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:

UNSETTLING SOCIETY

Along with my show creation, 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 to further educate myself- so that I can better speak up about it when it is needed. I need to be clear so that I can prepare for concise action.

Think of this portion of my blog as notes for settlers about decolonization.

Ok, I admit it- I am feeling overwhelmed. Our society is in need of a complete overhaul. How the hell does that happen? I personally may be ready to give up property ownership, power and privilege- but those rich folks are not going to without a fight.

Decolonization is, if it is truly being done is going to get messy.

“Decolonization never takes place unnoticed. Settler colonialism and its decolonization implicates and unsettles everyone.”

Fanon , 1963 (taken from the article “Decolonization is not a metaphor”

Some very brave and smart people have been on this task of anti-oppression, decolonization, and responsible allyship for a long time already. Thank you.  

Last week, I said I would work through the article “DECOLONIZATION IS NOT A METAPHOR”- by Eve Tuc and Wayne Yang and come back with a story about it. I’m not going to lie to you- My brain doesn’t seem to easily process this academia speak, so I found help from a youtube video where a fellow named Garnet Hertz from Emily Carr discusses the paper. 

I believe that their key point being-  you can read all the paper’s you want, critical awareness doesn’t matter until something is done and decolonization specifically requires the repatriation of Indigenous land and life. (Indigenous Sovereignty) Decolonization is NOT a synonym or metaphor but it relates to how land is allocated and policies are implemented. 

“Decolonization eliminates settler property rights and setter sovereignty, it requires the abolition of land as property and upholds the sovereignty of Native land and people.”

Tuck and Yang- Decolonization is Not a Metaphor

“Freeing your mind is NOT enough- you need to free your land-  until stolen land is relinquished,  critical consciousness does not translate into action that disrupts settler colonialism.” 

The article specifies that settlers are not immigrants. The difference being in the power dynamic. The settlers came to Turtle Island and required the land and its resources. A settler becomes the law, they take dominion OVER the place that they settle as god, ruler, or authority. White people were not immigrants- they took their world view and forced it on the people. 

This brought an epistemic shift- the idea of LAND as PROPERTY. This idea of property, and that land can be owned by a person undermined indigenous world views and relations. 

Colonialism has shaped society, systems and structures where the settler perspectives and worldviews get to count as knowledge and research. Invisibilized dynamics of settler colonialism mark organizations, governance, curricula and assessment of compulsory learning. 

Teaching indiginous perspective in elementary, highschool and post secondary education is an important baby step in decolonization- but only the beginning. 

They say to watch out for dangerous token efforts of decolonization on peoples and institutions that just distracts from doing the real work. These keep the power structures in place and gives a scapegoat for settlers to take on and feel better about themselves- while sweeping tangible change, like repatriation of land, under the rug.

This paper describes different forms of FAKE decolonization that are dismissive and harmful, such as:

  • Playing indian
  • Playing with indigenous forms of culture
  • settler/nativism where settlers locate or invent a long-lost ancestor who is rumoured to have “indian blood” and they use this claim to mark themselves as blameless in the attempted eradications of Indigeous peoples. This is known as Indian Grandmother Complex. (And.. my cheeks are burning, because I located a great great great indigenous grandmother myself.) I understand that ancestry IS different from tribal membership. I grew up as a white middle class cis female.

These forms of token decolonization create feelings of being MORE innocent and less guilty of the damages of colonisation. This deflects settler identity, while continuing the ability to enjoy settler privilege while occupying stolen land. Whites claiming indian blood generally tends to reinforce mythical beliefs.  

Decolonization is NOT:

  • converting indigenous politics to a western doctrine of liberations
  • Helping the “at-risk” and alleviating suffering
  • It is not a generic term for struggle against oppressive conditions and outcomes
  • not  metonymy for Social Justice

“We are asking them/YOU to consider how the pursuit of critical conscious, the pursuit of social justice through a critical enlightenment, can also be a settler move to innocence- diversions, distractions, which relieve the settler of feelings of guilt or responsibility, and conceal the need to give up land or power or privilege.” 

Tuck and Yang

So, having read that- I know that it is not for me to rest on the “good feels” of decolonizing myself. I admit my personal study and writing about decolonization and indigenous perspectives is a small step. 

Like my art projects, I’ll figure out the next steps as I go. 

