading “THE BONES”- a process report of art and decolonization.

THE CURE FOR FEAR” – is a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment?

I am always open to feedback, and corrections if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

What you should know about Wet’suwet’en Territories

Freda Huson wears her blanket, a nighthawk, as she waits for police to enforce Coastal GasLink’s injunction at Unist’ot’en Healing Centre near Houston. Photograph: Amber Bracken (I found this image on The Guardian website)

The Territories

The Wet’suwet’en Territories is a large traditional territory about 300 kilometres west of Prince George in Northern BC. It is occupied by members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation whose people have been living on and governing these lands under their laws for generations predating colonial occupation of the territory. The We’suwet’en people have been fighting for ownership of their language, culture and land since the beginning of colonization.

The Pipeline

TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink proposes a pipeline to carry natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. It is already in its early construction phase. The proposed Pacific Trail pipeline is run by Chevron and proposes to transport natural gas from Summit Lake to Kitimat for conversion to LNG. (LNG= liquified natural gas)

The elected band councils are in support of the Coastal GasLink pipeline- but the hereditary chiefs are not. Here I’d like to point out the difference between hereditary chiefs and the elected chief council.

Hereditary Chiefs

The hereditary chiefs authority is drawn from Wet’suwet’en law and oversees the management of traditional lands. They represent different houses that make up the First Nations as a whole. The hereditary chief titles are passed down through generations and their law is the law that pre-exists colonization in the territory.

Elected Chiefs

Band councils are comprised of a chief and councilors, who are elected by the community under election procedures defined by the colonial Indian Act. (The Indian Act was established in 1876 and defined how the Canadian government interacts with Indigenous people. This “Act” was formed to impose a leadership structure that resembled Canada’s system of governance.) 

Band councils are responsible for the governance and administration of band affairs, including education, band schools, housing, water and sewer, roads, and other community businesses and services.

Delgamuukw v. British Columbia

The Wet’suwet’en Nation’s fight for sovereignty began long before these pipelines were proposed to go through their land. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs claim title to the land, based on their pre-Confederation occupation and the fact that they’ve never signed a treaty. Their claim has not been proven in court.

In 1997, the Wet’suwet’en people were part of Delgamuukw v. British Columbia in which they sought to have their ancestral and traditional land titles recognized. This land was never ceded through a treaty. The chief justice of the time said that the government should be negotiating with the hereditary chiefs to determine title and the Canadian state never got around to doing that.

The hereditary chiefs have tried for decades to have their title recognized, and here they are again defending their ancestral territory.

In 1984, the hereditary chiefs of both Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nations filed a land title action with the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Gitxsan is a neighboring territory of the Wet’suwet’en and it means “People of the River Mist”.

These Indigenous nations wanted to protect the land from logging and to have the Federal Government officially recognize their ancestral land title as well as award compensation for any loss of land.
This case went on into the 90s where it was ruled that any title the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en may have had was taken away when British Columbia joined Confederation.

The two nations appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and was heard in June of 1997. Six months later the Supreme Court’s rulings addressed the following issues:

  • the provincial government had no right to extinguish the Indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral territories
  • the court deemed that oral history is an important type of evidence that courts must treat as equal to other types of evidence
  • clarified the content and definition of “Aboriginal title” which was defined as Indigenous peoples’ exclusive right to the land. It affirmed that Aboriginal title is recognized as an “existing aboriginal right”
  • The government has a duty to consult with Indigenous peoples, before they begin any projects that infringe upon Indiginous Rights

Within this, the court acknowledged some limitations with “Aboriginal Title” which was that Traditional lands cannot be used in a manner that is “irreconcilable with the nature of the claimants’ attachment to those lands.” Meaning that they could not use their ancestral claims to destroy the land- ie: overfishing or overhunting. If this should happen, they would have to surrender their land, and Aboriginal title cannot be transferred to anyone other than the Crown.

Treaty negotiations between Wet’suwet’en, Gitxan, British Columbia and the Federal government continue despite the rulings of this case. As well as various companies operating on traditional lands without permission, this includes division within the community over participation in the proposed LNG pipeline.

