THE BUTTERFLY BODY written and performed by Catherine Bruce, Marjorie Chan, Camille James, Diana Kolpak, Keira Loughran, Shannon Reynolds and Nicole Stamp, directed by Kelly Thornton and Ruth Madoc-Jones. Wednesday (May 22) at 8:30 pm.
Forget the textbook model of the Canadian mosaic, that multicultural blend said to define Canadian society. The seven women -- an ethnically diverse mix of Asians, blacks and Caucasians -- creating The Butterfly Body define themselves as a tribe. It's a new sort of tribe, says member Keira Loughran, in a show that includes its own actual family portrait based on the voices the women created.
"It's strange at first," laughs Loughran, "to see a Victorianesque matriarch, a strong black patriarch -- played by a woman -- and the rest of the family in the formal portrait.
"I'm the eldest brother, a quiet Chinese man who deals with lots of responsibilities, among them taking care of his siblings and being respectful of his parents."
During the past few years Loughran's demonstrated her skill as a performer, including her ability to mine comedy and serious material equally well. Her most recent show was She Never Bought Me An Easy-Bake Oven, while earlier credits include Sheroes and Christian Values. Loughran's first full-length script, Little Dragon, premieres in SummerWorks.
"The Butterfly Body grew from a series of conversations among women about body image. The title came from the concept of the butterfly as an ideal body shape, but the image and the show now incorporate ideas of transformation, evolution and migration."
When the collective of women brought director Kelly Thornton their material, she had them dig deeper into the texts, refusing to settle for a pastiche of thoughts.
"The piece no longer looks at body image in a conventional sense but, rather, focuses on the inner landscape of the body: where do we come from, what have we inherited from our ancestors, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and what does that mean for us now that we're here.
"We've relied on instinct and impulse during the creative process. What's heartening is that the result emerges as a Canadian thing."JK