Empowering myself with knowledge helps me have more words to speak up. I am so happy to recenter Indigenous World Views-  there are many, and I do not know them all. What I have gleaned is that Indigenous worldviews see the whole person (physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual) as interconnected to land and in relationship to others (family, communities, nations). I keep thinking… WELL DUH!!! Can we do that please? 

As Nikki Sanchez says: “This history is not your fault, but it is absolutely your responsibility.”

Some resources from my week: 

For the ART SIDE OF LIFE this WEEK, please go to: LAUGHING WITH OUR SADNESS

LAUGHING WITH OUR SADNESS

I spent a good portion of my adult life depressed. I used to think I was born into a sad body. I feel incredibly grateful to feel some semblance of balance and joy in my life now. It is from this safe space that I now explore sadness. Perhaps it is because of my own experience with loneliness and depression that it tickles my fancy to “play” with sadness- and in some way- it allows me to be present in the SAD FEELINGS without letting them get the better of me. 

So, play with sadness instead of “BE” sadness? 

In exploring the character of Loretta for the CURE FOR FEAR I made a short film, which I thought was very sad, touching and funny. 

Interestingly enough when I took it to my working group that has been exploring “clowning for film”- they barely laughed. When I went back to re-edit the lonely film- I saw it from another side- Does it seem like I’m making fun of a lonely old woman? Is it JUST sad? 

In this working group we talked about what changes would make this short film more funny, and I realized that maybe it wasn’t just laughs I was going for? 

What WAS my impetus for creating this? Aside from the act of making it which is a means to an end in itself, I’m curious about facilitating the emotional journey of an audience- and not everything NEEDS to be funny. 

Laughter is such a safe, and FUN emotional response, but, can we laugh at people’s sadness? I don’t think so, actually. In reality, I have no desire to laugh at other people’s sadness- but somehow laughing with my own sadness seems ok? When does sad get laughable?  

Well. It’s done now, and this film probably won’t be a part of the show, but it’s an experiment nonetheless and I want to share it.

Which brings me to thinking about “FAILURE”. I had “failure” a couple times this week- and on a positive note, it was because I have been so active in creating and sharing. I noticed that an initial response to “FAILURE”, ie- not getting the response that I was expecting- is to QUIT. And it comes on so fast, as if there’s this LAZY DEMON that will take any small bit of criticism to try and convince me to give up and go to bed. 

Another way of responding to failure that I’m trying out is to be a scientist where I don’t take the critique personally in which it makes ME the failure. I’m simply gathering the information generated through feedback and then tinkering with the experiment until I get the intended results. 

Which brings me back to intended results. What was my purpose for making such a sad film? I thought it was cute, sad and touching and it helped me NOT be sad for a little longer. 

I am sooo curious what you think. Seriously, please write to me with your constructive feedback, even if, especially if it triggered something. Negative is ok, just don’t be mean ok?

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

TAKE ME HOME

What does it mean to DECOLONIZE? 

“Decolonization is the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western thought and approaches. On the one hand, decolonization involves dismantling structures that perpetuate the status quo and addressing unbalanced power dynamics.”

-the internet

I grew up in a small racist town. It was normal to shit talk about any culture that wasn’t white. I knew it wasn’t right, but I didn’t always have the right words when taking a stand. 

This FREE MANUAL helps me find the words. 

It seems the more I learn the more questions I have. Decolonization is an ongoing process. I am so very gratful for the time and energy professors Dr. Tracy Bear and Dr. Gareau have put into their conversations with actor Dan Levy on youtube. These are series of videos where in each episode they talk about, and answer questions from the public about the modules in “Indigenous Canada”- a free course offered by the University of Alberta. The question that comes up a lot to them from white settler folks is: WHAT CAN I DO??

In my last blog entry I looked at Who am I? Where am I from and Who are my people? In moving forward, I continue here with this working list of actions we settlers can do to dismantle the colonial patriarchal capitalist white supremacist paradigm. (By no means is this list finished.. Consider this a chapter in the process of decolonization.)

