GTNT's season opener tackles social hierarchy, reconciliation in tongue-in-cheek way
- NC Raine | October 16, 2017
Inspiration for Andréa Ledding's play came unexpectedly when covering a historically significant event over seven years ago.
“I was covering the residential school apology at White Buffalo Youth Lodge (in Saskatoon). One of the elders, who is now deceased, said that it was 'like being locked in the bathroom of your own home,'” explains Ledding.
“I thought that that was really powerful. That was the starting point for something - it stayed with me. So, I started to write a play.”
The product of that inspiration became Dominion, the first play from Ledding, which opens the
(GTNT)in Saskatoon. Dominion tells the story of two new homeowners who find the previous two homeowners literally locked in the guest bathroom. Through this setup, Ledding explores themes of power, rules, and the struggle to belong.
“The elder (during the residential school apology) was talking about the apology specifically, but to me, he was talking about the history of Canada,” said Ledding. “It meshes with everything I had watched both growing up and the things I covered as a journalist. So, from that the play was developed.”
The play, which takes audiences on a journey through time from the first settlers in the 1800s all the way to present day, is a “dark, honest, and sometimes ridiculous” look at Canada's history and reconciliation. It aims to look at some of Canada's most serious issues in a not-exclusively serious manner, says Ledding.
“It's a sort of tongue-in-cheek look at Canada as a construct,” she says. “To look at some of the absurd things that have happened in our country, I think theatre can help a paradigm shift and help people see things with a new perspective.”
And Ledding's play has taken a journey of its own, being workshopped at the University of Regina and the University of Toronto, workshopped in Regina for a festival, and a small segment performed in part of a nine-play tour with Canada 300.
After a couple years in break, Ledding is enthusiastic about Dominion receiving a full-run at GTNT, and is confident in those now taking reigns.
“The production is going to be amazing. It's one thing to write or read a play, but to actually see it performed (is special). The programmers, the direction, and the production are bringing so much to it,” says Ledding.
In tackling issues like social hierarchy and reconciliation, Ledding hopes that audiences of all ages, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, are entertained by its humour but also connect with it in deeper way.
“I hope audiences take away a renewed sense of purpose, dignity, and hope, that we can all live together in good relationships rather than dysfunctional ones,” she said. “And people are encouraged to come up with their own solutions as to how they can do that.”