Next up, an overview of the Unist’ot’en check-point and where the conflicts are at between the land defenders and the energy corporations as of JAN. 2020.

Thank you for reading “THE BONES”- a process report of art and decolonization.

I am currently researching “THE CURE FOR FEAR” – a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment?

I am always open to feedback, and corrections if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

Embodiment for the Revolution

I love so much, the song in this research video. I understand why our society is obsessed with music- it helps us FEEL.

May we all learn to EMBODY our wholeness- the beauty, the ugly, the heartbreak the joys and and and…as we shift to a NEW/OLD PARADIGM of living in reciprocity with all of our relations.

THIS is a key tool for the revolution.

THIS is a cure for FEAR.

Music by Patrick Watson & The Cinematic Orchestra
copyright: [Merlin] Ninja Tune Ltd, [Merlin] Domino Recording C
Film work by my 10 year old niece Stella Roberts
Design and performance by yours truly

And- with that FEELING in your heart- Let us LISTEN to what the youth are saying.

“There is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

– National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman.

Little Loretta

My Niece Stella playing young Loretta- “Little Lo”

I have spent this week of art and decolonization hanging out with my mom. My mother was diagnosed with alzheimer’s six years ago and now at age 67 it seems to be progressing exponentially. Covid has kept us at a distance over the last year, but I did the test and the quarantining in order for us to be together. I haven’t spent a week with her in years and especially with her in this new state I found it very important for me to slow down and not be so “productive” oriented. We did lots of important stuff like going for walks and cuddling on the couch. It was hard to stop at first and it had me thinking about decolonizing “productivity “.

What does it mean to decolonize goals? In our capitalist goal oriented culture- we learn to distrust stillness. All we need to do is stop- let go of our agendas and settle into our bodies and hearts. Embody what is there- it is from this place of space and stillness that true expression emerges. 

I desire mastery- and behind that- satisfaction and excitement for life. I desire to express my true nature and be in service to the world. I desire to give my unique talents freely and be financially free. I constantly remind myself that it is in the quiet where my best ideas come from, this is why meditation is so valuable to me.

More than ever it is important to eradicate doubt and shame from my psychological operating system. These are powerful times and I am becoming aware of my privilege in every thought I think and every word I speak.

This is not a time to feel shameful and “guilty” for the actions of my colonizing ancestors. It is a time to be responsible and in that to de-centre whiteness and learn the truth about history. We need to be wise enough to know the difference between when it is important to speak up or when to hold space for someone else to speak up.

What does it mean to de-centre whiteness?

In our North American culture, “white” has been set as the “standard” or the societal norm. This is white supremacy- where white is superior and everything else is held up to it. Canadian history has been told and taught from the “white” colonizer’s perspective. De-centring whiteness is about shifting the narrative to include other perspectives.

As I learn to speak up, I am experiencing having “hard conversations” around what is considered “white fragility”. This is when emotions such as anger, fear, guilt arise and some white folks respond defensively or in becoming argumentative. I believe this comes up from an unconscious (or not) fear that they will lose their dominance within the racial hierarchy.

This week I have been doing a deep dive into the Wet’suwet’en Territories of northern British Columbia. Their fight for sovereignty and title of their ancestral land has been going on long before the proposed pipelines. There is a lot of information and I’m still working through organizing it in a way that is clear and concise. Stay tuned- and if you haven’t yet, check out the free INDIGENOUS CANADA course offered by the University of Alberta.

photo pulled from the internet: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

After a week with my mom, I have arrived at my brother’s house. Yesterday I clowned around with my niece Stella. She is so fun, smart and funny and I’m so excited to support her creativity. If only I had had an Auntie like me! But in actuality, I know that by sharing with her I am also giving this gift my child self.

It got me thinking about a key action to changing our present capitalist paradigm is in working/playing with our kids. Not just about top down education, but in listening and learning from them.

I miss performing in schools. I really think I found a calling in that. Side by side with THE CURE FOR FEAR- I am also working on a solo covid conscious class room performance called OOPSIE. It’s almost time to pull that one into the workshop.