  1. Educate ourselves. I’ve been reading, watching, listening – and this Manual for Decolonization I linked above, really speaks to me. It is written in a way that I can immediately feel the information as it sinks in. To me, it is to the point with no bs. We have Indigenous perspective, first hand stories, and understandings. I want EVERYONE to read this. Is THIS being taught in schools yet? (I’m going to research this tangent, but if someone knows anything about indigenous perspective being taught in elementary and high-school, can you please let me know?) How do we get everyone to read this? 
  1. Acknowledge. What happened? What IS happening? Are you curious about what the 94 calls to action are from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Who are the people that make up the Truth and Reconciliation commission? – I’ve been reading up on this, and I admit, I get a little confused/overwhelmed when going through this type of government colonial wording. I’d love someone to tell me a story about the calls to action. (Having said that, I’m not asking anyone from the BIPOC community to learn me. I’ll chip away at this and come back with a story). For anyone who is interested here are the 94 CALLS TO ACTION. Again- Indigenous perspective- Let’s get to the TRUTH of our history, and teach that in schools. 
  1. Ask yourself- WHAT CAN I DO? (do not ask an indigenous person). We all have our own personal gifts- what is your unique gift? What is your skillset you can bring to the cause? I’d love to support an Indigenous person in telling their story- through my skills of theatre creation, movement, puppetry, direction, design, film, editing. Just putting that out there.  
  1. Don’t make it about yourself. Phewf, this one really knocked me off my feet for a moment. Is that what I am doing here with this blog? Dr. Tracy Bear said to “value uncomfortability as a place of learning.” Thank you for that. I’m bound to be making mistakes.  In researching further- I’m understanding this is more about NOT CENTERING THE SETTLER PERSPECTIVE. 

Because settler colonialism is built upon  an  entangled  triad  structure  of  settler-native-slave,  the  decolonial  desires  of  white,  non-white, immigrant, postcolonial, and oppressed people, can similarly be entangled in resettlement, reoccupation, and reinhabitation that actually further settler colonialism.”

Decolonization is Not a Metaphor– by Eve Tuck from the State University of New York, and K. Wayne Yang of University of California, San Diego.

I am going to study this article this week, and see If I can come back with a more layman’s version- for folks like me who prefer a more everyday type language. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the importance of edumacated expression, and I often try the big words for myself- I just don’t always understand. It makes me think about some of the folks of my home town- how could this important information be expressed in a way that would help them take in the information and really think about it. 

  1. Cultivate more everyday acts of practical reverence. Reciprocity through gratitude in action. Again, Braiding Sweetgrass is bringing tears to my eyes with Robin Wall Kimmerer’s gorgeous words and stories: 

“The Honorable Harvest asks us to give back in reciprocity, for what we have been given. Reciprocity helps resolve the moral tension of taking life by giving in return something of value that sustains the ones who sustain us. One of our responsibilities as human people is to find ways to enter into reciprocity with the more than human world. We can do it through gratitude, through ceremony, through land stewardship, science, art and in every day acts of practical reverence. 

Braiding Sweetgrass- Robin Wall Kimmerer

6. Consider this:  “We are the ancestors of the future and what we do know will have an impact.”- Yeye Luisah Teish, author of Jambalaya. How can we become good ancestors? I participated as a witness in a powerful on-line “workshop” about Decolonizing the City through a Matriarchal lens. One of the panelists spoke about her indiginous ancestors living and acting in ways that considered us, here and now. What are the ways we can inspire each other to do this?

AND THE ART SIDE OF LIFE

 I ain’t kidding when I say making art is what gets me up in the morning. I feel this process of decolonizing goes hand in hand with making art. #artformentalhealth #dowhatyoulove

This week I filmed a new process video for the creation for THE CURE FOR FEAR. In it Loretta tries out and shares a variety of techniques to “lift your facial epidermis”. I’m rather proud of this bit, first of all simply for doing it- for I had felt rather overwhelmed by the state of the world and fell into a sort of frozen lethargy . Once I got started though, I really tickled my own fancy. I now see where I will make changes in this scene, and THAT is the nature of the process. 

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I am excited to perform THE CURE FOR FEAR as live theatre, but for now I am experimenting with a live digital format. I’m now seeing 3 streams to Loretta’s world. 

  1. Her youtube videos- Here Loretta is “on” and we can glean who she is through what she says and also through what she doesn’t say. Within these films I am experimenting with clowning for film. Once again- Is it still clown if you can’t respond to the audience? I managed to tickle my own fancy here and respond to my response. These scenes I can see playing live, or live stream. 
  2. When Loretta is “off”– This is when the camera to her youtube video gets “shut” off. Still being filmed, we lose the fourth wall and we peek into Loretta all alone at home. How does she act when no  one is watching? 
  3. Loretta’s dreams- I have decided to explore making mini pre-filmed fantastical dream sequences. These will most likely be worked out as movement pieces for live theatre, but could also be used in projection, or promo- basically it is not for naught. These surreal dream sequences are being built from the images that come into my own psyche. I hold them up against my North Star and see how they relate. They represent Loretta’s battle with her demons, a sort of emotional processing metaphorically expressed through image. The north star I have been working with is disconnection, connection and embodiment. 

