By KAREN WELLS
BOYD’S COVE — A celebration of dancing, singing, drumming, feasting and teaching was highlighted by a performance of an excerpt of the New World Theatre Project(NWTP)The Tempest.
Voices on the Wind, held Sept. 16, was the second annual celebration of the ongoing connection with the Beothuk people hosted by the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site.
The 2012 production of the NWTP marked the 400th anniversary of John Guy’s party making peaceful contact with the Beothuk. The Tempest was the basis for this adaptation that included this historical event. Newfoundland served as the New World that the Europeans in Shakespeare’s play encountered.
The performance of The Tempest at the Boyd’s Cove site was in a sense coming full circle for the NWTP.
“We began this whole process going on a journey that we called the Circle of Understanding. It was a research, development and a learning tour,” said Jeannette Lambermont-Morey, the interim artistic director of the NWTP and director of The Tempest. “We went to a few places around Newfoundland and spoke to various people.
“One of our most significant stops was here at the Interpretation Centre. We had a feast here with some wonderful members of the community. We shared our ideas, presented what we were thinking we might like to do to get feedback on and we got wonderful support. It really launched us, so to be able to end the journey here is great.”
Cathy Elliott plays Ariel, Prospero’s (played by Greg Malone) spirit helper and is also the Aboriginal consultant and creative collaborator for the production. Performing at Boyd’s Cove was an emotional experience for her.
“Today feels like a goodbye and hello at the same time. The circle doesn’t end, it just keeps spinning.”
Ms. Elliott added that the emotion tied to the Sept. 16 performance also had to do with the connection that Boyd’s Cove represents with the Beothuk People.
“From the beginning we wanted to honour the Beothuk and the people who were here before us,” said Ms. Elliott. “We wanted to honour our ancestors, the grandmothers and grandfathers that were here before us.
“I know in some theatre people are afraid to have ceremony in theatre, but for us — and we asked permission and we got it — we wanted this to be ceremonial. We want this play to have a lesson, a big, big life lesson for everyone and it was a huge lesson for us to.”
As Ms. Elliott had explained in a prior interview with The Pilot, the lesson Prospero needs to learn and the reason there is a play is he needs to learn that revenge isn’t everything. He has to understand that there is forgiveness to be had.
Mr. Malone enjoyed the opportunity to perform in the outdoor space at Boyd’s Cove. He made note of the calling of a loon at one point in the performance, with impeccable timing.
Ms. Elliott said, “The loon and calling up the wind, it’s just the way nature cooperated with is. It was like a big nod.”
Mr. Malone added, “To have those Native spirits there was so powerful.
“The Indian spirits put a whole new dimension to the play and made it lift up and gave it depth.”
He also commented on the response of the audience.
“The crowd was so great — so peaceful. It was one of our nicer performances.”