“Oh my God! You’re from Canada?! Tell me, is it cold living in an Igloo? Is it hard work being a lumberjack? How much does a decent pair of snowshoes go for?”
These are some familiar questions Canadians hear whenever they go traveling abroad, and it is these stereotypes that inspired Scott MacLeod, a former Concordia fine arts student, to create his multi-media production, “A Brief Canadian History.”
The fact that most Canadians don’t know very much about their heritage or past, pushed MacLeod to create something to de-mystify the stereotypes that people have about Canadians.
The production is a mix of many speaking performances by Mike Burns, a traditional Irish storyteller, and Bevan Skerratt, a native cultural worker, as well as poetry readings and art projections. All in all, the interwoven history of Canada is displayed in a very 20th century way.
MacLeod also created an original score to illustrate how he interprets the cultural diversity in Canadian culture. “For instance, ‘Sailing 1847,’ which is about the Irish Famine, is a Celtic piece, and ‘Louis Riel’ is a folk-rock style which is supposed to evoke the feeling of the Prairie,” said MacLeod.
The audience might recognize some familiar passages in the exhibit’s poetry projections. “We have taken selections from various poets. For instance, we have used a passage from ‘Beautiful Losers’ by Leonard Cohen for our song Kateri and John McCrae’s ‘In Flanders Fields,’ just to name a few.”
Viewers will be pleasantly surprised to see the history of First Nations people incorporated into the piece.
“I think Canadians really undervalue the cultural importance and don’t understand the diversity of First Nations. Truly there is so much we can learn about their traditions and medicines. So I have tried to provide a forum for First Nations to speak for themselves about their issues.”
MacLeod gets his ideas from many different sources. “I try to be conscious of the theme and have it reflected in the instrumentation and writing style. Most often my sources are from books and personal experiences.”
He also drew inspiration from the CBC documentary series, “Canada: A People’s History,” as well as from the ever popular Heritage Minutes.
Now, you might wonder how Canadian the father of “A Brief Canadian History” is? Well, he was born in Red Deer, Alberta and raised in Quebec. His parents put him into the French School system before it was even considered fashionable. His father is from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and his mother is from Lethbridge, Alberta. Through and through, MacLeod is a true Canuck.
“A Brief Canadian History” is playing at The Hudson Village Theatre, 2760 Cote-Saint-Charles, Feb. 13 and 15 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18; for further information or to purchase tickets call the Box Office at (450) 458-5361.