Next steps, are about STORY. What is the story that turns Loretta’s world upside down? Story has never been my strong point- I feel my skills lay in the execution- the WAYS in which the story will be told. I know it’s in my body though, I just need to let it emerge from my exploration. I’m searching for the universal thread that connects us. I have a consultation zoom date with someone on Monday to talk about this.

OK. Here is my list of resources I utilized this week. 

  • WHOSE LAND IS IT ANYWAYS- A manual for Decolonization– as I said above- SO  GOOD. Please read this if you can.
  • Indiginous Canada– I’m putting this here again because LISTEN AGAIN! I also went back and re-listened to the conversations with Dan Levy, Dr. Tracy Bear and Dr. Paul Gareau on modules 4 and 5 on youtube
  • Giihlgiigaa – a haida weaver, shared with me by another amazing teacher and weaver Nagala Avis O’brian of Nagala Designs. This summer, Avis shared with me how to weave a cedar bracelet and then gifted me some cedar she harvested. I am so grateful for this experience.
  • Haisla Collins– incredible prolific artist/beader. I purchased some earrings from her this week- and you can too!
  • Decolonization is Not a Metaphor– phewf, I’m going to work my way through this, and I’ll let you know where I get. If YOU have read this and want to share with me your knowledge- please reach out!
  • M̓i tel’nexw Leadership Society– this looks amazing, and I am going to take them up on their offers. Their website says: M̓i tel’nexw Leadership Transformation is for leaders** who want to unlearn supremacy and apply Indigenous teachings to their work. If you are ready to see, know, be and do differently, this course is for you. AND- (this is me now) Chief Janis George is one of the founders. I listened to her speak on the panel for DECOLONIZING THE CITY from a MATRIARCHAL LENS- and I fell in love. 🙂
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action– This is regarding reconciliation around Residential School. My homework this week is to read through this, and get a better understanding of WHO makes up the commission, what are the actions, and, how is it being followed through.
  • MSTFUTURISM– They organized the amazing event: Decolonizing the City through a Matriarchal Lens. Keep an eye on this instagram page. They are uplifting and celebrating Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh visions for the future of what is currently known as Vancouver.
  • Ancestors in Training– Instagram page for inspiration and up-coming workshops.

Generosity of Spirit

I’m FINE, How are YOU?

Creating and sharing seems to be fundamental to my well-bing, so I have been challenging myself to do so. This week was particularly focused and full- I wrote an application for a theatre support opportunity- these always leave me feeling a little pumped and a little vulnerable. I made a process video for the CURE for FEAR that experiments with clowning and film- is it still clown if I can’t respond to the audience? I participated in a 5 class comedy writing course, my weekly melodrama zoom class and a continued journey of decolonizing myself. 

How does one decolonize themselves? My own search for answers has me sourcing podcasts, articles, books, music and art from BIPOC communities and allies. Among asking ourselves- Who am I? Where do I come from? And, who are my people? SAMANTHA MOYO (Deepen Your Understanding of Decolonisation) said something that keeps returning to my mind: GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT. I keep thinking of this as I get caught up in petty privileged complaints such as not having enough “personal space”.

  • Who am I? – I am a fifth generation settler living as an uninvited guest on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.  I identify as a queer woman and an artist. 
  • Where do I come from? The first settler of my family lineage on Turtle Island married an indigenous woman of the Snuneymuxw First Nation. I was born on the ancestral territories of the Wei Wai Kum peoples which also included the territories of the We Wai Kai, Kwakwaka’wakw, K’ómoks and the Coast Salish peoples. When I opened the website of the Wei Wai Kum it read: “For thousands of years the Wei Wai Kum lived harmoniously with the lands, waters and resources”. 

(I acknowledge that this G3 Grandmother is but one of the folx in my lineage, and I am not NOW claiming to be an Indigenous person. I did a dna test this summer and found that I am a mix of French, German, Irish and English heritage including 2.4% Native American. HI GRANDMA!!!!) Having said that, I AM curious, and am using my imagination and creativity to dream about what it might have been like if settlers harmonized with indigenous ways as opposed to colonizing in patriarchal, capitalist and white supremacist ways.

