Actors Martika McLean, left, and Qwulipulwut Loha embrace during rehearsal on Oct. 26 of ‘This is How We Got Here,’ the opener for Western Edge Theatre’s 2022-23 season. (Submitted photo)

Actors Martika McLean, left, and Qwulipulwut Loha embrace during rehearsal on Oct. 26 of ‘This is How We Got Here,’ the opener for Western Edge Theatre’s 2022-23 season. (Submitted photo)

Grieving family gets unexpected gift in Western Edge Theatre’s ‘emotional’ season opener

‘This is How We Got Here’ will play at the OV Arts Centre Nov. 11-12, 17-20

Western Edge Theatre will start its 2022-23 season with an award-winning play that follows a family as they deal with grief, trauma and the importance of being close to loved ones.

This is How We Got Here, written by Algonquin Métis playwright Keith Barker, was nominated for the Governor General’s Literacy Award in 2018 and it has since also won both the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play in the independent theatre division and the Carol Bolt Award.

“It’s a very emotional piece…”said Western Edge Theatre co-artistic director Daniel Puglas. “It’s a very heartwarming story … that really makes you think about the loved ones in your life.”

Paul, played by Damon Mitchell, Lucille, played by Qwulipulwut Loha, Liset, played by Martika McLean, and Jim, played by Jonathan Greenway, are a close-knit group of friends and family struggling to deal with the grief of losing a loved one to suicide – until a mysterious fox shows up with a gift.

“I feel like it’s a really beautiful piece that shows, by the end of it, a family coming together to deal with their trauma,” said Puglas. “And this [play] might help encourage a lot of communities on the Island to start seeking help … I know people can sometimes isolate themselves … when you lose a close loved one.”

According to a release by Western Edge Theatre, $1 from every ticket sold for This is How We Got Here goes toward the Vancouver Island Crisis Society.

This is How We Got Here will show at the OV Arts Centre, 25 Victoria Rd., on Nov. 11-12, and continue Nov. 17-20. Ticket and showtime information can be found at www.westernedge.org.

In February, the theatre production company will stage The Scottish Curse, written by local playwright Sean Enns and directed by Tamara McCarthy. The Scottish Curse, described as contemporary folk-horror that meets Shakespearean tragedy, will tell the tale of “a writer at the end of his rope who will do anything for a final shot at fame” which may include supernatural intervention.

The season will continue in March with I and You, written by Lauren Gunderson, in which a housebound girl is asked to help a classmate with an English assignment. The Western Edge Theatre release described the play as “a dazzling and comedic ode to youth, life and love.”

It will be directed by co-artistic director, Brianna Hamilton, who said she and Puglas put the season together while keeping contemporary pieces with diverse casts in mind.

“We both like stories that are a little bit unique, maybe a little bit outside what traditional theatre in Nanaimo has looked like … and we’re always looking to engage different audiences as well,” Hamilton said.

READ MORE: Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team


mandy.moraes@nanaimobulletin.com

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