This week, Alone Together is written by the incredible multidisciplinary artist Jani Lauzon. We are fortunate to have worked with Jani for a number of years on the development and creation of Prophecy Fog. This meditative, solo show (co-produced by The Theatre Centre and Paper Canoe Projects in association with Nightswimming) began with Jani’s voyage into the Mojave Desert in search of Giant Rock, armed with the question: can a site still be sacred if it has been desecrated? The piece was nominated for three Dora Awards and we were thrilled to see Melissa Joakim win for Outstanding Scenic Design.
We are honoured Jani has shared the impact COVID has had on her, and her work, and hope you enjoy her writing (and her beadwork) as much as we did. Miigwech Jani.
“When I am beading I am focused and deep in thought. I am contemplating the future, I am in prayer, and quieting my mind. And that, as it turns out, was exactly what I needed to be doing during this time.”
When COVID hit, my play I Call myself Princess was heading into its final week at The Globe Theatre to a nearly sold-out audience. I had just returned from the pushOFF festival in Vancouver and I was on my way to the Stratford Festival for the season late opener. I was finally enjoying the momentum I had worked hard to achieve after being a single parent for many years. And then it all stopped.
I am, by my own admission, a workaholic. My work is my lover. I respect it, feed it, treat it with care and it feeds me, energizes me, and fills me with joy. Without it, I dove deep into periods of intense loneliness. I threw myself into digitizing my VHS tapes, then my HI8 tapes. I started working on new demo reels (acting, puppeteering, voice). All good, but not deeply satisfying.
So I returned to beading. I made my first bracelet when I was in high school. It’s falling apart now but I was so proud that I was able to teach myself how to use a loom. Over the years I fell in and out of my relationship with beadwork, depending on how much time I had. My pride and joy is the moose hide coat I made, including the beadwork and the hand-sewn lacing. (I was trying to wean myself off of drug use but that’s another story.)
For years I had always wanted a pair of Frye boots but couldn’t afford them. So when I found a pair at the Salvation Army for $5, I didn’t care that they weren’t exactly the same; I had a plan. A plan I was too busy to execute. With time on my hands, I pulled them out of the back of my closet, dusted them off, stripped them, re-stained them and got to work on some appliqué beadwork. Happy to say they are almost finished.
Beadwork is an important part of Indigenous culture and economic resilience. The images used in designs tell stories and help document history. When I am beading I am focused and deep in thought. I am contemplating the future; I am in prayer, and quieting my mind. And that, as it turns out, was exactly what I needed to be doing during this time. I needed to keep my hands busy so that my mind could be in quiet reflection. Although the majority of my work has disappeared, I am deep in thought about how to bring my play Prophecy Fog to national and international audiences. I am contemplating how I will be finding a place in the world for my work while watching my beautiful daughter and her partner Charlie grow in their lives and relationship. I am looking forward to returning to the National Theatre School to enter the next phase of development on the devised work I started with the 1st year (now 2nd year) students. And I am deep in dream world conjuring up a positive future full of exquisite artistic expressions for us all.
— Jani Lauzon
Jani is a writer, performer, creator and mom to upcoming Indigenous artist Tara Sky.
Visit Paper Canoe Projects for more of Jani’s work.
Thank you for celebrating GivingTuesdayNow with us!
Your thoughtful words are helping all of us find a little more comfort and connection. Thank you for giving the gift of stories back to the community!
We loved hearing from you; and it’s inspired us to keep the conversation going. No matter how big or small, we want to know what’s putting a smile on your face! If you’d like to be featured on our weekly Alone Together series, send us a submission (500 words max.) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alone Together is a series of shared stories by The Theatre Centre. Over the next several weeks, our team is going to offer you some of our own personal joys, those things that nudge us, the arms that extend to us in the dark, those things that catch our hearts off guard. And we’d love to hear from you in return… what’s blowing your heart open these days?
Catch up on previous editions of Alone Together:
• Artistic Director Aislinn Rose on Teju Cole’s interview with On Being
• Producer Alexis Eastman on her love of swimming
• Marketing Coordinator Tamara Jones on her relationship with words
• Marketing and Communications Manager Kyle Purcell’s Irish Soda Bread
• Creative Producer Rachel Penny on her green energy exchange
• Café/Bar Curator and Manager Liza Paul’s bougie berry bevvie
• Business & Development Director Mimi Mok on moments of metropolitan connection
• Technical Director Tim Lindsay on learning to sit with silence
• Andrea Healy on the joy found in crowds at a parade