Way Off-Broadway Wednesdays tackles an epic Canadian tale

An epic Canadian chronicle is getting new life from Way Off-Broadway Wednesdays.

The fringe performance series, which runs Wednesdays in the back room at the Heritage Grill, is taking on Susanna Moodie’s Roughing it in the Bush. Episode 1 is set for Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.

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Moodie’s journals, which have become a Canadian classic, chronicle the adventures of the upper-middle-class Englishwoman, a published author in her homeland, who emigrated to Canada in 1832 with her husband and their baby.

“Her vivid and unique female settler’s perspective takes historical non-fiction to an entirely new experiential level that will deepen and expand your understanding of our country’s landscape, history and cultural legacy,” a press release says.

For the WOW performance series, the text has been adapted for interpretation by, and commentary from, women from the region’s diverse creative communities in various genres – theatre, storytelling, comedy, circus, dance and puppetry.

Episode 1 will feature three readers who themselves are all transplants to Canada: Nic Enright-Morin, originally from the U.K.; Fiona Koski, from Australia; and Marylee Stephenson, whose roots are in California. The three will lace the readings with their own insights about leaving “home.”

 “I wanted to create an ongoing event that would showcase the exceptionally talented women in our arts community, with a presentation format that could be openly influenced by their diverse artistic practices,” said creative producer Devon More in a press release.

Each episode will be underscored with live music from More, and audience members are invited to stay around after the reading to participate in a discussion about the text and themes.

 “When I discovered the journals of Susanna Moodie, I was immediately struck by her rich imagery, dry humour and high-stakes adventure,” More said. “I was also somehow shocked that I had never come across her work before. It is so beautifully entertaining, but also a hugely important text with which we can explore modern questions of post-colonialism, reconciliation, immigration and prejudice.”

Future episodes are planned for November. Episode 2, on Nov. 7, will feature actor-writer-puppeteer Tara Travis, while Episode 3, on Nov. 28, will feature actor-creator-producer Jess Amy Shead.

Way Off-Broadway Wednesdays shows start at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended; call 604-759-0819. All performances are on a pay-what-you-want basis. See www.facebook.com/wayoffwed.

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