Timmins students explore consent through theatre
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.
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.