Delta Stageworks’ new show, set to debut later this month, tells the “extraordinary life stories of five ordinary women.”
In Heirlooms & Baggage (My Mother’s Story), playing at KinVillage in Tsawwassen Feb. 16-18, audiences will follow the women’s “unique and universal” journeys, knit together with the personal discoveries made by the storytellers — their children.
“In turns celebratory, humorous, relatable and transformative, the play explores those oh-so-essential relationships, the ones we have with our mothers,” according to a press release announcing the show.
Heirlooms & Baggage stems from a series of “My Mother’s Story” writing and storytelling workshops the society held last year led by actor, author, playwright and Delta Stageworks associate artist Marilyn Norry. The sessions aimed to connect participants with their mother’s life story and encourage them to share diverse cultural experiences through writing and storytelling — no previous experience necessary.
My Mother’s Story was created by Norry in 2004, and since that time she has created an online archive of submitted stories; edited and published three related anthologies as well as a workbook, Writing Women’s History — Starting With Your Mother; and last month spoke about the important and life-changing work of writing mothers’ histories at TEDx Surrey.
“This show emerges from of a year-long writing and theatre-devising process involving diverse voices from the Delta community and professional theatre artists weaving together stories about their individual mothers’ lives,” Delta Stageworks co-founder and artistic lead Peg Christopherson said in a press release.
Heirlooms & Baggage features Christopherson and Delta Stageworks actor/writers Camryn Chew, Ragini Kapil, Renee Iaci and Eric Keenleyside, who all came to the project with a personal desire to delve into the life stories of their respective mothers.
Kapil, whose mother’s journey began in Fiji and took her to Nelson, B.C. and a noted career as an educator, said she has often taken her mom’s strengths and accomplishments for granted, and that the creative process of putting together the show “has really opened up my understanding of who she is as a woman, not just as my mother, and what it’s been like for her to negotiate the cultural expectations and judgements faced by a woman of colour coming to Canada in the 1960s.”
Keenleyside’s mother’s story, meanwhile, offers glimpses into the extraordinary ordeal of a woman escaping Europe in the wake of the Second World War and coming to Canada as a refugee with nothing but two pieces of her family’s silverware.
Working with Norry and the actor/writers to shape their written stories into theatrical scenes is director Cory Haas, who has worked with the company as a devised-theatre facilitator for the past three years. Also on the creative team, shaping the visual elements of the show, is Ladner filmmaker Cliff Caprani.
“We hope the takeaway for audiences is that diversity in our community can be more than a media buzz word, and that it lives in our everyday ability to share and listen to the stories of our neighbours life journeys, ” Christopherson said, adding Heirlooms & Baggage is the perfect show for moms and their adult children to see together.
“In the big picture, we believe that the theatre — and the arts in general in our community — is a great way for people to come together, connect and work towards a more inclusive future.”
Delta Stageworks Theatre Society’s production of Heirlooms & Baggage (My Mother’s Story) will play for four shows at KinVillage (5410 10th Ave.), with performances at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16-18, plus a 3 p.m. matinee on Feb. 18.
Tickets are $20 and available now at eventbrite.ca/e/heirlooms-baggage-my-mothers-story-tickets-516251350687 or through the Delta Stageworks website (deltastageworks.ca). Discounted tickets are also available by signing up for emails via email@example.com.