James Forsythe’s production Soldier Up premiered on Remembrance Day in 2008. The script was inspired by his conversations with Canadian soldiers. During his sabbatical leave from BU in 2011, while teaching at Concordia University in Montreal, Forsythe repeated the interview procedure with Afghan Canadians. After compiling the valuable insight gathered during his interviews and establishing a script that was then prodded and shaped at a play development workshop by Teesri Duniya Theatre, a Montreal-based establishment specializing in minority voices and social justice issues, Safer Ground? was born.From February 28th to March 3rd, Brandon University Theatre presents Safer Ground? at the Evans Theatre on campus. The production details the stories of Canadian soldiers that served in Afghanistan, as well as Afghan refugees now calling Canada home, using verbatim accounts. Focusing on the ideologies of “why we went, what we did there and should we leave,” Safer Ground? chronicles the “stories of people who were there or were directly affected by the conflict [of war] in their own words” in addition to attempting to answer the question of “stay, or go?” Thanks to several grants, including grants from the BU Research Council, Manitoba Heritage, and the Manitoba Arts Council, the play presents a vantage point which some Canadians would never have an opportunity to see on issues about which every Canadian should know.
“Since the soldiers lived in either Shilo or Brandon when I spoke to them,” said Forsythe, “it is also a story about us, the people who are our neighbors. We as a country have sent troops and millions of dollars to Afghanistan. Whether you were in favour of that strategy or not, it is a fact.”
Safer Ground? features the acting talent of Dylan Woodcock, Andrew Lewis, Nathan Mackrith, Taylor Sukut, Alyssa Doerksen, Rhiannon Broadfoot, Krista Weir, and Brittany Phillips. Music is provided by Bryce Lovejak, and visual work is done by Brady Knight.
February 28th to March 2nd – 8:00 pm
March 3rd – 2:00 pm
Tickets are $10, and are available at the door or at Campus Books. Brandon University students receive free admission upon producing a valid student card.