The Open Pit theatre company is scouring the territory for stories.Genevive Doyon and Jessica Hickman are two playwrights, actors, and founders of Open Pit who are collecting yarns about what it means to call the Yukon home. They want to talk to anyone.
Next spring, after transcribing and compiling the stories, Doyon and Hickman will present a play based on the stories they’ve gathered. They will tour the play across the territory later in the year.This type of theatre is called ‘verbatim’. It will be a play for Yukoners, as told by Yukoners–not a single word of stories gathered will be changed. Every breath, sigh, murmur, tone will be replicated to a tee by the actors. “I thought that this would be a very artistic and creative way to showcase Yukon life,” Doyon says.
Doyon will conduct interviews until November. She plans to visit Ross River, Watson Lake, and Teslin over the next month. She has already spent much of the summer traveling around the territory with a little hand-held recorder, talking to strangers.
Doyon wants people to tell her about home, land, and living in the North.”People generally live in the Yukon for a reason,” she says. “Either you were born here, or you chose to come here. It’s not often that you just end up here.”
Doyon is looking for the core –why do people live where they do? And what do people think about the constantly changing world? Some people are inclined to share deep personal experiences, others are not, but Doyon has no expectations: “People are free to share how much or how little they would like. I want to hear it all.”
So far, she has listened to more than 50 stories.
Verbatim theatre is a fairly new concept, but Doyon thinks people will find themselves enriched by the outcome. “I think theatre is a very sacred experience,” she says. “Most of the time people are always focused on their media devices and are not fully paying attention to their surroundings. When you are at the theatre, all there is to focus on is the performer. It’s just you, and the story being told.”
The number of characters in the play has not yet been decided.
“There could be two or there could be 12,” she says. “Once I go through all of the stories, I will have a better idea of the specific direction of where this play is going.”
The as-yet untitled play will open in the spring to 2015. But in November, theatre lovers will get a special treat–Doyon’s verbatim mentor, Joel Bernbaum, will be coming to give workshops. Also, come March, there will be a public open reading of the script. For those who are shy, all names will be changed for the play. Whether your story about home in the Yukon is one sentence, or takes five hours to tell, Doyon wants to hear from you. Everyone is asked the same questions, and from there, it’s up to you. It’s your story, after all.
For more information contact Doyon at, [email protected], or by phone at 336-0176.