Stella and I had a blast playing together and I’d like to introduce to you- Little Lo.

Thank you for reading “THE BONES”- a process report of art and decolonization.

I am currently researching “THE CURE FOR FEAR” – a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment?

I believe in the power of laughter, so, how can one find lightness in the heaviest of topics? How can the subject matter be delivered in a way that surprises the experiencer with their own discoveries?

Always open to feedback if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

The Danger of SHAME

Shame is dangerous. Shame causes paralysis. Shame took me out of the game pretty much until I discovered clowning. Even still- it tries to take me out.

I had a powerful dream a few weeks back. I was time traveling and found myself in the 70’s. It became urgent for me to find a telephone so that I could call my child self and tell them that they were stunning- so just forget about needing to prove anything.

Child Candy; NEVER WASTE YOUR TIME AND ENERGY ON WORRYING ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE. 

But, that IS what I did. Countless hours of feeling unworthy- trying, buying, measuring, weighing, practicing, making, paying, not worth saying- I could have made more of a difference, but I was silenced by shame. (Oh, and if you are at all familiar with shame, then you’ll know about feeling shame for feeling shame… And it’s a downward spiral from there.)

Yesterday we saw white supremacy in action as trump mobs attempted a coup at the capital.

I listened to a great live instagram post about it yesterday by @ckyourprivilege. What stood out to me was what they were saying about shame, and I paraphrase: to white folks- You don’t get to feel shame here. Shame is dangerous. Don’t apologize, organize. (By the way, their instagram account promotes themselves to “guide white folx on the journey of becoming actively anti-racist.”)

It’s not too late for me. I am queer-pansexual, I feel like a woman, and I also feel like a creature. I don’t feel like I fit into the patriarchal capitalist version of “beautiful” and I’m done with trying to. Let’s be interesting, let’s be creative, let’s be smart instead- (haha, as a neurotypical human, I feel insecure about my smrts too but I’m doing my best to educate myself so I can speak up with more eloquence.)

My friend and dance teacher Laura June spoke to the trump supporter’s attack on the capital yesterday: 

The USA and Canada are nation states founded in white supremacy and white exceptionalism at their root, at their core. The state mechanisms were built from inception to protect white people of their right to inflict violence, to steal people, to steal land. None of this is surprising. Horrifying, yes. Heartbreaking. Rage inducing. And aligned with the state mechanisms that upheld the colony/ republic in the first place. This story was written centuries ago, and has been continually unfolding, this is not incongruous.

The remedy: trust and invest in Black and Indigenous led movements.

Laura June

I am grateful for these changing times. There is a revolution happening and I for one am ready for the last dying gasp from the old white supremest patriarchal capitalist regime. 

May we find clarity, kindness, care and compassion in these powerful times.

AND- I will keep making art because I am a creative human. For the highest good, I listen for the impulse which guides me to true expression. I experiment, collect data, make modifications and experiment some more. I have to.

This week I experimented with CASCADING CONUNDRUM. The piece I created is dumb and doesn’t say much- yet I feel vulnerable about it, so there must me something in it.

I had been feeling blocked and a little capsized with the craziness of the world and creating this silly human cartoon helped me find my centre. I got lost in the play, and THAT IS THE JUICE RIGHT THERE. May your creation process bring you joy.

Loretta (The character I am exploring) is not ok- she’s lonely and neurotic and disconnected- and hasn’t sat with herself yet. Can anyone relate? I know it’s ok to be any of those things and the ability to acknowledge and sit in the muck lets it move faster. Make a muck-pie.

This piece is going to be fun to play live- when that happens again. It is interesting that for live theatre- we can draw out moments- extend extend extend while the audience is enjoying something. I bring it to a digital medium- and it needs to go fast. This piece could easily be 15 minutes, yet here it is under 3.

This bit may make it into the CURE FOR FEAR- and it may not, but I’ll put it in my back pocket for a cabaret at some point. I’m going to continue researching, creating, learning and sharing, until I have the best acts that feed the arc of Loretta’s story. For now, I”m calling this piece done, and I’m moving on to the next.

