THIS IS GOING TO HURT

We are in a real mess.

For the foreseeable future, it IS going to HURT to care about our planet.

Consider the corporatocracy we are up against.
I
t HURTS to take action to protect this world we all share.

From 2010 on, Acadians, Anglo-Settlers, and the L’nuk (Mi’kmaq) of Sikniktuk, also known as Kent County NB, stuck our necks way out there. We were worried for our health, families, communities, and neighbours, and we were each determined to protect our land, water, and our entire region from Getting Fracked. When The Frackers arrived in 2013, we all stood together, shoulder-to-shoulder.

We got hurt, arrested, terrorized, enraged, sued for damages, publicly shamed and belittled, thrown in jail, denied basic rights while in jail, and put under terrible court conditions. 

The state turning with force against us reopened deep wounds and scars for the Mi’kmaq and Acadians, while it stunned Anglo-Settlers and Newcomers.

We were lied to, tricked and deceived by so-called democratic government. 

We were invaded by the RCMP and Irving’s security force, as well as agents provocateurs.

Many of us still have nightmares. Some of us got so alarmed by the injunction, law suit, and criminal charges we went home and shut up. Some of us are still afraid to go out, even to attend meetings.

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Our beloved homeland is still considered a “Sacrifice Zone”
by major resource extraction companies.

We have to push through all that hurt ’cause it ain’t over, not by any means!!

The corporations and their pals in influential places want
our trees, medicine plants, fish, land, water, minerals, and anything else in or on the earth, or in or on the water they can turn into money and profit. 

It is not possible to still hold illusions about our “democracy” in New Brunswick. We have to admit the provincial government will let these companies rape our region to death.
We must stop them.

Meth-art

 Here’s the good news:
Forum Theatre Workshops

We can use lessons learned from our
Stand AGAINST The Frackers
to figure out how to best
Stand Up FOR The Forest. 

All of us who lived in Kent County/Sikniktuk during 2013 have experience and wisdom to share as frontline activists, environment protectors, supporters, and by-standers.

Forum Theatre workshops will help us brainstorm better ways to communicate as allies. They can help us think differently, get better organized, and strategize for future action. 

 The theatrical workshop techniques of Forum Theatre take participants beyond the usual “discussion around a table.” Forum Theatre engages body, spirit, and emotions. 

Together, we can learn from the past how to protect our region for all future generations to both enjoy and rely on for survival. Please consider joining the FREE February 13th and 14th  workshops to develop “This Is Going To Hurt.” See below for more details. Other sessions may be planned.

Very little has been determined about the content we will deal with in these workshops, because the participants will create that. However, one thing that has been decided is that the dramatic or imaginary “setting” for these workshop activities is in the Forest. This is because in 2016 our collective battle will be to Take Back our Forest, to protect it, ourselves, and future generations of ALL Peoples and Life in this region.

How will we do it? What will we produce?
Do I need to act up on a stage?

  • The workshops are free of charge, although if you can we ask you to bring something to share for the social/potluck before each session.
  • No experience is required. We  do need everyone’s brain and heart. We can use people behind the scenes as well as those willing to act. 
  • The work we do together can be left at what we learn during the workshop. In other words, you make no long term commitment by taking part
  • However, the co-directors of this project (Lib and Ann — see below) and our supporting groups (Council of Canadians’ Kent County Chapter, Kopit Lodge, and Jumblies Theatre) hope that the work we do will be used as core material to create a community performance at a later date. In this way we can share with more people what we learn from each other during the Forum workshops on Feb 13 and 14. 

Here are steps we will follow in the workshops:

  1. Getting to know each other and the issue – exercises and games help us get relaxed, identify issues to discuss, warm up.
  2. Sculpting – learning how to create images to tell stories: starting in pairs, we will work up to group images. 
  3. Image Theatre – creating images specifically about issues of community concern; building up a series of “image” statements. 
  4. Introducing Intervention – exploring how these images can be changed in useful ways. 
  5. Skits – when we’re ready, building short scenes around chosen issues; then others try to change for a better outcome. 
  6. Discussion – What was learned? Where do we go next?

A top-of-the-line Forum creator has volunteered to come help us!

Lib is coming to work with us because she respects how we united,
across all the barriers of colonization, to protect our common homeland. 

Lib Spry deserves to stand proudly on her reputation, based on more than 50 years of work as a director, playwright, performer, and teacher. Mostly in non-traditional theatre, her work has focused on political and social creations, popular theatre, solo performance, community arts, clown, and all forms of physical theatre. Lib has trained groups and created Theatre Forums across North America and Europe. She has founded and run several theatre companies, as well as working with many others, and she has taught theatre at the University of Ottawa, Concordia, Queens and McGill.

