Tim­mins stu­dents ex­plore con­sent through theatre

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - NEWS - RON GRECH

au­di­ence mem­bers in Tim­mins had the op­por­tu­nity to in­sert them­selves into a unique the­atri­cal per­for­mance about dat­ing vi­o­lence and sex­ual as­sault.

sheathre, a pro­fes­sional theatre com­pany from Owen sound, pre­sented two per­for­mances of “Far From The heart.”

The first per­for­mance was at the Tim­mins Na­tive Friend­ship cen­tre, the sec­ond was at the Tim­mins cam­pus of col­lège boréal/univer­sité de hearst.

War­ren bain, one of the per­form­ers, ex­plained the unique in­ter­ac­tive qual­ity of the play which in­vites the au­di­ence’s in­ter­ven­tion in what is hap­pen­ing with the char­ac­ters on stage.

“We talk about lan­guage, we talk about defin­ing one self, we talk about how cloth­ing does not rape peo­ple but peo­ple rape peo­ple,” said bain, who among the six per­form­ers serves more as a nar­ra­tor and master of cer­e­monies for the drama tak­ing place on stage. “We talk about sex­ual as­sault, we talk about safe dat­ing prac­tices, drink­ing, sub­stance use, binge par­ty­ing, we talk about by­standers and what they can do in sit­u­a­tions.”

The play runs about 25 min­utes dur­ing which nu­mer­ous con­flicts and is­sues emerge.

after that first run, bain said, “We play a game called The stop Game be­cause we al­ways have the power and the choice to say ‘stop.’ and so what we do is go right back to the be­gin­ning of the play and re­play the whole thing.

“The au­di­ence has the chance to say ‘stop’ at cer­tain mo­ments in the play. When they say ‘stop,’ the au­di­ence mem­ber can come up on stage and take the place of one of the char­ac­ters in or­der to make a more pos­i­tive change.”

sheatre is a theatre com­pany that spe­cial­izes in in­ter­ac­tive pro­duc­tions that pro­mote dis­cus­sion of var­i­ous so­cial is­sues.

bain said they have plays in their reper­toire that ad­dress is­sues such as ho­mo­pho­bia, de­men­tia and elder abuse. he said over the years they have per­formed to au­di­ences rang­ing from Grade 7s to se­nior cit­i­zens.

angèle la­belle, a coun­sel­lor with col­lège boréal in Tim­mins, said in light of the cam­pus’s zero tol­er­ance pol­icy when it comes to vi­o­lence or sex­ual ha­rass­ment, she felt host­ing one of the per­for­mances would be an ex­cel­lent way to re­in­force that mes­sage.

“Preven­tion is al­ways bet­ter than in­ter­ven­tion, so we want to make our stu­dents aware of the risks and we want to ed­u­cate them so they are bet­ter equipped in deal­ing with pos­si­ble sex­ual ha­rass­ment sit­u­a­tions,” said la­belle.

she said from boréal’s per­spec­tive, this is not just about re­in­forc­ing rules of con­duct on cam­pus but pro­vid­ing some life lessons that hope­fully stu­dents will carry with them after grad­u­a­tion.

“it’s not just in high schools, uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, it’s also in the work­force,” said la­belle.

RON GRECH/THE Daily Press

In this scene from ìfar From The Heart,î Rachel, left (played by Marie-josée Dionne) and War­ren (Bart Dem­czuk) ar­gue over what Felic­ity (Mor­gan St. Onge) is wear­ing. War­ren wants her to put on his sweater while Felic­ity is wear­ing Rachel’s dress and she be­lieves she should be able to wear what­ever she wants, when­ever she wants and that War­ren should­nít be so con­trol­ling.

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