May we all find our true expression that fulfills a need in the world and supports our lives.

Resources from this week:

  • @ckyourprivilege– as I said earlier- awesome resource for anti-racism education
  • Release Technique and Floorwork– Movement class for everybody with Laura June. I LOVE THIS CLASS SO MUCH. It is my weekly vacation from life. A guided embodiment session. This class is a tool for dealing with anything. Give yourself a gift and come to this class.
  • On going conversations around Indigenous Perspective on Canada’s colonial history. (This link is to module 8, but you can start at 1 if you are new). These conversations coincide with INDIGENOUS CANADA‘s education modules. The course is amazing, yet I have trouble assimilating the information in the way that it is offered through the videos. It is much better for me to read the transcripts, which are ALSO available as an option. The conversations on youtube are completely engaging for me and send me off on research tangents.
  • @adriennemareebrown– (she/they) She describes her instagram page as: “my writing/awe/self-love/transformation/travels. I listened to a powerful “meditation” for centring in revolutionary love.
  • Decolonize Myself – on Instagram, and I know I’ve linked this account before- but it’s so great. Send them some love!! They describe their account as: “First Nations Personal journey. Exploring colonization, decolonization, healing, & culture.”

Thank you for reading “THE BONES”- a process report of art and decolonization.

I am currently researching “THE CURE FOR FEAR” – a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment?

I believe in the power of laughter, so, how can one find lightness in the heaviest of topics? How can the subject matter be delivered in a way that surprises the experiencer with their own discoveries?

Always open to feedback if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

Waiting for the Impulse

Happy New Year. 

I’m resolved to be guided by my nervous system this year. I realize that I’ve had a very capitalist colonial process of achieving my goals. In the past my successes and my failures have affected how I feel about myself. I saw this meme and felt it:

Trying to NOT do that right now.

Maybe that is why I have been so drawn to studying mistakes and making theatre for young audiences about the importance of failure. I need to go back and reread my research.

I’m Remembering. Remembering to approaching art like a scientist and a student. To think of the creation process as experimentation and data collection. I am remembering the JOY of making art for the sake of curiosity and for the satisfaction of following an idea to fruition.

But the ideas! They’ve lost their glow, they don’t stand out anymore. I have a list of images to explore- but why? I forget why? 

I’ve left the ZONE. I feel between worlds and feel lost. It’s very challenging for me right now to be patient for the impulse to emerge again. It’s not even the outcome of a “product” I desire at the moment- I’m yearning for the creation zone.

Writing this out is helpful, and perhaps it is a reminder for someone else who needs it. Apparently, “Happiness is the harvest of a quiet mind”. So I will listen and be quiet. I seem to be in a transitionary moment, time to be patient to see what emerges from my psyche.

I could really use a cure for fear right now. What is the “north star” of this play again?

IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK

Riiiight. Hoo boy. LIFE-ART-LIFE-ART

How does the character Loretta find connection? Through embodiment. Ok, but what if it feels terrible in the body like it does right now? I guess that’s just it. Sit with it. Feel terrible in the body. THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

I am typing these words one letter at a time. I am writing to be accountable to myself. I made a pact with myself that I will document my process of creating this play. Some people spend YEARS writing a play and I said I would do it in half a year. OMG- Give me a break!!

I’m not giving up, I’m giving myself a break. I’m going to support someone else’s art for a heart beat.

I’d like to reccomend this documentary: nîpawistamâsowin: WE WILL STAND UP. (You can see the full movie here)

This is a powerful story about a family’s national and international pursuit of justice after their son, brother, cousin, boyfriend- Colten Boushie was shot in the head for trespassing on a farmer’s property. The blatant racism that this family endured (endure)- from other “Canadians” and also from within Canada’s legal system- is appalling. The film also gets into Indigenous perspective on the history of colonization on the prairies as well as the film makers personal narrative of being adopted and raising her son.

This story moved me to tears. Not just at the maddening injustice of a failed justice system and narrow minded folks- but at the strength and resilience of Colten’s family. His sister is powerful and amazing. I am inspired.

Maybe this IS a time for me to reach out and support other people.

