BY RICK DUTHIE

May 5th: 11 AM BackSpace (Artist Talkback)

Sudbury Strike Stories is a site-specific historical play that focusses on the postwar incidences of strikes in Sudbury, Ontario. It is early in its development and is currently told episodically, as a transgenerational memory play, through multiple points of view. Put simply, the story is told through exchanges of memories, chronologically in time, beginning in the Great Depression and ending in 2018. We are enlisted in this journey back in time with the help of a young girl. Laurie vividly remembers the 1958 strike. She eavesdrops, listening in on the heated exchanges occurring at her kitchen table, while she should really be in bed. Her memories invoke the stories of her family and friends as we move forward in time. Often conflicting experiences striking, working and living in Sudbury interrupt and disturb her version of these events. She tries to sort it all out, a tangled mess of memories that change and shift as she grows older. She blinks and finds herself accompanying her husband on that picket line in the late 70s. Her father is long gone, and all the old timers are retired. What remains consistent is this kitchen table, a pivotal location for these exchanges. When later we see these events staged, what does it all mean? What does she hold on to?  What can she let go?

Rick is an actor and playwright who is currently a third-year PhD candidate studying public history at Carleton University. He is thrilled once again to be part of “PlaySmelter” with ‘Pat the Dog Theatre Creation.

He had the good fortune to train with Calgary based performance company One Yellow Rabbit as part of its Summer Lab intensive in 2004. His first foray into authentic storytelling occurred at the lab’s conclusion where he performed a solo adaptation based on Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince. He has worked to generate original stories on multiple occasions. With Calgary’s Ghost River Theatre, he participated in two workshops developing Something to Do With Death (2008). As a creator/performer, for that project, he helped to devise a theatrical presentation that unearthed and staged a mythic story using Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western aesthetic.

He is always writing creatively with a mind for addressing social issues. Most recently, he co-wrote #thewatertower (2016), a play commissioned by the Sudbury Theatre Centre for young audiences that addressed the growing dilemma of cyberbullying. Rick is also interested in using theatre as a means of exploring the past. To that end, he wrote What Struck in 58,’ a staged reading about a devastating strike for “PlaySmelter,” and presented by ‘Pat The Dog’ in 2013. He continues to research and write with a mind towards staging the past. A major component of his PhD project titled: Sudbury Strike Stories, will be a play that will soon be produced for a local audience.

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