Reservations review

Yesterday evening, all of the first-year Creative Communications students went to see Reservations, written by Steven Ratzlaff. It’s a two-part play presented by Theatre Projects Manitoba that focuses on Indigenous themes, primarily reconciliation.

The first thing that stands out is the minimalist set. There is one backdrop and three 6 x 20 foot screens that projectors cast landscape imagery onto throughout the play. The props consist of a round wooden table and four wooden chairs. Although the set is minimal, the script and the acting is not.

The first part of the play is about a generous Albertan farmer, named Pete, who wants to give his land to the Siksika Nation. His privileged daughter, Anna, objects to this because she wants to inherit the land after her father’s death. Through their discussion, the characters share information about treaties and colonialism, revealing their ignorance and enlightenment. But there is no real resolution. We don’t know if Pete gives his land away, which feels unsatisfying.

The second part of the play is about a couple, Jenny and Mike, who foster three Indigenous children. Jenny doesn’t like the kids visiting the reserve and is afraid they’ll be taken away by CFS. The couple visit with an Indigenous social worker, Denise, who explains why visits to the reserve are necessary for the children. The acting is so good that I catch myself feeling anxious when Jenny is really worked up. We learn that the kids are taken away and Jenny is crushed.

The play ends with a lecture presented by Denise. She talks about German philosopher Martin Heidegger. I’m not familiar with his philosophy and it’s hot in the theatre, so I lose interest and wonder when it will be over so I can get some fresh air. But there is a question and answer session with the writer that follows the lecture. It seems like Ratzlaff is tired and hard of hearing. He doesn’t offer a lot of insight. Again, I lose interest.

Overall, I appreciated how the characters showed different perspectives and beliefs about Indigenous culture. It felt very real. But I would have liked to see some resolution instead of lots of back and forth fighting.

You can see Reservations at The Rachel Browne Theatre until March 20.

the art of relaxation

I deal with a pretty big amount of stress and anxiety. Right now, on top of all my school responsibilities, I’m in the midst of trying to find a new place to live by the first of May. I’ve already moved twice since CreComm started last September, and I’m so incredibly exhausted of the whole process. I’m also trying to look for a summer job so I can pay off my line of credit and get some work experience.

With all of these things going on, along with being an introvert, it can be really hard for me to relax and recharge. But I still try. Here are some activities I do to calm myself.

Do a guided meditation – At night, when I’m laying in bed and my head is spinning with all of the things I need to do, I will put on a guided meditation by Michael Sealey. He has an extremely soothing voice. Some of his videos include: releasing negativity, meeting your higher self, and many many more. Check out Michael’s YouTube channel.

Take a bath – There’s nothing that a warm bath won’t help, even just a little bit. I love turning off the lights and lounging in the tub with a few drops of lavender oil. I guess it sort of resembles being in the womb and not having any worries or responsibilities? Ha.

Stretch out – Sitting at school all day and carrying around a backpack really strains the muscles in my body and can cause some pretty nasty knots. It feels great to stretch and regain some flexibility and circulation in problem areas. I usually watch a video so I can follow along and not get distracted.

Make fresh ginger tea – Brewing up some ginger tea and adding honey is one of my favorite acts of self-care. There are so many benefits of fresh ginger tea: it stimulates appetite, relieves tired muscles, and helps to soothe a sore stomach. Ginger root is available at most grocery stores, and the tea itself is very easy to make.

What do you like to do to chill out? Comment and let me know!

Festival du Voyageur photo essay

Every February, Winnipeg celebrates French-Canadian culture for 10 days in the heart of St. Boniface at Festival du Voyageur. This tradition started in 1970 and has been going strong ever since. Inside of Fort Gibraltar, voyageurs demonstrate and explain how those in the early 19th century cooked, made canoe paddles and snowshoes, tanned leather, traded fur, decorated their clothes, and kept warm during the winter months.

Fort Gibraltar was originally built in 1809 by the North West Company voyageurs, but was captured seven years later by the Hudson’s Bay Company and destroyed. A year later, the British authorities gave NWC permission to rebuild. The fort was destroyed by the Red River flood in 1852, but was rebuilt in 1978 by the Festival du Voyageur.

Here’s a look at the voyageur lifestyle inside of Fort Gibraltar.

Warmly dressed people explore Fort Gibraltar on a cold winter day. Feb. 20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN
Chantelle Gauthier, Eric Limpalaer, and Laurie MacDonell warm up by the fire and wait for their next meal to finish cooking. Feb. 20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN
James Young cuts potatoes for a chickpea curry dish he promised to make for the vegetarian voyageurs. Feb. 20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN
Jean-Marc Lafond serves bread and a hearty pork and vegetable stew made on the dutch oven to Arielle Morier-Roy and Debbie Young. Feb. 20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN
Mark Blieske demonstrates how voyageurs carved canoe paddles. Feb. 20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN
Nathan Beal uses a coping saw to carefully cut a hole into a silver brooch. Feb.20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN
Handcrafted brooches lay on a red sash. The Luckenbooth heart-shaped brooch was a very common Scottish brooch which symbolized love. Feb. 20, 2016/ALANNA YUEN