On another note, I jumped in the ocean January 1st, 2021. Life is art.

Thank you for reading “THE BONES”- a process report of art and decolonization.

I am currently researching “THE CURE FOR FEAR” – a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment?

I believe in the power of laughter, so, how can one find lightness in the heaviest of topics? How can the subject matter be delivered in a way that surprises the experiencer with their own discoveries?

Always open to feedback if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

May peace prevail.

What’s the Story, Morning Glory?

“The writer shapes story around a perception of what’s worth living for, what’s worth dying for, what’s foolish to pursue, the meaning of justice, truth- the essential values”

Robert Mckee- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

I have a theme, I have a loveable character, I have images, and some scenes- and now the story is clawing it’s way out of Loretta’s closet. She’s got a big bad skeleton on her tail.

I’ve been studying story structure and I’m pretty damn excited about it. We make/tell stories to convey an emotion to an audience. It is what they come for- the deep feels. And, I love structure- I always have. I find a freedom of play when the parameters are clear and strong.

Heres a take on it:

  1. You need a sympathetic, active hero
  2. You need a physical, visible, high stakes goal- WIN, STOP, ESCAPE or RETRIEVE
  3. You need a powerful adversary.

This is what we know of our hero Loretta so far:

  • She has Phobophobia- (the fear of phobias)
  • she’s afraid of people, of saying the wrong thing, of being a bad person, of answering the phone, of being in public
  • she takes medications for anxiety
  • her friends are the characters on TV, as well as her beloved vacuum- she’s jealous of the Kathy (the broom).
  • She doesn’t go out much. She used to work as a filing clerk at an office but now gets disability.
  • She shops online and orders most groceries to her home
  • She used to take care of her elderly parents but they have passed on by now.
  • She says she’s happy (but she is not)
  • She’s fine.
  • She doesn’t know her talents or gifts, has never thought to explore herself

I’m keen on the 3 act structure. I’ve begun filling in this format with ideas, images and issues from Loretta’s world. I know more about it than I am letting on. I thought I was going to share my process, but now I want to keep it a surprise. We’ll see.. haha.

ACT ONE : The character’s Ordinary world

  1. Inciting incident
    • Begins THIS story and no other
    • Happens to the hero
    • Happens in an instant
    • Shocks the Hero
    • Presents what story line is going to be abou
  2. Stunning surprise which ends ACT ONE and takes us into ACT 2
    • world is turned upside down because of new discovery
    • picture the character with EYES WIDE, MOUTH OPEN

ACT TWO: The character’s Special World where the Ordinary World get’s turned upside down. Act 2 begins with a plan/goal/task

  1. Midpoint
    • Second major growth of character
    • Plateau of change
    • Point of no return
  2. Stunning surprise 2
    • Biggest reversal
    • Takes place in an instant
    • Shocks and surprises
    • PLAN IS DESTROYED

ACT THREE: Integrated worlds

  1. Obligatory scene 
  2. Denouement

I’ve been getting most of my information for free from the YOUTUBE and have been reading a PDF of Robert Mckee’s book: Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting.

Here are some quotes that I like:

“A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When a society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society.’

“We go to movies to enter a new, fascinating world, to inhabit vicariously another human being who at first seems so unlike us and yet at heart is like us, to live a fictional reality that illuminates our daily reality. We do not wish to escape life but to find life, to use our minds in fresh, experimental ways, to flex our emotions, to enjoy to learn, to add depth to our days.

“Self Knowledge is the key- life plus deep reflection on our reactions to life.”

“While the composer scores with the mathematical purity of notes, we dip into the messy stuff known as human nature.”

“Who are these characters? What do they want? Why do they want it? How do they go about getting it? What stops them? What are the consequenses?”

“Something worth telling that the world wants to hear.”

Robert Mckee- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

Yesterday I reached out to my comedy teacher, Virginia Scott at Movement Theatre Studio in New York city and she has agreed to consult and work with me in the development of The Cure for Fear. She’s amazing and I love her no bullshit approach to giving feedback.

