Two Women, Two Crossings

Donna Spencer on The Village and ribcage: this wide passage

Two women come to Canada as immigrants. They come from different parts of the world and at different times in Canadian history – one from the 18th century and one the present day. They face challenges of survival, isolation and loneliness and yet, with determination they move forward.

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Tina Milo in The Village, image Una Skandro

Two women recognize the value of these stories and create theatre/performance works. Inventive, passionate and, yes, with determination Tina Milo’s The Village and Heather Hermant’s ribcage: this wide passage were developed and brought to the stage. When I heard about these two pieces celebrating the strengths of two very different immigrant women I was intrigued and wanted to share the spirit and vision of the works with Firehall audiences.

In Tina Milo’s The Village, we meet a recent immigrant from Serbia, who has left behind a successful career as an actress to move to Canada. Here, she becomes a young mother stuck at home with few friends and few outlets for her creative expression. She sinks into a depression common among female immigrants who are often left at home alone with family while their husbands go out to work. Lacking contact with the outside world, she struggles to improve her language skills and find a way back to the career she left behind.

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Heather Hermant in ribcage: this wide passage, image Tim Matheson

In a very different story, Heather Hermant’s ribcage: this wide passage celebrates the journey of a young Jewish woman, who arrives in Quebec City disguised as a male laborer at a time when women were not allowed to travel alone. Discovered, she is brought before authorities upon her arrival and faces life in a new country, alone and unsupported. When Hermant discovered this story of the first Jewish women to immigrate to Canada, she wanted to honor it and share it.

As International Women’s Day approaches, we would like to honor and share these hidden stories with you! – Firehall Artistic Producer Donna Spencer

The Village runs Feb 24 – 28 and ribcage: this wide passage runs March 3 – 8. 

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