Like people all over the world, Lib heard about the humble grassroots Indigenous People and non-Aboriginal Canadians who came together in the woods of Maritime Mi’kma’ki, to non-violently protect the water and land that sustain all Peoples in Sikniktuk/Kent County New Brunswick Nouveau. Like people all over the world, she got her news mostly from social and alternative media, because the Irving papers and other mainstream media did not carry our news. The more independent media were usually blocked or “kettled” out of the protest areas. Lib watched with her heart in her throat as the state and corporations used private and public service police, infiltrators and agents provocateurs to try to defeat our united front. 

Ed's poster

artwork by Ed Kwong, from Montreal

And Lib cheered when SWN had to leave our area with only slightly more than half their planned exploration complete, after 7 months instead of their planned 2 months. Solidarity supporters around the world gave thanks that we managed to get SWN Resources Canada to leave here without anyone dying.

Finally, just like all New Brunswickers and our allies everywhere, Lib was pleased we voted out the “say YES to shale gas” NB Government, and voted in a new government that had promised to at least “push the pause button” and call a moratorium of sorts.

We are thrilled that Lib, like many other supporters from “away,” is willing to come here and volunteer to lend us her amazing skills.  Wela’lin, Merci, Thanks, Lib.– No’kmaq.  

Our Concept Arises from all 3 Cultures

In December 2015, at Jumblies Theatre in Toronto, the conceptual pieces of “This Is Going To Hurt” were artfully birthed on this idea map by Leah Huston (of MABELLEarts).

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Ann Pohl of Bass River attended the Jumblies Theatre Artfare Essentials workshop to help prepare for co-direction of the This Is Going To Hurt project. Ruth Howard (Jumblies’ Director) made it possible for Ann to attend. Ruth believes in the power of communities telling their own stories, and through Jumblies she is committed to helping vulnerable and under-resourced communities develop the skills to do their own story-telling.

Ruth, Leah, Lib, Ann, and Katrina Clair of Elsipogtog (along with her daughter Jovia), and hundreds of other Indigenous and Settler Canadians, were all part of the Spring 2015 Train of Thought, organized by Jumblies Theatre.  Katrina brought Sikniktuk Mi’kmaw awareness to the Train of Thought participants, making sure they had an opportunity to view this video: 

It was on the Train of Thought – a journey into perceptions, names, memory, geography, history, imagination, relationships, discovery, treaty, and refuge – that Lib and Ruth first heard the stories of the Peoples from this region from Katrina, and from Ann. That is when they each decided to do what they could to help us share those stories.

Ann first became inspired to work on this production during the winter of 2014-15.She was reading through dozens of social media posts by an Acadian anti-fracking ally from Saint-Louis-de-Kent, Roger Richard. Roger’s writing reflects his shock at being lied to and deceived by the system, seeing his homeland invaded, and seeing so many of his neighbours terrorized. Roger has commented he feels like a

powerless citizen whose home lands have been listed as sacrificial land by far away modern day aristocrats.”

There is a wry, reasoned, and politically insightful humour in Roger’s writing, some which made Ann envision humorous animated videos (who knows? they may still materialize as part of a final script and production). For example, Roger has written that,

“with the fracking issues… which go altogether in the wrong direction for what our planet needs, as well as threatening to pollute my homeland, my life has been put on hold for five years now. The only good thing about it is that I have developed a good olfactory sense. I can now smell “phoney” and the stench of that is something I will not forget.”

Many of Roger’s Facebook posts address specifically the conduct of the RCMP. For example, Roger sets out to prove that the burning of the police cars was not done by any of “us” allies, and must have been the work of agents provocateurs. Most people around here feel the same way, but Roger presents convincing arguments, and he manages to make it funny by the way he tells the story. Some of his writing can inspire us at the workshops. 

alltreatypeople

Once Again: When & Where?

Two FREE workshops are already planned 

  • Saturday Feb. 13, 4:30–9 pm, at the Greenwood Lodge in Fords Mills. A potluck supper; at 5:30 pm start the workshop.
  • Sunday Feb. 14, 5–9:30 pm, hosted by Kopit Lodge, in Elsipogtog (bldg TBA). A potluck; at 6 pm start workshop.
  • Other workshop sessions may be planned until Feb 17th. 
  • Lib can also offer a workshop in French. Entrer en contact!

To confirm interest and attendance,
or for more info:

  • Join in the online conversation – ask to join our “This Is Going To Hurt – rehearsal for the revolution” Facebook Group:

(Thanks to TOPLAB for Creative Commons Copyright use of images in this post.)

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