  • Who are my people? I’m still figuring out this question as it pertains to my ancestors, but I can say that my people are the artists, healers, visionaries and provocateurs.

I’m currently reading and finding much inspiration in a beautiful book titled- BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Each chapter gives me new insight- such as a deeper awareness of my relation with EVERYTHING and finding more ways of putting gratitude into action. Mz. Kimmerer writes so poetically eloquent that many of her stories bring tears to my eyes. One chapter titled: Allegiance to Gratitude really nailed it home for me: 

“In consumer society, contentment is a radical proposition. Recognizing abundance rather than scarcity undermines an economy that thrives by creating unmet desires. Gratitude cultivates an ethic of fullness, but the economy needs emptiness.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer- BRAIDING SWEETGRASS

That truth in that paragraph makes me feel a bit nauseous. I’m tired of consumer society. Is it so radical to be satisfied and grateful for what we have?

How do we cultivate an economy of gratitude? 

The first step for me is to slow down. Being on social media somehow gets me all wired up. Taking BIG breaks from it helps me slow down and notice what is around me- colors, textures, smells. Lately I’ve been doing 24 hour social media fasts. I acknowledge that social media and the internet can be a tool as well as a trap. It feels especially hard these days to get off social media when we are cut off from our “real life” social networks. Also, these systems were designed to capitalize on our attention as a commodity.  Ew. 

Let’s make ART. I don’t know about you, but making art helps me process the world. What the hell is going on? I don’t know who or what to believe. I know that I’m wary of folks who claim to “know the truth” about- Covid, a vaccine, trump, a New World Order? – jeeeezus. What I do know is that I must keep my feet on the ground, remain centred, and clear headed. I’ll question everything, thank you very much. #artformentalhealth

This week I am very grateful for the resources to be able to participate in a Comedy Writing Class with Virginia Scott of Movement Theatre Studio in NYC. Holy doodle- not only am I learning so much through doing the assignments but I am once again using the assignments to write for THE CURE FOR FEAR. ACCOUNTABILITY and I are friends. 

I wrote out 3 new scenes for THE CURE FOR FEAR and am going to explore filming them over the next couple of weeks. The writing assignments were specifically on: 

  • GAMES- having the character find a game within the premise. (a game is described as something fun for the performer to accomplish, a problem, a desire- it can be complicated or simple with clear rules for the audience to feel included)

“If the audience is confused, if the audience is thinking, then they are not laughing”

Virginia Scott (paraphrased)
  • A FARCE- Begin with the ending- a scenario of chaos and disaster- and work backwards to the one small thing that began it all
  • An ACT OUT (LAZZO)- where the performer gets to “act out” a story that happened, hope will happen, afraid will happen, a flight of fancy… 

In regards to writing or devising a clown turn or comedy sketch/scene these are the elements that I’m discovering will make it stronger: 

  • A CLEAR PREMISE (who, what, where) 
  • Games (like I described above)
  • Modification to the games-  rhythm, escalation (emotional, intensity) rule of three (where the action gets changed on the 3rd time) break the rules
  • Raise the stakes- how can the whole scenario, outcome become more important (ie: a time limit)
  • A button- a comedic ending (a sort of rhythmic shot) that ties the kaboodle together 

I think the performer’s skill level can make it or break it. It’s been really satisfying for me to analyze what I’m drawn to and why am I drawn to it. I’m finding I like a balance of “aha- I get it”, a sense of seeing myself or something I do or recognize in society, and also, I just LOVE some straight up wackiness that is just plain silly.

I believe that laughter in and of itself is important, AND I am also curious about laughter as a tool for expanding perception. Is looking for meaningful comedy too intellectual? Whatever.. It’s what has ME curious, so that is what I am exploring. 

On a technical note, I’ve been scheming about HOW to make EXCELLENT live stream theatre, or even an EXCELLENT pre-recorded piece of LIVE theatre. I feel that I want to keep it LIVE- otherwise we are making low budget films- which is cool too- but different.

I’m curious how to make live stream/pre-recorded live theatre engaging and 3 dimensional. How to make it SUCK YOU IN and keep you there. I have some ideas, and I’ve also been thinking that maybe I don’t want to give my ideas away. 

