Fragments of Belonging

What is it like to hear your own story told in your own words by a total stranger?

Several Whitehorse residents will find out next week when Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival presents Tanya Marquardt’s work-in-progress called Fragments.

The play is a pastiche of interviews Marquardt conducted with 25 local people in different locales over the past four years.

“I’ve taken these interviews and changed them into monologues, then I’ve taken the monologues and cut and pasted them together so that it reads almost like dialogue that’s related by source material,” Marquardt explains.

The interviewees covered a wide range: newbies and oldtimers, male and female, young and old, straight and gay.

“It’s oral history and it’s also a live performance, and there’s an element of verbatim theatre in it, because it’s taken from the actual text of people who exist.”

Blended together, their stories address a common theme: the sense of home and community.

“What is home? What does belonging mean, and how does it change throughout our lives, depending on the kind of lives we have?”

Audiences will get to see two distinct hour-long approaches to the same text, one by Marquardt and fellow Vancouver actor David Bloom, the other by Whitehorse actor Celia McBride.

In each version, the different characters will be identified only by the actors’ changes in voice and mannerisms.

“The style and the size of those mannerisms is what we have to figure out in this phase of our workshop process,” the playwright says.

“The question I have is how little we can do and still show that the actor has switched from one character to another.”

Next week’s audiences could play a pivotal role in determining the play’s final form.

“The audience is going to be the best critic you could have in terms of what’s effective or not. You’ll just feel it while you watch other people watching it, or you’re performing it yourself.”

Fragments runs Tuesday, January 25 and Wednesday, January 26 at the Old Fire Hall, beginning at 8 pm.

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