Kingston, Ontario

It is a quick pass through Kingston for some of us on Train of Thought. Some have diverted to Windsor Ontario to visit Six Nations territory while others have come to connect with community artists here. Personally, I’m glad to have a chance to reconnect with Julie Salverson, a professor at Queens University. Julie’s research and writing has been enormously helpful to me in furthering my understanding of how community-based theatre artists can approach creating theatre involving people’s real-life stories about traumatic experiences. She asks, what is an ethical way to tell these stories so that the performance neither re-traumatizes people, nor uses the stories as entertainment for an audience? I once wrote a play based on the theories Julie put forward in her doctoral dissertation and later, when I had the oral defence for my PhD, she came to Victoria to be my external examiner. In the end, we don’t have a whole lot of time to talk during the time I’m in Kingston, but it is good to see her and I relish the little time that we are able to catch up. I’m glad to have even this brief chance to fill her in on how I applied the theory I developed in my doctoral research on From the Heart.

For most of the afternoon in Kingston, Ange offers pretty much the same workshop she presented in Toronto yesterday, inviting people to listen to a ten-minute segment of an interview with Lee Maracle about treaties and then create a performative response. Like the group from yesterday, these workshop participants create some astonishing theatrical images. After a short break with conversations the feast begins, prepared by a local caterer. For those who enjoy it, moose is on the menu; I go for the vegetarian option. I volunteer for the clean up crew so by the time I get to my billet, it’s late in the evening. I am staying in the comfy home of a professor in the education department at Queens who has left a key for TofT visitors while he’s away.

There was some confusion about the ticketing on this next leg so instead of joining the group, I need to find alternate transportation. My new friend Kate, from the musical duo Kate and Rich, has explained to me how Kijiji works and I’ve managed to score a ride with some international students on their way to an English language test in Ottawa. The next morning they pick me up from the front porch of where I’m staying, we have a lively conversation all the way, and they drop me just where I need to be.

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