Image: Andrew Alexander. Provided by The Ghomeshi Effect.
Sexual Assault Survivors, Lawyers, and Activists Speak Out Through The Ghomeshi Effect
WHEN: Friday, February 27 @ 7:30 pm & Saturday, February 28 @ 2:30 pm / 7:30 pm
WHERE: The Gladstone Theatre, 910 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa
TICKETS: $17.47/$28.09/$31.63 Purchase Here
So many of us felt impacted when the news broke about CBC Q host Jian Ghomeshi. It brought up a lot of mixed emotions for me. When I heard and read the descriptions of his behaviour, they were all too familiar. As the trial started then proceeded many of us felt raw as we witnessed how the proceedings went down. Social media became the public commons where we could work out what was happening and perhaps contribute to some kind of change in policy. The conversation continues with productions like The Ghomeshi Effect.
Words from the Team:
The Ghomeshi Effect’s script uses transcriptions of interviews Jessica Ruano (Director) conducted with local Ottawa residents about their lived experiences in dealing with sexual violence and the justice system. The interviews range from confessional first-person accounts to expert analyses of how the law is constructed to handle these cases.
“Through this process we found that many people have become disillusioned by the court system and do not always see it as the best means for seeking justice,” says Ruano. “In this play we explore why this is and discuss potential alternatives.”
Bringing these stories to life is a broad group of multidisciplinary and bilingual performers: Leah Archambault, Marc-André Charette, Gabrielle Lalonde, Annie Lefebvre, Emmanuel Simon, and Mekdes Teshome. Setting the scene are lighting designer Benoît Brunet-Poirier, sound designer Martin Dawagne, and Métis mixed-media artist Mique Michelle, who will be creating a graffiti-inspired floor design for the stage.
“Ever since we began this project we have known that this conversation was bigger than us,” says Griffin. “Whenever we talk to people about the play, there’s always someone who has a story to share or an opinion to contribute. This performance is about our community and we made a point of including a diverse group of individuals and stories in the script, and opening up the conversation to our audiences.”
Important supplemental programming
Along with the play, there has been auxiliary programming to provide more opportunities for reflection and dialogue. The opening night included a keynote address by Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, the young girl who took her life in 2013 after she was sexually assaulted and then bullied online. Glen has become an activist against rape culture and how it most often re-victimizes survivors as they move through the ‘justice’ system. He speaks about “youth, consent and the way mixed messages about definitions of rape affected Rehtaeh’s case.”
“Beginning these conversations with our kids when they are teenagers is essential,” says Canning, “because in so many cases we are willing to believe anything about women in order to excuse anything about a man.”
This night was also in partnership with MANifest Change “a program to engage men in the prevention of violence run by the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women(OCTEVAW).“
Last Saturday, a fundraiser was held with local pop-band The PepTides.
“It has always been part of our mandate as a band and members of the community to promote equality and human rights. The stories in the script hit close to home and there was no doubt that we wanted to be part of this important conversation,” says band member Scottie Irving.
This is the final weekend for The Ghomeshi Effect at The Gladstone Theatre but there will be one final performance at The Shenkman Centre on Thursday, February 2.