Janus enacts wonder about the powerful yet limited deity of doorways. On either side of a mortal veil, God and human are obscured from each other, yet mutually aware and reactive. To create an opening for them to truly see each other will require a magic beyond their control.

Janus is one of three works derived from the same story, incorporating three expressions developed through different personal lenses, individual histories and arts practices. This video documents the first draft of a theatrical three-part project. The two subsequent pieces will come from an indigenous perspective and the other from a classical Indian dance perspective.

Envisioned as a theatre for one, a mobile theatre/cave-like set piece was designed and constructed to embody and enable projections, shadows, light and tactile experiences. With each collaborator committed to this project for deeply personal reasons, a vocabulary of images was developed. Archetypical elements pass through different cultural experiences to be creatively reborn in the theatrical cave (or womb), a sacred space where destiny and divine doorways are questioned. Bharatanatyam, indigenous art, and modern theatre might seem distinct but are all sincere prayers to the divinity within.

This multidisciplinary project team, calling themselves End of the West Collective, will be participating in the upcoming Digital Dramaturgy Initiative, a collaboration between Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal, Playwrights Theatre Centre, the Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP), and the Blyth Festival. The three pieces will be produced in Winnipeg by Theatre Projects Manitoba in late 2021.

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Shot & Edited by: Jacqueline Loewen
Music by: Rafael Reyes

Conversation with the artists of Janus on Thursday, May 28, 2021 at 3:15pm (EDT) as part of the Theatres of Architectural Imagination symposium. Register here.

Bio of artists:

Avinash (Nash) started his training in Bharatanatyam at the age of 10. He has won many prizes in the field and expanded his horizon to other Indian dance forms such as Kuchipudi and Kathakali. The most exciting part for Nash when it comes to classical dances, is the ability to tell a story through movement. Indian classical dances provide the best opportunity to learn that correlation through its vast vocabulary of hand gestures, facial expression and body movement.

Jacqueline Loewen is a theatre maker and founding member of Hot Thespian Action, the multiple Canadian Comedy Award nominated physical sketch group.  She has worked extensively as a fight choreographer and movement coach on every stage in Winnipeg, plus Bard on the Beach (Vancouver) Can Stage (Toronto), and Kansas State University. She has won two Winnipeg Theatre Awards for outstanding choreography.  She has adapted and directed site specific operas for Manitoba Underground Opera, Little Opera Company, and Flipside Opera, and created several experimental physical theatre pieces, notably La Belle Laide (nominated for Harry S. Rintoul award), and Tree in the Closest Distance (residency at The Sawdust Collector, Vancouver).

Scott Henderson is a professional lighting designer who has worked extensively with every professional theatre in Winnipeg and many others across Canada, including Stratford, Shaw, Belfry, Globe, Theatre Calgary, The Citadel, and the Canadian Stage Co. He has also designed for a number of independent productions. Trained at Ryerson, Mr. Henderson is currently a member of the Associated Designers of Canada (and has served on its board) and IATSE. He teaches Lighting Design for the University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre and Film.

David Thomas, is Anishinaabe, a member of Peguis First Nation. As an architectural designer, he is currently involved in developing the former Kapyong Barracks master plan with the Treaty One Development Corporation and the Indigenous People’s Garden at Assiniboine Park, part of Canada’s Diversity Garden. Along with Indigenous architecture projects throughout Canada, David has presented in New Zealand and the UK and was part of UNCEDED, Canada’s entry of Indigenous Architects for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

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