Aww.. what the heck, someone else is probably having these same ideas anyway- so here are some ideas that I’m experimenting with in the CURE FOR FEAR

  • A live camera. What I mean by this is a gimbal held camera that has its own planned and practiced choreography in the performance. Ideally, I might like 2 or 3 cameras that can be toggled between- and once again their pathways, written, planned and choreographed into the writing of this show. (Basically creating a LIVE movie.) I’m thinking that my solo show just became a duo show in that the camera eye will now be an important part of the creation and performance. 
  • Interesting spaces. At this point, I’m developing a modular version of THE CURE FOR FEAR that can be performed for pre-recored/live stream, as well as performed in theatre venues with or without the cameras. Currently, I am creating from my home studio, so why not develop something that can be performed from the comfort of my own home? 
  • Partial pre-recorded/edit surreal dream scenes. How about that? Go into the streets and film with my weird puppets and giant costumes being built for Loretta’s world. Go ahead, edit it, add special effects- include surprised passers by. I’m curious about this, and the way it could potentially be slipped into a live stream? 
  • How to clown with an audience when you can’t see/hear or make eye-contact. This is an ongoing conversation and experiment with POUPON PARADE. We are now meeting weekly with film assignments to critique and expand on in a desire to explore clowning for film. I’ve been experimenting with “tickling my own fancy’. In a sense, playing for myself and then responding to my response. Holy shit… is that fucked? Haha. IT’S AN EXPERIMENT!

OK. there you have it. Another week of Decolonizing myself and ART. Here is my weekly list of resources utilized. 

  1. Dance Fundamentals with Laura June- An embodied practice! TOOLS for the revolution! Somato-body-politic, using consent, curiosity, and pleasure as guiding research principles. Designed for small spaces and facilitated over zoom- MONDAYS 6-7 (This series is almost over, but you can still come!)
  2. Have you done the free INDIGINOUS CANADA STUDIES course yet? – Indiginous perspectives on History. This should be taught in elementary and highschools. History is a perspective- why should it be told from the white colonial settler view only? 
  3. I may be late to the party but the Canadian Actor Dan Levy hosted a series of conversations with the professor’s of said Indiginous Canada Course. These videos are wonderful and really make the lessons come to life.
  4. Super cool interactive site where you can find out what Indigenous Territory you are on, or are from! HERE
  5. Movement Theatre Studio- great on-line theatre classes!
Become a Patron to see FULL VIDEO!

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 Miracle Potion

Part of the research for the CURE FOR FEAR is exploring images presented through my psyche- so in this, I have made a ritual of writing down my dreams every morning.

I am fascinated by our dreams. I feel that the images we create in our dreams are often a way of connecting our inner world to our outer realities. I don’t believe it is as simple as “this image means that”, but more about deciphering the feeling, or decoding the metaphor. I believe that the symbology of our dreams can help us identify where to take meaningful action in waking life. 

Apparently Thomas Edison said: “Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”

I’ll be darned if I can remember exactly what I asked last night- but as of late, I’ve been requesting insight into extraordinary presence, my role in the revolution, and meaningful artistic expression. So I’m going with that.

Last night’s dreams were very full. This morning, after writing down a bunch of seemingly random bits and pieces of people, places and things, these three themes/images rose to the top: 

  1. Don’t try to be funny
  2. Whales trapped in frozen waves.
  3. Whenever there is a choice, choose the option that allows for human interaction.

The whales? I’m not sure- if that seems obvious and I’m missing something- please let me know. I can only think of pending climate disaster. Sigh.

I’m noticing today where I have a choice to choose human interaction over automation or screen. I ordered a book from Iron Dog Books. (AWESOME INDIGENOUS OWNED BOOKSTORE. They’ve asked if I can prepay so I’m choosing to walk down and do that in person. 

I’m somewhat of an introvert. I LIKE being alone. LIKE A LOT. Texting, automation, and screens are in a way a safeguard from awkward interactions. Even writing this blog is so much safer than filming myself expressing my ideas. I can write, and edit, and research and edit, mull it over and edit.

Over the years I’ve really come to own and claim awkwardness. I’ve also discovered that I seem to have some sort of neurodivergent patterns when it comes to communicating with speech. Anxiety amps it up. Perhaps it is anxiety and anxiety alone causing this blockage. One thing I’ve noticed is that if it matters to me, and I’m nervous, then I will often wix up my mords, or worse, go blank- TOTALLY BLANK. I’ll forget words for what I’m trying to express, I’ll forget peoples names. Dang, I’ve gotten pretty good at faking it. Phewf. It’s exhausting, and it seems to have gotten worse with age. I think part of what I love about clowning and physical comedy so much it that I can use my body to express myself to feel understood. 

