Is your work connected to the…world outside world?

Is your work connected to the…world outside world?

Rainblow Flag City Hall St. John's, NL
Rainblow Flag City Hall St. John’s, NL

Laakkuluk: Hi gang!

Matthew: Hi Laakkuluk.

Amy: Hi Y’all.

Laakkuluk: Shall we get right at it? How, if at all, is your work connected to the world outside?

Matthew: Yes, How do international events impact you? How, if at all, is your work connected to the…world outside world…

Laakkuluk: I think we’re going to have to play with that typo.

Amy: kk. With regards to work being affected by the outside world I guess one lives in hope that others identify with our work, where ever they are from.

Matthew: Yes, making the universal specific.

Laakkuluk: Do you mean that you hope to have some universality in your work?

Amy: Yes, that is what I mean, Thanks for clarifying. Although language can be a barrier, but when I see theatre that is in another language I am still moved somehow. I don’t get to do that often. But…..

Amy: Universality has changed a lot since the internet. In Newfoundland, we used to be so isolated, cut off from the Outside world outside, but the world seems smaller now.

Laakkuluk left the room.

Laakkuluk entered the room.

Matthew: Speaking of cut off-

Amy: Are you having trouble Laakkuluk?

Laakkuluk: Sometimes i just have to look at the screen with the wrong squint and I get cut off. grrr

Amy: Careful of those squints. no dirty looks please.

Laakkuluk: I’ll try not blinking

Matthew: I want to come back to universality. I am interested in the first part of the question.

Matthew: How do International events impact you?

Amy: Like the Olympics? Patrick is going to skate very very soon. I have it on while I chat with you… I can’t help it.

Matthew: That will impact our chat.

Amy: I know. That is the international event right now. It’s sports but it’s what we got now.

Laakkuluk: My family lives in many different countries and so I have a personal connection w/ int’l events

Matthew: Really? Neat.  I don’t think International events impact most artists.

Laakkuluk: My mother and I spoke with one of her aunts that lives in Faroe Islands yesterday.

Matthew: How do they impact you Laakkuluk?

Amy: Examples of events Laakkuluk?

Laakkuluk: she said she was cheering for Canadian teams because of our family

Amy: Sweet!

Laakkuluk: meanwhile I had to google who Patrick Chan was…Go Patrick!

Amy: heehee. I guess a lot of the entire world is watching now. Skating is very popular. It is an international language.

Laakkuluk: I find that because I don’t have television at home, I connect to the world differently.

Amy: Yes you would. Do you ever watch tv, or do you just use internet?

Laakkuluk: I watch tv at hotels! otherwise its internet for everything else

Amy: Do you like tv? Why do you not have one at home?

Laakkuluk: I don’t like advertising and commercials being broadcast into my house. I like good programes though, and artistic work and the news but it comes at the cost of watching advertising on the tv.

Amy: Yeah, I watch Netflix, choose what I want to watch a series at a time, and no advertising. Netflix is international, from the States!!

Matthew: I don’t think Netflix is the kind of International event they meant when they assigned this topic.  I don’t think International events impact artists very often.

Amy: I have to say we do not get a lot of international representation on the stage here in Nfld.

Laakkuluk: why don’t you think so Matthew?

Matthew: 9-11 may be an exception…but generally artists are making new work about immediate situations. From what I recall of our discussions, we focus on our regions and issues there. Then we hope these are universal.

Amy: unless there is an international crosslink in our neighbourhoods.

Matthew: Or that there are universal qualities in the work.

Laakkuluk: Maybe because I studied political science in university, I don’t quite agree with you

Matthew: Oh, do tell.

Amy: We used to be an English colony not so long ago and I believe that influenced our collective theatre.

Hans Island

Laakkuluk: I think I am attracted to art (theatre and otherwise) that is making political statements and I tend to incorporate political thought in my performance as well. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a piece on the “republic” of Hans Island the ridiculously small island that had disputed ownership between Canada and Denmark.

I guess that even though the piece addresses international dispute, I look at the  universality of ice and oneness surrounding the island, as the self-declared President of the Republic of Hans Island!

Amy: Good for you.

Laakkuluk: being  Greenlandic-Canadian Inuk myself, I love how silly it all is in the end. The island is only 1.2 km squared

Amy: Newfoundland’s being part of Canada is a very political international event. Many think it happened underhandedly.

Laakkuluk: yes – the internationalism involved in joining Confederation.

Amy: So we are affected by international events. Always, somehow politically.

Laakkuluk: for every single region and culture of Canada

Amy: Yes.

Laakkuluk: or being excluded by Confederation and fighting against colonialism to the present day.

Amy: We are all in this little world together affecting each other.

Matthew: Sure, international events impact us as artists and our work is connected in a universal way, but I am saying these events are seldom the reason for the work. Just a different way of viewing impact I guess. Hans Island is an exception. Are you the president?

Laakkuluk: yup that’s me.

Matthew: Madame President. Nice ring

Amy: I genuflect!

Laakkuluk: Merci. Arise dear Amy. We are all equals

Amy: No, Matthew, We are in the midst of royalty!

Matthew: I don’t know. Sounds like you could declare yourself co-president.

