Performing Our Empathetic Response to the Stories
Reconvening as a single group, everyone finds a seat, all arranged in a semicircle facing a focal point where the embodied performative pieces will be presented. If you have been working in collaboration with Indigenous partners, they are invited to join the gathering here to share in the witness of the creative work.
Each group takes a turn in front of the others. They might begin by telling their names, but nothing about the piece they read or what it meant to them: they will be showing this to us through the expression of their brief performances. To anchor the significance of sharing these important stories with one another, we chose to hang a paper banner above the performers’ playing space. In large letters it reminded us to remember what Thomas King* has said:
* In Thomas King’s (2003) book, The Truth About Stories, which is the compilation of his talks for the Massey Lecture series, he concludes each essay with this line. His essays can also be heard online: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-2003-cbc-massey-lectures-the-truth-about-stories-a-native-narrative-1.2946870
After each group’s presentation, their audience of other participants and the Indigenous guests reflect on what they heard and saw and felt. The performers then share their own thoughts on the links between the performed piece they had created and the story they had read. When all the presentations had been offered and discussion comes to a close, everyone is invited to move to the fifth and final station, which can be set up near the exit.