I have always had a lot of telephone anxiety and do appreciate the ability to text information. I forget that if someone doesn’t respond that I have the option of calling. (aaahhh.. No thank you.)  My point here being that I’m going to challenge myself to reach out to the HUMAN behind the screen. Let’s go for a walk. IRL.

I like the idea of including “TELEPHONE ANXIETY” in THE CURE FOR FEAR. It feels irrational and funny to me. (Dream says don’t try to be funny!) But, if we go the way of the clown, and make it so big and absurd, then to me, it becomes funny. I have some ideas about Loretta teaching Telephone Etiquette in a youtube tutorial. 

Segway to Writing for Comedy course that I am participating in with Movement Theatre Studio in NYC. I am 2 classes in and have just submitted a little script to the teacher for feedback. 

It is funny to me to see 15 or so little zoom boxes full of very serious faced students dissecting humour. (contrast- serious/comedy) I’ve once read about dissecting a joke is like dissecting a frog- you can’t dissect a frog without killing it. True, but you can learn more about what made that frog a frog in the first place. 

When is it funny? When it’s surprising. When it’s true. When you have an ah-ha that you can relate to the information being presented. When there is tethered absurdity. (As opposed to random absurdity, which can also be funny but not as satisfying as when it is tethered.) The teacher Virginia talks about what she has named (for lack of a better word) THE GAME. The game includes: FUN for the performer, to be shared with the audience, relationships and rules to “the game”, or the world that is being created.

For Loretta, I find it fun for me to play uptight and falsely happy while physically expressing sadness or pathos within the character’s body. This is part of the game.

My homework is to write out a short scene with awareness of this GAME. Of course it is not as simple as one rule and there are a variety of modifiers- like escalation (speed, emotional intensity, volume, scale etc) repetition (rule of three, rhythm, callback) and a button, which is a comedic ending which is more rhythmic if anything- and very satisfying.  

I have a couple scenes already created for THE CURE FOR FEAR. Scenes that were born within the creation of the character. They might not make the cut for the show, but I will make comedic shorts for them as that is a part of the digital research for this show. I’ll pinpoint for myself what the game is and what the modifiers are, and look for opportunities to raise the stakes.

For the class I have scripted out a new scene that has Loretta experimenting with FACE yoga and other absurd beauty industry contraptions. 

Of course this theme was born of my own insecurity and image management. I hate the stupid beauty industry. Seriously, coconut oil is magic- probably works wonders over hundred dollar skin “science” crap. Don’t get me started. 

But also, I’m targeted through social media with tons of beauty industry crap- from skin rejuvenating concoctions to plastic surgery. On facebook I have listed myself as being born in 1923, so maybe it’s that, or maybe it’s because I HAVE fallen for the glamour game and have purchased the miracle potion in the past.

I am NOT IMMUNE TO MARKETING!!! Though I wish I was. Just another reason to smash the patriarchy. Can’t I just get old naturally and feel beautiful doing it? Is that a political act? Feels courageous- I’d rather it was just normal.

Ok. So this week’s post is somewhat of a ramble, but some good personal work I feel. Another part of this research for the CURE FOR FEAR is about the ways in which I can decolonize myself, the way I think as well as HOW and WHAT I share with the world.  

Here are some amazing resources that I have utilized this week. 

  1. THE SECRET LIFE OF CANADA – The Mounties Always Get Their LAND (part 1 and 2)
  2. Decolonize myself– “First Nations Personal journey. Exploring colonization, decolonization, healing, & culture”- Instagram
  3. The book- BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by Robin Wall Kimmerer- Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. A Gorgeous book. So poetically beautiful and inspiring. I could go on and on.. Order it through IRON DOG BOOKS!
  4. MST FUTURISM– AN EVENT! -Decolonizing the City through a Matriarchal Lens. Uplifting and celebrating xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) visions for the future of what is currently known as Vancouver. They invite you to hear from incredible MST Host Nation thought leaders to re-envision the built form centred in right relation to our land, waters and skies. REGISTER HERE

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

HOW DO I FIND MY ROLE IN THE REVOLUTION?

