Comment on History History History

by Lynn on January 23, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Theatre Centre, Toronto, Ont.

Part of Progress, the International Festival of Performance and Ideas

Created and performed by Deborah Pearson

Creator/performer Deborah Pearson considers her piece, History History History a work in progress, so rather than a review, observations of the journey would be more appropriate. This is a history of a country (Hungary) at a certain point in its history; a history of a satiric film; a history of a football team (not football as we know it) and a history of her family, her grandfather in particular. By extension she is finding her own history as well.

She uses an old film from Hungary to illuminate her comments interspersed with a recorded interview she did with her grandmother. She finds out about what it was like for her grandmother and grandfather to come to Canada; how he coped; how he went back to Hungary and how it affected the relationship. For much of the presentation Pearson reads about the facts and background of the film she shows and how it came about and other historical aspects of that time. I found this section dry and a bit confusing with all the names of the people involved. The piece comes alive with the interview with her grandmother. There is subtle nuance in her grandmother’s recollections of her history and relationship with her husband. Pearson stops the interview at a point when her grandmother would have made a negative comment about her grandfather. Pearson says that she promised her grandmother she would not include anything she said that would reflect negatively on him. That comment as well subtly illuminated that history.

Deborah Pearson is an inventive theatre artist. I would like to see History History History again as she goes further on her journey.

Curated and presented by SummerWorks and Volcano Theatre.

Plays to January 23, 2016.

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