Amy: Ok Patrick’s biggest competition is skating now…. Who’s co-president?  Laakkuluk: Like there should be a Greenlandic-Canadian and a Canadian-Greenlandic co-president? I like that

Amy: I’m in. How’s the pay?

Laakkuluk: there’s the problem of citizenship, which is easily solved, as a Canadian, you need to have had a Greenlandic lover, then you’re in.

Amy: Ok I’ll get right on that! Any excuse for a trip to Greenland. I’ve never been.

Laakkuluk: on it, she says…nice

Amy: Laakkuluk, you seem to travel a lot. do you?

Laakkuluk: I’ve been lucky to travel yes. Inuit performance has been good like that!

Amy: Mostly northern communities? Mostly in Canada? Or Where?

Laakkuluk: mostly northern hemisphere travel.

Amy: I’d say it is because you are good, not lucky.

Laakkuluk: northern communities, all over Canada, Scandihoovia, Britain, Germany

Amy: You are an international event.

Laakkuluk: Ha ha. Full of hybrid vigour as my father used to joke.

Amy: You do a lot of dance? Is there a lot of language in your art?

Laakkuluk: I think this seems to bring us back to Matthew’s observation that we make our regional, local perspectives understandable to the greater world.

Matthew: That’s what connects us to the world outside world.

Laakkuluk: Yes, there’s dance – that mask dance I was telling you about. And language for sure, makes me think of concentric circles, that turn of phrase

Amy: Our expression connects us to the outside world?

Laakkuluk: like we make an explosion of discovery within ourselves and then we push that discovery out to share with the world outside world as collaborative groups of artists.

Amy: Couldn’t have put it better myself! That explosion! That discovery. So exciting.

Matthew: Looks like Patrick Chan is about to skate.

Amy: he is…awwwwww

Matthew: A perfect example of an international event that will not impact our art.

Amy: but it will excite us.

Laakkuluk: okay. I’m starting to see what you mean, both of you!

Matthew: I’m only watching because the hockey is between periods.

Amy: he stumbled twice. My nerves!


Laakkuluk: The City of Iqaluit put up a pride flag for the duration of the games

Amy: Yeah we did in St. John’s too.

Laakkuluk: there’s been amazing and important discussion about it in Iqaluit and Nunavut.

Amy: about sexuality equity?

Laakkuluk: That’s an international event that likely affects our work!

Amy: Victoria?

Matthew: I don’t think there is a pride flag up at city hall or the BC leg. But we’ve been talking about it. How does it affect our work?

Amy: Gay rights you mean?

Laakkuluk: makes me feel like I need to be working more to discuss openness and diversity within the Nunavut community.

Matthew: Yes, Amy. Just curious about how it impacts our work.

Laakkuluk: there’s a sizeable group of people who are amazingly homophobic in Nunavut and another sizeable group that embrace diversity

Amy: openness and inclusivity, is always important in our work. But is it represented much is another question.

Laakkuluk: I think it’s important for performers like me to be helping with diversity and inclusivity

Amy: I do too Laakkuluk. Example is a good start. Lead by example. What we teach our children….by example.

Matthew: I feel like this particular issue impacts my life more than my work. I don’t make work on this topic, but I encourage diversity in my workplace. And encourage my child to be accepting.

Amy: But your life impacts your work. It’s in there somewhere.

Matthew: Yes, but it is hard to draw the connection in a direct way.

Amy: Patrick Chan got silver!

Matthew: Wow. You saw that before me.

Laakkuluk: that was fast!

Amy: Sorry. We are closer to Russia than you! 🙂

Laakkuluk: See – this is also a fun way of getting the news.

Matthew: For a moment there I had a secret Patrick Chan did not know.

Laakkuluk: I hear it from cool people like you

Amy: Anyway Matthew, you were saying…it is hard to make a connection to inclusivity and gay rights in your work?

Matthew: Yes. Not sure I can cover this in a chat, but…there is not a straight line (no pun intended) between this issue and my art making. There are other artists better poised to tell this story.

Amy: Yeah, I can see that. I identify. But we practice being open and inclusive in our lives

Laakkuluk: nor should it be a particularly straight line all the time.

Amy: though it may not be outwardly apparent, I believe our compassion shines through.

Laakkuluk: there we go!

Matthew: Thanks for the chat

Laakkuluk: Yes! Always a pleasure! Until the next time!

Amy: Soon!




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About the Authors

Los Angeles native, Dana Dugan is an artist, acrobat, performer, pedagogue, academic, and mother based in Montreal. She was a founding member, programmer, and producer for the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at Concordia University under scholarship researching the circus body
I am an advocate for the deep human need for all people, but especially post-colonial indigenous people to express themselves at a level of creative excellence. A mother, student, writer and performer based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. I live in a household that speaks Greenlandic, Inuktitut and English. My work includes uaajeerneq – Greenlandic mask dancing, music, drum-dancing, storytelling and acting. Hunting, camping and eating wild foods are all activities that figure largely in my family.
Amy House’s theatre career spans forty years. I know - she does not look that old! A comedienne, writer, actor, arts advocate, and Artistic Animateur of RCA Theatre Company in St. John’s, Amy has created several one-woman shows including: The Seven Faces of Amy with Maxim Mazumdar, ’Tis Not Human, To Be What You Want To Be, and Scratch and Pull.