Check out this amazing artist from DEAR BABA YAGA and support them by buying one of their books!

So, here I am researching a clown show, and all of my research keeps leading me back to the dismantling of corporate greed, capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, and colonization. So….

I guess this is what THE CURE FOR FEAR is about? Yeah, but in a funny way, you know? 

This last week in my process of research, I was stumbling around in self doubt. I made a video, wasn’t happy with it. What the heck? Can’t I just make art and enjoy it? Why do I have to question everything? I acknowledge the privilege and shame I feel to be battling with my self worth instead of being out on the front lines battling for clean drinking water. 

AND THAT IS IT RIGHT THERE!

The power holders have me right where they want me to be- despondently floating in the purgatory of NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Maybe I need to buy some skin product to feel better about myself? Maybe I need to eat something, drink something, smoke something?  

I humbly thank the Water and Land Defenders for all that they are doing to protect our earth.

In finding my role, my creation process of art and decolonization, I have been dedicating myself to embodiment. What does that even mean?

To me, it means supporting my nervous system- to feel my feet on the ground, to regulate and become present in my body. I turn to my body through my senses- what my eyes are seeing (colors, textures, light and shadows), what I am hearing and what my body is sensing.

I am dedicated to a daily embodiment session. Interestingly enough the more present I am in my body, the more cognitive I feel in my intellectual mind, and the more energy I have to go beyond my basic needs.

I AM IN RELATION WITH EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING.

This last week had me really questioning the DEPTH of my art. I do desire to make a difference, and in that I have begun to dig deeper. I realized that I desire teachers- and not just theatre class teachers- but elders to help guide me. I’m curious about the ways of my GREAT GREAT GREAT indigenous grandmother- What if society had gone the way of cooperation and understanding of indigenous ways, instead of- well you know how it is. 

NOTES FROM THE WEEK:

DREAMS– recording them every morning.

CLASSES– In my MELODRAMA class, facilitated by Deanna Fleysher I found myself being challenged by my own image management. That means, instead of being present and available to respond to my impulses, I was distracted by what I look like. And on zoom, there I AM starring myself in the face- all my glorious imperfections looking right back at me. 

What the heck? It literally was leaving me frozen and afraid to make choices. (Once again, right where the power holders would have me be!) Afterwards, I made some notes to myself: 

  • Slow the fuck down
  • Wait for an impulse
  • I am enough- my being is enough

In my Movement Analysis class with Norman Taylor a nugget I took away was the tiny undulation. So tiny, that no one can see it, but literally changes the energy patterns around the person making the undulation. Really quite profound. 

PROPS- The house mask is almost finished. I chose to paint it pink, (YES I DID!) with a grey chimney and charcoal roof. Next up- finish painting the roof, make curtains and fasten some interior lighting- and then it’s time to play. What does it do? Where does it go? I have some ideas. #STAYHOME. #REALESTATE #SOLD #MORTGAGEMYHOME #HOMELESSNESS

Thinking about making a grandmother mask. The grandmothers are joining me in this story.

SOME RESOURCES FROM MY WEEK OF CREATIVE RESEARCH:

  • In Solidarity with the Land and Water Defenders– a collective of indigenous and settler grassroots organizers/activists mainly based out of so called Vancouver (Coast Salish lands and waters) with other editors contributing from across turtle island. They support and promote Indigenous sovereignty and human rights worldwide.
  • For The Wild Podcast– For The Wild is an anthology of The Anthropocene; focused on land-based protection, co-liberation, and intersectional storytelling rooted in a paradigm shift from human supremacy towards deep ecology.
  • MEDICINE FOR THE RESISTANCE– a podcast hosted by an Anishnaabe kwe and an Afro mystic looking at life through #Black and #Indigenous eyes. Support them HERE.
  • MTS- Movement Theatre Studio in NYC– I’ve been taking their on-line classes. I was resistant to ZOOM classes… but HOLY- Soooo goood! I’ve thus far participated in ESSENTIAL MOVEMENTS 1, PHYSICAL COMEDY 1, The NORMAN TAYLOR MASTERCLASS and am signed up for more.
  • DANCE FUNDAMENTALS– with Laura June- Everybody, stop what you are doing and sign up for this. Body Positive Embodiment- for all bodies. TOOLS PEOPLE! She facilitates us to learn the TOOLS of our own bodies to be present and regulate our nervous systems. This is important training for these unknown times.

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