Hi. I’m Marcel. The newest member of Suitcase in Point. I thought it would be fitting to introduce myself to the Suitcase in Point fans before I enlighten you on my incredible trip to Vancouver that I will never forget.

I’ve now been at the company for just over a couple weeks now, and it is already the best job I’ve ever had. Last week, the big boss, Deanna and I travelled to the west coast of Vancouver to attend the visionary PuSh International Performing Arts Festival where artists from all over pool their works and in a spirit of innovation and artistic sharing.

The Mountains are Everywhere!!!

As someone who has predominantly grown up on flat landscapes for most of my life casually seeing mountains everyday was a sight I could never tired of. I spent most my life in the GTA, lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years, and then 4 years in Niagara at Brock University. Each morning I would get up, go for a run along Main Street, and gawk at how the snow-capped mountains seemed to effortlessly pierce the clouds. Uncompromising, unimaginable, immovable, and determined to be seen by every set of eyes that looks at it. A lot like my artistic journey right now.

After 10+ years of carving out a career for myself as a performer, I am now interested in being seen in a different way. What that way is I haven’t fully figured out yet, but I’m excited to go on the adventure to discovery.

Dawn Jani Birley: An (Inter)national Hero

I had the pleasure of seeing one of the most inspirational speakers I have every played witness to. Dawn Jani Birley is a versatile actor and avid taekwondo practitioner with more than ten years of professional experience in the theatre and film industry, not just in Canada but around the world. Her passion strives from her desire to show that Deaf and hearing individuals are capable of working together to bring about positive change to the world today. I had the pleasure of experiencing her superpower first hand when Dawn presented an inspirational and reverential keynote utilizing her amazing gift. In this keynote, Dawn used her own life experience as a reference point to express the differences between inclusion and intersectionality and encouraged the audience to embrace the latter in order to achieve true equality. I now believe every show should have a sign language interpreter at every performance.

The Power of Perceiving Our Privilege

One thing you’ll learn about me real quick is that I love alliteration. Something about the repetition of similar sounds and seeing the same satisfying letter consecutively; Wooo!? it all just gets me hot and bothered. Another thing I love is watching people engage in difficult conversations.

I had the amazing opportunity of engaging in a difficult conversation during the PuSh Festival’s Field Notes which was sparked by a provocation from Ann Connors and facilitated by Fay Nass, Jiv Parasram, Dani Fecko, Joyce Rosario, and Kim Senklip Harvey. The provocation was as follows:

How do you acknowledge the power you have? How do you use that power? How do you share it? And, as importantly, how do you let go? As individuals, serious self-reflection is required to recognize the privilege we each hold – and this journey is not easy. We tend to throw rocks at the larger institutions and place blame on their governing bodies for what we feel are risk-averse and short-sighted decisions that are not responsive to our community. We point to the systems that we have created as the problem. Fair enough – much of that criticism has been earned, and we certainly have a few more windows to break on that front. But what about us? As leaders of independent companies – as artists, administrators, and curators – who hold power that others are still unable to reach, are we acknowledging the power that we hold? Are we using it to lead? Are we sharing? And how do we do what we do and respect those of us who are coming, as well as those of us who are going?

Those in attendance represented domestic and international organizations from a variety of different categories in the arts industry, and we got into a heavy discussion around how our own power and privilege impacts the equitable engagement, and participation of the artistic and theatrical creation community. We covered a lot of nuanced challenges consisting of topics like; gender disparity, systemic oppression, colonial repercussions and the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples. I left the conversation with a deeper understanding of my own power and ability to participate in shifting the systems and environments of the theatre ecology.

From Left to Right; Reneltta Arluk, Victoria Hunt, Ligia Evalyn Parry, Laakkuluk Willamson Bathory, Lee Su-Feh

Erin Brubacher & Christine Brubaker/ 7th Cousins Production

If You Look Up Triple Threat in the Dictionary, Lucy McCormick’s Picture will undoubtedly be there.  

This show was all types of fun. Lucy McCormick presented a trash-punk morality play made for the modern world. I’ve been wracking my brain on how best to talk about this show, but I’m going to defer to EJ Raymond instead…

The show finished with Lucy body-surfing across the audience, like Jesus when he ascended into heaven…or something like that.

BROCK TALKS

February 13th at 11:15am it’s going down….

What’s going down you ask!

An intimate chat with yours truly and Brock Dramatic Arts Professor, Danielle Wilson. I hope for this to be the beginning of a series of conversations that the DART student body can be a part of. If you’re someone working in the arts, or a field that’s arts-adjacent, please hit me up as I’d love to conduct a 1-1 on how you’ve carved out your career path.