Return Home is a performance exploring the story of two women as they struggle with issues of identity while living in disconnection from their homeland.
Return Home travels the unchartered territory where two women, indigenous to two very different places, Palestine and North America, converge in their personal struggles of love, selfhood, land and history. Using a variety of crafted mediums such as movement, video and sound design, we watch as they discover what each can teach the other.
The two central characters are an Indigenous Anishinaabe woman from Quebec living under the legacy of colonization, and an Indigenous Palestinian woman born in exile. They are played by Emilie Monnet and Dima Alansari.
Joining the women is Raven, an Indigenous Mixteco from Mexico. He brings magic and transformation and is played by dancer and choreographer Carlos Rivera. Serving as a mirror, it is Raven who transports the women to and from the realms of the imaginary and the real, giving rise to their awakening.
Through lots of research, whole-hearted and profound acts, and a little magic, we are able to take the audience back in time to places in history, imagined and real, and discover mysterious and hidden truths.
Click image to watch Carlos.
Because these stories are extraordinary, we feel a duty to present them in an extraordinary way that honors their significance in the universal tale of our shared human history. We are committed to engaging as many people as possible.
As such we are proud and excited to have been accepted to two of the best theatre festivals in Canada.
The Return Home Collective is raising $30,000 in order to present Return Home at SummerWorks Theatre Festival in Toronto and IMPACT 15 in Kitchener Ontario.
We need your help! We only have one month to go as the final creation period and rehearsals start on June 22nd!
To bring together these exceptional artists from all over North America, we've received initial funding from The Canada Council for the Arts. There are many more production costs to take care of and very little time to do it!
Your contribution will go into renting studio/rehearsal space, designing sets and lighting designs, designing costumes, creating, recording all the sounds and video visuals as well as marketing and outreach. We can't do this without your generous support and contribution!
Click on the image below to watch Emilie Monnet.
We are grateful for anything you can give.
If you can't give money but feel you could be helpful in another way please contact us and
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Thank You <3
Dima is one of 7 million Palestinian refugees, who according to the state of Israel, do not and will never have what is called “The Right of Return.” She has lived all her life being asked by family, community, and country of passport, Kuwait, to assimilate into another’s land, to take on a new culture and make it her own.
Within her story, she has found parallels to the struggle Indigenous people face on Turtle Island. In Canada, she was introduced to the concept of Settler. Before her arrival on Turtle Island, she only understood herself as an immigrant.
Return Home is an exploration on how settler, immigrant, refugee, diaspora, dislocation and exile interconnect. We curious about how concepts of the physical land and homeland affect our feelings of identity and belonging. Why did she have to come to the heart of the urban Indigenous community ‐ in the inner city of Vancouver ‐ to connect with the struggle of her own people in Palestine, whom she has been disconnected from because of the lack of a right of return policy. How has her Palestinian‐ness come into question and how does that parallel with on‐reserve and off‐reserve Indian‐ness (Status Indian). We explore the striking similarities between First Nations reservations and Palestinian refugee camps.
All three performers have a background in movement and dance. Through a combination of modern and traditional sacred dance, we will explore: (1) Shapeshifting ‐ The Raven played by Carlos Rivera is a master of disguise, using flow, shape, and weight to bring to the stage characters in each of the women’s lives. Through movement, he will become a mirror projecting figures in their psyche, challenging them to face their opponents. At other times, the two women will call on the Raven to change, forcing him to confront his own motivations and desires for choosing certain forms. (2) Seduction in Movement ‐ We will explore the hidden power of the female as communicated through sacred/exotic feminine Arabic dance. Through the sensual and mystical rhythms unique to Middle Eastern culture, Dima Alansari’s character expresses central themes of this play. (3) Re‐Enactment of Ritual and Ceremony ‐ Sacred ceremonies will be performed as a way of calling forth emotions connected to the feeling of home. We will incorporate rituals practiced in the Anishnaabe & Coast Salish nations and possibly other Indigenous cultures in order to create a sacred space that will transport the characters and audiences on this journey of self‐discovery.
Sound designers Jeremy Therrien and Sunil Mewani will create a soundscape for the play, which will serve two critical functions: 1) to express the emotional and psychological landscape of each character and (2) as a portal to each character’s homeland.
The use of sacred instruments including native drums, flutes, rattles and whistles, and Palestinian instruments such as Rababa, Oud, Nai, Kawala and Kanoon will be used to call forth the history from which each character has been forcibly disconnected. At points in the performance, the fusion of these two forms of ethnic expression will also be used to create a connection between the two parallel cultures. Through sound and live music, Return Home will take the audience in and out of the borders of time and space and into the subtle and evolving worlds of the performers.
VISUAL SET & LIGHT DESIGN
Visual projections will be used to communicate the memories, internal emotions, and motivations of the characters. Through the use of sacred objects, bodies in space (movement), visual projections, and sound, we will create both physical borders and internal spaces. There is no need for a fixed set design. A very basic lighting design will be used to support the visual projections. The idea is to capture that feeling/essence of home and bring it to the stage.