Saturday, February 24, 2018

Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwan honoured in new Theatre Inconnu play

March 4, 2015 by Jayden Grieve, contributing writer

“All I have ever cared about/and all you should ever care about/is what happens when you lift your eyes from this page.”

Beautiful words from the late Canadian poet Gwendolyn MacEwan’s Let Me Make This Perfectly Clear. The Ontario native passed away in 1987 and is still considered by many to be one of Canada’s greatest poets.

Alien Creature: A Visitation From Gwendolyn MacEwan is a play written in tribute to this great Canadian icon, and it will be performed by University of Victoria grad Tannis Perry.

Theatre Inconnu’s new play is a tribute to poet Gwendolyn MacEwan (photo by Theatre Inconnu).


“It’s different parts of her life, and it’s mixed in with her own imaginative stories and her own metaphors about her life,” says Perry. “It’s inspiring that she embraces the dark side of things in her poetry. She doesn’t try and shy away from the dark side of human nature. She tries to get it out, and I think that’s admirable because everyone has a dark side.”

Perry explains that she really identifies with MacEwan as an artist and was drawn to the play immediately. She goes on to express how wonderful her director, Jocelyne Lamarche, was, and how hard they worked to develop their own unique take on the play.

“When Jocelyne first approached me with the project she really discouraged me from doing research on Gwendolyn MacEwan,” says Perry. “Specifically because she didn’t want me to try and portray that person. She really wanted us to come up with who we thought Gwendolyn MacEwan was; who I thought Gwendolyn MacEwan was.”

It’s especially important to know your character well when performing in a one-woman show. As the sole person responsible for everything, Perry says it can be a little bit frightening at first.

“If I miss a cue or a line, I completely have to cover for myself. It’s a little intimidating, but I know it backwards and forwards now,” she says. “I had my preview and I thought it went really well. I’m a lot more comfortable with the play now that I’ve had more time to rehearse it.”

Despite the pressure that she feels, Perry is eager to perform and would like to do justice in her tribute to MacEwan, whose life had many ups and downs. And despite having its sad moments, overall the play comes off as touching and hopeful.

“The theme of the play is about trying. It’s about going through the struggles of life and your passions and being able to admit that the way things were at one point doesn’t need to be the way things are at another,” says Perry. “It’s about trying not to lose oneself just because things are different from the way they once were. Some people don’t adapt to change as well, like Gwendolyn, but I think trying your best is what she did.”

Alien Creature: A Visitation from Gwendolyn MacEwan
February 17-March 7
$10-$14, Theatre Inconnu (1923 Fernood Road)

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