O Happy Day
World Theatre Day often passes by the same way International Woman’s Day or Children’s Day passes; days that mark profoundly significant movements or professions, days that say to the rest of the world that attention must be paid, if only for a few brief hours…but those days are every day for me.
Every day I am either writing a play or thinking about a play or cursing a play or – in my darker moments – looking for other jobs in order to pay the bills, but I am always happy to belong to the world of theatre.
It is difficult for me to write about my relationship to theatre but a few weeks ago the Literary Press Group asked if I would write a Blog for World Theatre Day, about the experience of reading a play versus the experience of watching a play.
Dreaming Awake: Reading a play versus seeing it performedReading the play was way different than reading the books and novels I’d read up to that point because on the page nothing came between me and the characters – their words, their spit, the way they’re feeling – there was no ‘he said then she said’, no descriptions of seashores or buildings or which way the sun was shining or what happened thirty years ago, everything was NOW and everything the characters did – kicking, standing, walking away from each other – made me want to follow them.
See the full post:
I would also like to draw your attention to two more inspiring speeches celebrating World Theatre Day.
The Playwright’s Guild of Canada invited acclaimed Edmonton playwright (and University of Alberta Drama alumna) Mieko Ouchi to mark the day.
Here is an excerpt of Mieko Ouchi’s 2015 Canadian World Theatre Day Message:
The world we are living in today, is a place in deep flux. One that feels increasingly uncertain and precarious. Power is shifting. Economies are rupturing. We are confronted by unthinkable acts of inhumanity. And while on some fronts concepts of equality are moving forward, in other ways we are increasingly being pushed backward into separate and potentially more extreme corners by forces on many sides. Into perilous ideas of Us and Them. Right and Wrong. Black and White.
Faced with this stark reality, we can find ourselves wondering at the purpose of art. The purpose of theatre. And yet, isn’t this a time when theatre might be needed more than ever?
For we in the theatre understand deeply that no human is one thing alone. Drama shows us again and again that we are made up of many selves and wear many different identities. That we can be, and indeed already are, simultaneously part of multiple groups and communities. This recognition of the complex intersection of who we are is a powerful idea, and one that allows us the empathy and compassion to see ourselves in others.
That is something worth sharing.
Read Mieko Ouchi’s full message:
The International Theatre Institute invited Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski to write the World Theatre Day speech:
Go See A Play Today
What is World Theatre Day?
World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). It is celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community. Various national and international theatre events are organized to mark this occasion. One of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace.
For more information about World Theatre Day: http://www.world-theatre-day.org/en/theatreday.html
About Mieko Ouchi (‘92 BFA)
Mieko Ouchi is a Canadian actor, writer, director, dramaturg, and much sought-after teacher. Her plays have been produced across Canada and the U.S. and have been finalists for the 4 Play Reading Series at The Old Vic in London, the Governor General’s Award for Drama, the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award and the City of Edmonton Book Prize.
Her work spans everything from Theatre for Young Audiences to large scale adult work, often exploring issues around diversity and the artist’s process and involves a mixing of the techniques, vocabulary and imagery of theatre and film.
Mieko is proud to be one of the founding members of Edmonton’s Concrete Theatre and to see the company evolve and grow. She has written, translated, performed and directed shows for the company since 1989. As a freelance artist she continues to work as an award winning actor, writer and director in theatre, film and TV and teach at the post secondary level. Mieko lives in Edmonton with her husband Kim and her dog Nara.