Physical Comedy Class with Virginia Scott for MTS

I definitely look forward to live theatre again, and in the meantime- THE CURE FOR FEAR has two streams that seem to support each other in the creation process. The theatrical vision and the digital vision. In the process of experimenting with clowning for video, I’ve been making at least one video a week investigating how to find delight in responding to my own provocation.

This week, Loretta showed up in a LARRY video that also serves as hilarious promotional material for my brothers spice business: BURNING STUFF.

If you are curious at all about decolonization for settlers- check out this weeks blog: LAND OF BROKEN RELATIONS.

Thank you for reading “THE BONES”- a process report of art and decolonization.

I am currently researching “THE CURE FOR FEAR” – a physical theatrical/ digital arts exploration around the disconnection that occurs from trauma. In a world where the power holders would have us privatize and distrust our feelings in silence and obedience, how does one begin and continue on a journey of decolonization and reconnection? What transformation happens within the psyche as a person emerges from despondency and disembodiment?

I believe in the power of laughter, so, how can one find lightness in the heaviest of topics? How can the subject matter be delivered in a way that surprises the experiencer with their own discoveries?

Always open to feedback if it is constructive and kind. No haters please. candicerobertstheatre@gmail.com

LAND OF BROKEN RELATIONS

RED POWER- Illustration by Sloane Leong

Along with writing THE CURE FOR FEAR, a new play/digital story with themes of disconnection, I’ve been reading, watching and listening to learn and unlearn and take stock of- HOW DO WE DISMANTLE SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION? Holy- not an easy task. And, yes… this is bringing up a lot of self reflection. I write about it here to further educate myself- so that I can better speak up about it when it is needed. I feel it is my duty to repay a debt for the lack of education I have received. 

Being an ALLY is a verb,  Being anti-racist involves action- this is a small step I am taking. I understand that knowledge precedes clear action and I want to be smart when utilizing my unique skills in this revolution of social change.

I’d like to once again give huge props to Dr. Tracy Bear and Dr. Paul Gareu, the university professors who teach Indiginous Canada (the free course offered by the University of Alberta). Along with this, Actor Dan Levy hosts a series of youtube episodes where they converse about each module of the course. 

These conversations are so ripe with information and tangents for research that it takes a while for me to get through one single episode. A WEALTH of knowledge regarding the truth about the history of Canada and our relations with the first nations peoples.

The more I learn the more angry and uncomfortable I feel. The more I learn, the more clear I feel about the importance of supporting/endorsing/inspiring others to create a shift in the western settler world view to one of reciprocity, accountability and redistribution of wealth. In fact, how about a redefinition of wealth? Such as, wealth being defined by how much you give back, or as by being in good relations with each other. 

Generally speaking western society seems to have become a land of broken relations. Many people are disconnected from nature, from family, from neighbours, from their own emotions. Most people (including myself) are disconnected from where their purchases come from- food, water, clothing- everything can be ordered from a click on the computer and then shipped from who knows where. Water in bottles? Vegetables in plastic? Chicken’s from factories? Gahd–the more I think about it, the more overwhelmed I feel. 

From what I’ve learned, Indigenous worldview is based on governing principles of balancing law, society and nature. I also read that it is believed that the great law of peace is one of the oldest democratic systems in the world. There are as many different world views as there are first nation groups- (the internet tells me that there are 634 First Nations in Canada, speaking more than 50 distinct languages) and there seems to be a fundamental understanding that EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. 

In some of the First Nation groups- women were the only ones who could “own” land- but this was not in the same way Western world understood of possessing land. The idea of Indigenous women owning land meant that they were the caretakers of the land- for the next generation.  Where the Western world view has a capitalist view of possession “over” things, land, bodies and resources- a caretaker was to be accountable to the last generation and of the next one to come. This is a big difference between owning and caretaking. (I think there was a misunderstanding here when the treaties where being negotiated)

How do we re-connect? How do make this shift happen? Again and again this question comes up- WHAT CAN WE DO AS SETTLERS? I have made similar lists on previous blogs and continue to reiterate as the lessons come in.

