Thought Residency: Julie Tamiko Manning

Thought Residency: Julie Tamiko Manning

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My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number five.

I grew up in a small francophone town south of Montreal. I had been ridiculed when I was younger for not speaking French properly, so I made sure when I walked into a diner to order a “lait frappé”. The woman behind the counter said “Enh?” I said, “Un Lait frappé? She said, “Quoi?” “Un lait frappé.” And I pointed to the big menu on the entire wall behind her. She turned around and she said “Ah, tu veux un milkshake!

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought four.

Today I went to visit my Japanese grandparents’ grave. It’s in a tiny Anglican graveyard in a small francophone town in the Eastern Townships of Québec. They were not Anglican but there wasn’t much choice for their final resting place. The story of how they got there is the story of displacement of Japanese and Japanese Canadians after the Second World War. I think about how they are as isolated in death as they were in life. Their Japanese bones surrounded by white ghosts.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought three.

So I was in a show with a life-sized elephant puppet, called Jumbo. Jumbo had 2 puppeteers inside him and one manipulator/actor on his trunk. One of the most poignant scenes with the puppet was a non-verbal scene with a fourth actor. I always wondered what made that scene work so well. It occurs to me now that it was one of the only moments of pure complicity: everyone-on and offstage worked towards the one goal of giving Jumbo life. They were complicit. Without ego. Backstage, We would all watch like breathless children from the wings.

My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought number two.

I’ve been thinking about silence.

Recently a friend told me that I gracefully repress emotion. And that that’s not healthy.

But sometimes silence is good. Sometimes there is so much love and beauty in Silence. Sometimes Silence is just the absence of words (which can be so exhausting and complicated) and not the absence of me.


My name is Julie Tamiko Manning and this is thought #1.

This summer I was working at the Blyth Festival Theatre in Huron County in Southern Ontario. I would wake up every morning and before I got out of bed and I would take 30 seconds to think of something that I was grateful for. This was something that a friend of mine had encouraged me to do, and we would report back to each other every night. We were responsible to each other. I did it for her, but it didn’t really do much for me as I was having such a great summer. Then I eventually stopped. But this November is proving to be a bit more difficult, so I think I might have to revisit that daily practice of
gratefulness.

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About the Author

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Julie Tamiko Manning is an award-winning Montreal actor and theatre creator. Selected acting credits include: Sin/ Zephon in Paradise Lost (Centaur Theatre), Marion in Team on the Hill (Blyth Festival Theatre), Annie in Jean Dit (Théâtre D'Aujourd'hui), Elena in Butcher (Centaur), Isabella Bird in Top Girls (Segal), Emilia in Othello (Scapegoat Carnivale/Segal), and Nancy in Oliver! (National Arts Centre). Mixie and the Halfbreeds, a play about mixed identity in multiple universes, is her first play, written with Adrienne Wong. It is on the list 49 Plays by Women of Colour. http://the49list.com/. Her second play, The Tashme Project: The Living Archives, (created and performed with Matt Miwa) is a verbatim one-act about the Japanese Canadian experience around the WW2 internment camps, told through the childhood memories of their elders. It has recently completed a tour to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa and was published with Playwrights Canada Press this year. Julie is currently working on her third play, Mizushōbai: The Water Trade, (commissioned by Tableau D’Hôte Theatre) about Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto, a Japanese picture bride turned ‘underground’ business woman in 1930’s British Columbia. She is proud to be a mentor with Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program and Imago Theatre’s ARTISTA, a mentorship program for emerging female theatre artists.