Update: February 9, 2022
We're thrilled that In the Shadow of the Mountains was curated as part of Ruby Slippers Theatre's 2022 Advance Theatre Festival at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts (Burnaby, BC) on February 8th at 8pm for a Studio Theatre and livestreamed reading!
Back row: June Fukumura, Angela Chu, Lauren Preissl, Sharon Crandall, Odessa Shuquaya
Front row: Donna Soares, Jordan Waunch, Ray Koh, Evan Adams, Raugi Yu
Directed by Valerie Sing Turner, with dramaturgy by Debi Wong, the stage directions were read by Chris Gatchalian, who also moderated the post-show talkback. The audience was complimentary about the performances of the talented cast of 10 Indigenous and East Asian actors, and were even more impressed upon learning that the cast had only started rehearsals that morning!
With pandemic restrictions starting to ease, we are hoping to attract producing partners to support a longer and more robust workshop process that such a large ensemble piece requires, before moving on to a full production.
Synopsis: It’s 1988. A family gathers to discuss what to do with Esther, a Chinese-Canadian WWII veteran, as they can no longer ignore her growing dementia. She keeps talking to Victor, her beloved brother, whose death she blames on the Japanese when he volunteered to serve in the Pacific arena during World War II. Her husband George, an Indigenous WWII veteran, was Victor’s best friend. Their son, Gary, arrives with his Caucasian wife, Joanna, and their 18-year-old daughter Lucy. Things are already tense when estranged elder daughter, Nancy, shows up with husband, Ken, and their two daughters Denise and Andrea, who have never met Esther and George because Ken is Japanese-Canadian and Esther refuses to acknowledge his existence. But the real fireworks begin when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announces his plan to apologize to the Japanese Canadians who were interned during WWII. Will the weight of Canadian history tear them apart?
2019 Development Workshop + Staged Reading
Back row standing, L-R: Dennis Joseph, Jessica Schacht, Jessie Liang, Ronin Wong, Sharon Crandall, Jordan Waunch, Grace Le, Ray Thunderchild | Front row L-R: Shayna Virginillo, Valerie Sing Turner, Annabel Kershaw, Chris Lam, Lauren Preissl
Thursday, November 7, 2019 – 7:00pm
Produced by Visceral Visions
Presented by the Heart of the City Festival & Chinese Cultural Centre Museum + Archives
555 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC
A company of 10 actors brought to life the latest script written by Artistic Producer Valerie Sing Turner, in collaboration with Dennis Joseph, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Cultural Consultant and composer, dramaturg Jessica Schacht, and producer Shanae Sodhi.
The 2019 development workshop + staged reading were made possible with funding from City of Vancouver and BC Arts Council.
2017 Development Workshop + Staged Reading
L-R: Diana Bang, Amanda Sum, Ronin Wong, Laara Ong, Mason Temple, Donna Wong-Juliani, Jay Brazeau, Valerie Sing Turner, Chelsea Rose Tucker, Jessica Heafey, John Cook.
A big thank-you to everyone who contributed to making our way-too-short development workshop plus the public reading on December 10, 2017, a success! In addition to our fabulous cast, we want to acknowledge dramaturg Lisa C. Ravensbergen; Squamish Nation cultural consultant Latash Nahanee; public reading co-presenter Granville Island Cultural Society; funders BC Arts Council and City of Vancouver; as well as intrepid supporters Sarah Garton Stanley, National Arts Centre (English Theatre), Tompkins Wozny LLP, Starbucks, and SFU Woodward's. Audience members commented on the power of the piece, which exposed disturbing pieces of BC history through the use of poetic language and the personal experiences of one family. The development process has given Valerie lots of ideas and inspiration for the next draft, so stay tuned!
National Arts Centre, English Theatre Collaboration - Visceral Visions
National Arts Centre, English Theatre 2016/17 Artist in Residence - Valerie Sing Turner
John Moffat + Larry Lillo Prize 2017 - Valerie Sing Turner
Visceral Visions gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the Granville Island Cultural Society, National Arts Centre, City of Vancouver, and the BC Arts Council to this project.
October 24, 2015: WWII veteran and family friend, Victor Wong, with Valerie Sing Turner at the Chinese Canadian Military Museum's 70 Years Gala marking the end of World War II. Photographer credit: Doug Bing