  1. Get grounded. What does that mean? Being grounded refers to a physical and emotional balance state of being consciously present. It is from this centred and embodied state that we can find self awareness, wisdom and clarity.
  2. Know who you are, where you come from, who are your people? What Indigenous Territories were you born on, or live on now? 
  3. Educate ourselves on the truth of colonial history. De-centre imposition of “state”- CENTRE BIPOC perspectives of history. Here is a list of individual subjects I am looking into, and plan to investigate and write about each one separately. I welcome your knowledge if you want to message me about any of these items on this growing list.
    • The history of the RCMP. 
    • The Indian Act
    • The White Paper
    • The Red Paper
    • The history of BC First Nations efforts for Indigenous peoples’ title to traditional territory. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON LONG BEFORE PROPOSED PIPELINES in the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en territories.
    • The Delgamuukw Case
    • UNIST’OT’EN camp
    • Treaties- I find this an interesting perspective- that “The Canadians (British) and the First Nations were at the same meetings, listened to the same speeches (translated) and signed the same pieces of paper. Yet they had (and still have) two totally different concepts of what the treaties were about, and what each side was promising. The differences in understanding are rooted in two totally different world views, and two totally different concepts of land ownership, and two colliding purposes.
  1. Understand our privilege. 
  2. Learn about and support Indigenous led, grassroots organizations.
  3. Open ourselves to being vulnerable and uncomfortable
  4. Donate our energy/money/talents in whichever way we can. (resource list at the end of this blog)
  5. Listen more. We have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason. Indigenous folks are showing their resilience and presence. Witness and support their rebuilding from within- beading/language/traditional food harvesting/ land based camps. We don’t need the government’s approval to do generative and healing work. We have an invitation to embody the knowledge and share. (This doesn’t mean to capitalize financially from it, or make it about you.)
  6. Support Indigenous artists! It is OK to buy Indigenous art and designs, just MAKE SURE YOU KNOW IT IS FROM THE ARTIST!
    1. 7 Indiginous artists to support
    2. Nagala Designs – cedar weaving and education
    3. JB the first Lady– powerhouse hip-hop and spoken word artist, emcee, beat-boxer, activist, cultural dancer, and youth educator from the Nuxalk and Onondaga nations.
    4. J-shine designs- https://www.jshinedesigns.ca/shop

Idle No More’s calls us to TO JOIN IN A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION- To honour Indigenous sovereignty and to protect the land & water & sky. They are an Indigenous-led social movement spearheaded by women. They have grown into “an inclusive, continent-wide network of urban and rural Indigenous working hand in hand with non-Indigenous allies to build a movement for Indigenous rights and the protection of land, water, and sky.” (You can make a donation through their website)

Land protectors are not just “protesters”. Their activism is not for themselves. They are fighting for fresh water for the next generations. Shouldn’t we all want that? 

Resources I utilized this week (I recommend to choose one at a time and really get to know their work and information- I’m telling this to myself at the same time 🙂 

  • Indiginous Environmental Network– was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples– “(UNDRIP) is an international instrument adopted by the United Nations on September 13, 2007, to enshrine (according to Article 43) the rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.”- Someone please tell me that in a story form- I have trouble computing government-speak
  • Indigenous Foundations, an information resource on key topics relating to the histories, politics, and cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Developed by the First Nations Studies Program at the University of British Columbia
  • Media Indigena– PODCAST “interactive indiginous insight”- They “share stories which keep Indigenous peoples alive, in every sense of the term.”
  • Justice for Joyce– A go fund me campaign- “Joyce Echaquan died because she was an Indigenous woman. There is no doubt about this; hours prior to her death, racist comments from nurses on staff were recorded on video by Joyce herself,” 
  • IRON DOG BOOKS– order your books from this Indiginous owned bookstore!
  • Red Sky Performance – is a leading company of contemporary Indigenous performance in Canada and worldwide. Their mission is to create inspiring experiences of contemporary Indigenous arts and culture that transform society.
  • WE WILL STAND UP– nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands (Both Dr. Gareau and Dr. Bear talk about this documentary- My homework is to watch it this week.)

Here is the trailer: