Growing Rootless

What impact do you expect the dramaturgy program to have on you as a playwright and on Rootless?

As a playwright I am interested in the learning and growth that I will experience in solo work. Much of my writing and creation up to this point has been with one or more people. The piece I’m working on is already benefitting from having someone ask it to imagine beyond its confines and borders.

What kind of process are you and your dramaturge Jivesh following?

Jiv and I have talked about my process which often includes visual exploration as well as physical exploration being a part of the process. We are choosing to view the current script and further writing done at the early stages as explorations which I will then take when crafting the piece.

What, if any, has been your past experience of working with a dramaturge?

I have had the gift of working with two dramaturges in the past. One of those experiences was an ongoing process while writing a script. My writing partner and I would spend with our dramaturge looking for the clarity of the story. Later we worked with someone in the rehearsal process who was able to help with the clarity of the characters.

Between the time that you began work on Rootless and now, what has/have been the most significant turning point(s) in the writing?

With this particular process I have found it particularly helpful to be connected to images. This has enabled me to be immersed in an imagistic world as I write.

Can you expand on the use of myth and oral stories in Rootless and how this choice is conducive to an exploration of liminality?

The myths that I am currently exploring are a combination of myths that I heard as child growing up in Sindh Pakistan, and those that I am creating out of images that are central to the experience of the piece. In myths it is in the unknown, the liminal places where characters that are engaged in search, the path are able to find magic, courage, strength or transformation.

You speak of rootlessness and displacement as an ongoing yet unexamined state of being in contemporary Canada. Can you speak more on this?

I’m not sure that I was explaining myself clearly with that statement. I might say from this vantage that it is what is common amongst us. I think what is unexamined is recreation of connection to land/earth we are on.

What is your earliest/best/worst memory of theatre as an audience member?

One piece that has stood out for me, was at Les Trois Jours de Casteliers puppetry festival in Montreal. The piece was called L’après-midi d’un foehn by Compagnie Non Nova. It was a one-person show in which a collection of plastic bags that had been fashioned into humanistic shapes were manipulated by a circle of fans facing inward. When the fans were on, the bags danced, fought, played, loved and lived. It was incredibly simple and magical with no formal language. I was already drawn to puppetry and this confirmed for me how powerful inanimate objects can be in expressing emotions.