Photo by Chung Chow
Anyone who has sat at the feet of a good storyteller, listening rapt to the progress of the tale, knows the pleasure of hearing firsthand about a meaningful experience.
Many oral cultures are known for their skills as story-tellers. From the Irish, forbidden on pain of death to teach an Irish child to read, to our First Nations peoples, to even the oral origins of the Bible, stories told out loud were to teach, engross, and inspire.
Dark Glass Theatre company originally designed Trespass as a fundraiser for production at Pacific Theatre in January of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Ruined.
Since then, Trespass has gained a life of its own. While the funds raised will help in the January production, this collection of stories, music and food promises an evening of thought-provoking entertainment at four different venues around the Lower Mainland. Starting Sept. 22 in Abbotsford, Trespass then moves to Richmond on Sept. 23 at the Trinity Western University (TWU) campus before heading on to Vancouver and Langley.
“The series of evenings exemplifies forgiveness, in all its forms,” Dark Glass Theatre’s associate producer Jessica Garden says.
Each show’s participants may vary but each night Trespass will be, “a performance of true personal stories from artists, actors, authors,” Garden says. “There will be activities. It’s all very exciting. We will explore themes of reconciliation, love, betrayal, and forgiveness.”
For storyteller Boz Poon, there was a lot to forgive. He says he came to that realization while in federal prison, serving his 10 year sentence for kidnapping.
“I was a performer signed with [record label] EMI Hong Kong. Later on, I got in with the wrong friends. That turned into a kidnapping incident.”
While in prison, Poon says: “I lost all hope. In my angry state, all I wanted was vengeance against the people who dragged me down into prison. That was in 2004.”
While Garden’s journey hasn’t involved the judicial system, her story is no less wrenching and is no less hopeful.
“I would say that in my own journey of healing, reconciliation and forgiveness, it has been one of not demonising the other. It’s been about seeing, face-to-face, the common bond of humanity,” she says.
TWU Richmond campus events coordinator, Christopher Nash, will contribute a song.
“The story I’m sharing is a little open-ended. If I don’t forgive, then that’s a burden I am carrying for the rest of my days. It’s about the process of learning to forgive.”
Reconciliation, particularly working towards right relations, comes to the fore with Inuit story-teller Lisa Dook.
While many of the stories might start out sad, they often end on a bright note, showing the value of forgiveness, whether of one’s self or others.
“You never want to tell an audience what to feel but want them to go through what I’m going through when I’m telling my story on stage,” Garden says.
“Dark glass is striving to set a table where everyone is welcome.”
To that end,Trespasswill be more than just food for the soul, there will be actual food to eat. “We plan to set a table where we can spark conversation that will foster empathy.”
While some of the participants come from a conservative Christian background, Jessica says, “it’s not necessary to be a person of any faith, let alone Christian.”
Garden continues: “There will be no proselytizing. If that happens we’ll climb under the benches,” she says with a laugh.
As adults, we rarely find a venue to contemplate the important things in life; forgiveness, reconciliation and hope.Trespassoffers just such an opportunity.
“We are hoping that with this show, we will decrease judgement and increase compassion,” Garden says.
The website for Dark Glass Theatre (URL) sums it up by quoting The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe author C.S. Lewis: “My own eyes are not enough for me. I will see through the eyes of others.”
For tickets, copy and paste to browser: brownpapertickets.com/event/3076588