Toronto, ON, Canada
In this one-woman show, Michelle J Buckle unearths her self-worth as a Black co-victim of homicide, weaving her story through ancestral and family traumas, racial injustices, and systems of oppression, all with the help of Anansi's wisdom.
Written & Performed by: Michelle J Buckle
Talkback Facilitated by: Dr. Nisha Sajnani
Dramaturgy & Direction by: Naomi Tessler
Anansi is a god, a spirit, and one of the most important characters of West African and Caribbean folklore. Originating from the Ashanti people of present-day Ghana, Anansi is considered to embody the wisdom of all stories, often taking the shape of a spider. The most complete compilation of Anansi tales is found in “Anansi, Jamaican stories of the Spider God.”
Celebrated as a symbol of slavery resistance and survival, Anansi is able to turn the tables on their powerful oppressors using their cunning and trickery, a model of behaviour used by slaves to gain the upper hand within the confines of the plantation power structure.
Join Anansi as they weave their story into Michelle J Buckle's personal stories of trauma and resilience and into the stories of her ancestors.
This is a presentation of the autoethnographic performance for Michelle's dissertation project with Black youth homicide co-victims, evolving from her experience as an aunt of a Black youth who was violently murdered. By modeling a personal performance, Michelle hopes to encourage youth from many cultures, but Black youth in particular, to see the value in the learning that comes from writing their own stories and performing to the community.
*Please note, this show includes sensitive subject matter. We will have support people in the online audience available to speak with during an after the show for those who could use some extra support.
*25% of the proceeds of this show will go to: Edmonton Berean Church of God Youth Group
Michelle J. Buckle-Writer & Performer:
Michelle J. Buckle is a registered psychologist and dramatherapist of Jamaican origin. With over 24 years’ experience as a dramatherapist, Michelle runs a psychological practice in Edmonton, Alberta. She uses the performing arts—embodied ways of being and knowing—to encourage students and clients of all ages to critically engage in new ways of learning both within institutions and unconventional learning spaces. Michelle further shares her passion for using performance to inspire conflict transformation, community building, and creative solutions to social and racial justice issues as a member of Thirdspace Playback Theatre and as a doctoral student exploring the experiences of homicide survivors in the University of Alberta’s Department of Secondary Education.
Dr. Nisha Sajnani-Talkback Facilitator:
Dr. Nisha Sajnani, RDT-BCT, is the Director of the Program in Drama Therapy at NYU Steinhardt and on the faculty of the Rehabilitation Sciences Ph.D. and Educational Theatre Ed.D/Ph.D. programs. She is the Director of the Theatre & Health Lab which includes the As Performance therapeutic theatre series. Dr. Sajnani is the Principal Editor of Drama Therapy Review, an international journal for research on dramatic improvisation, performance, and wellbeing, and a founding member of the World Alliance of Drama Therapy, the Critical Pedagogies in the Arts Therapies Think Tank, and the NYU Creative Arts Therapies Consortium.
Naomi Tessler-Dramaturge & Director:
Naomi Tessler, M.A. is the Founder, Artistic Director and lead facilitator of Branch Out Theatre. She has been working with communities globally for 16 years, using theatre to inspire positive change! She currently facilitates and develops Branch Out Theatre workshops, community arts projects, co-creates and directions productions with organizations, groups and individuals in Ottawa, Toronto and across Canada. She is passionate about using theatre as a tool for encouraging self-empowerment, conflict resolution, social justice and well-being. She believes in uniting communities through theatre to build bridges and break through barriers. As a director her work has spanned: Toronto, Ottawa and New York city, directing performances in theatres and public spaces. She has been honoured to support Michelle J Buckle on the journey of Anansi Came-learning from Anansi every step of the way.
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