Many school children were treated to yet another theatrical performance right in their own schools this year by Montreal theatre company Geordie Productions. For the past 7 years or more, Geordie has been coming to the Cree communities here to perform professional productions of new Canadian plays Thanks entirely to The Cree school board. This year they took two productions. One aimed at the elementary school level, “How to be a perfect person in just three days” by Quebec playwright Gilles Gauthier is based on the novel by Stephane Manes. It tells the story of a young boy who learns that trying to become “perfect” may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Originally written in French, it has been translated and is now being performed in English throughout Eastern Canada. The second production, for the teen audience, was “Chasing the Money” by Vancouver playwright Dennis Foon. It deals with the problem of gambling and the fact that both adults and young people can be a victim of this addiction.
The actors, Lindsay Pierre, Carrie Colak, Jacob Richmond and myself, stage/tour manager James Douglas all travel to the communities in a touring van and fly to others courtesy of Air Creebec. First stop this year was Maquatau Eeyou School in Wemindji where we performed in the community hall. The children loved to come and knock on the door of the apartment after the show to ask for autographs and just to chat. At the restaurant, some children found it was fun to play with the actor Lindsay Pierre’s hair. Next was the flight to Whapmagoostui-Great Whale and the Badabin Eeyou School. Here the actors were treated to a sight they rarely get to see, the northern lights. We were told that if they really wanted to see a show, we should return in the winter. We all decided that we want our own ATV’s- “just to get around”. We also took a stroll down to the beach and stuck our toes in just to be able to say we “stepped” into Hudson’s bay. Actor Lindsay Pierre actually went to school with teacher Tanya Turnbull who is teaching 4th grade this year. In these communities, not accessible by road, we have to take the bare minimum of set and props. Whatever will fit in our luggage. Thanks to Emily Masty; she’s always a great help.
After this came a weekend in Chisasibi and the performances at the James Bay Eeyou school. This school, having the largest population, got to see the show twice, as all the children could not be fitted in at one time. On the 9th Sept, the actors and myself were invited to drop into a wedding at the Arena and on the 10th we were delighted to share a traditional meal in a teepee cooked up by Chisasibi’s own Linda Quachegan, Great Bannock! By the way, thanks to Sherman at Chisasibi Mandow Agency for the info.
From there we went to Wabannutao Eeyou School, Eastmain. Thanks to Dorothy Gilpin for the arrangements. Then the flight to Wiinibekuu School, Waskaganish. Thanks to Gertie Murdock and Ingrid. Finally Luke Mettaweskum School, Nemiscau- thanks Lindy for the accommodation. By the way, I discovered that you could fill up at 381, drive to Nemiscau and still make it into Matagami on one tank of gas!
Next month after the goose break our team will head up to O.J., Mistissini and Waswanipi to finish off that part of the tour. Looking forward to next year’s visit!
By the way, we always like to receive mail so if anyone at the schools wants to write to us and tell us about the shows we’d be delighted! Draw us pictures too. You can reach us at Geordie Productions, 4001 rue Berri, Mtl, Que. H2L 4H2. Or by fax (514) 845-3634.