“CHOOSING SILENCE TO HEAR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL”: that’s the meaning of AALAAPI | ᐋᓛᐱ in Inuktitut. This play combines documentary and radio testimonies in French, English and Inuktitut to immerse audiences in the daily lives of five young women from Nunavik who share their lives between the North and the South. These intimate portraits, depicted with speech, sound and silences, reveal the richness of their history and the power of their future.
Presented by Native Earth Performing Arts and Le Théâtre français de Toronto, in association with Luminato Festival Toronto
Aalaapi | ᐋᓛᐱ
Olivia Ikey and Nancy Saunders
- Produced by Collectif Aalaapi
- Production and touring La Messe Basse
- Original idea Laurence Dauphinais + Marie-Laurence Rancourt
- Directed by Laurence Dauphinais
Created at the Centre du théâtre d’aujourd’hui by the Aalaapi collective, Montreal, 2019
The collective is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Playwright Award
- Radio documentary directed by Magnéto - Marie-Laurence Rancourt + Daniel Capeille
- Set Design Odile Gamache
- Set Design assistance Nancy Saunders
- Lighting Design Chantal Labonté
- Music Antonin Wyss
- Sound and Video on tour Joël Lavoie
- Video Guillaume Vallée
- Translated by Brett Donahue + Nicolas Pirti-Duplessis
- Assistant Director Charlie Cohen
- Animation Camille Monette-Dubeau
- Tour Manager Charlotte Ménard
- Technical Director and Lighting Manager on tour Romane Bocquet
- Sound and video on tour Pierre-Alexandre Poirier-Guay
- Stage Manager Charlotte Ménard
- NEPA commissioned artwork Chief Lady Bird
Artistic Director’s Note
On behalf of Native Earth Performing Arts and our co-presenters (TfT and Luminato Festival Toronto), we are thrilled to welcome you to Aalaapi.
We are proud to present this beautifully moving work together, and hope that you enjoy the gift of stillness, of silence—of witnessing life in the North.
We see this invitation to listen, be silent, as a means to witness these stories. Stories are how we connect with each other, and our communities. As these women share moments in their lives with you, dive deeper and become immersed in the experience, and remain open. Be Patient. Be Curious. Consider the voices, and stories, that have been silenced. And find the resilience, and reclamation, in the voices that remain. Enjoy this capture of the North; it’s past, and present, through these voices.
We are grateful to have you join us on this journey, and we thank all the artists involved.
Interim Artistic Director
Native Earth Performing Arts
It all began by the idea of combining radio and theatre to speak about the north. But how?
This project required we be wrapped in ethical, political and sensitive reflections. The subject for reflection concerned, among other things: the collective work between indigenous and non-indigenous, the possible alliances and conciliations, the relative importance of speech within cultures, the use of aesthetics and processes that respect the individuals present.
From then on, the process became the project. Aalaapi | ᐋᓛᐱ always had listening at its core, a specificity which lead us to revisit our way of doing both radio and theatre. How do we not reproduce historical relations of domination, but actualize new relationships? how does one de-center from one’s own aesthetic references? How do we create a truly collective work?
Director Laurence Dauphinais, and actors Hannah Tooktoo and Niap Saunders, ardently searched to establish a process of creation rooted in the patient use of time, openness toward sharing, nuance, and uncertainty. Together they explored a larger and more complicated reality than what is continually being shown.
During an exchange, Hannah Tooktoo pointed out “the great need of nordic communities at the moment is to preserve, within their territory, the traditional forms of expression that have been largely weakened, which has greatly affected their sense of identity”. She added that “healing and the desire for sharing, has to come from within communities, and by offering a different representation of the north from the one constantly proposed by the media, Aalaapi | ᐋᓛᐱ is a useful tool”.
Radio is the medium of choice for Nordic communities and is a true social link. Radio is often thought of as a medium that broadcasts speech and information, but it’s really an art of listening. We invite the spectator of Aalaapi | ᐋᓛᐱ to adopt a rare quality of listening. This endeavour is the first step towards a real encounter, which is eagerly desired from both sides. This is what the show proposes.
Olivia Ikey Duncan
Olivia Ikey Duncan is a mixed Inuk from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. She is an advocate for her people, an artist who combines traditional and contemporary elements of Inuit culture, and a mother of Inuk and French Canadian children. Olivia works mainly in the fields of reconciliation, education and Inuit self-determination in the 21st century. Her practice focuses on decolonization, identity, language, and forging new relationships to support reconciliation in Quebec and Canada. As a writer, she has worked with Niap, and her poetry anthology, Nuna Poems, won the Inuit writing category at Éditions Hannenorak.
Nancy Saunders is a multidisciplinary artist from Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. Her studies at Concordia University have allowed her to explore different mediums including drawing, painting and sculpture. Her work fuses traditional Inuit art with modernity, addressing themes associated with this ancestral heritage with artistic strategies specific to contemporary art. Her aim is to ensure the continuity of Inuit art as well as its renewal. Nancy Saunders’ work was exhibited at the McClure Gallery at the Visual Arts Centre of Montreal in 2015. More recently, the artist was selected to create a work for the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Canada Goose Arctic Gallery as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary. She recently exhibited an installation at the Oboro Centre.
Original Idea and Direction
Laurence is a feminist creator who is interested in the notion of hybridity between forms and who claims the right not to be an expert in anything. She likes to think of innovative ways to stage content that is strongly rooted in reality and to create engaging experiences for an ever changing audience.
Some of her noteworthy creative work include: the collective creation ishow which she co-directed and her stage adaptation of the sound documentary Aalaapi, a production that won the CTDA playwrighting award and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Awards. She also co-created and Si jamais vous nous écoutez and Siri, directed the generative music show Lumens Game by video phase as well as her show Cyclorama, a bilingual documentary pilgrimage that she also wrote and performed in. Laurence is often invited to conferences that question the use A.I. and science in the creation of new artistic works.
Sound and video
Pierre-Alexandre’s usual playground is musical creation: popular song, alternative music, conceptual music, producing albums, writing orchestral arrangements. Off-stage and out of the spotlight, he approaches technical work with the same enthusiasm as pure creative work, putting himself above all at the service of the work, and above all, of ART.
Technical Director and Lighting Manager
Romane graduated in 2021 in Production, management and stage technique from the St-Hyacinthe Theatre School. She is interested in everything that is related to the performing and visual arts. She is pursuing her dream of a long career in the cultural milieu in technical management.
Since graduating, she has had the opportunity to work as a technical director on several cultural projects such as Violence by Marie Brassard, as well as a new creation by the Théâtre de la LNI and other projects in circus, dance, musical comedy and youth theatre, all of which are equally stimulating, and which have taken her to America and Europe.
Touring Director and Stage Manager
Graduated from the Production Program of the National Theatre School in 2017, Charlotte works mainly as a Stage Manager, Production Manager and Tour Manager. In the past 15 years, Charlotte has been working free-lance essentially in theatre, but also on opera, circus and contemporary dance productions. She has collaborated on a regular basis with Les productions Hôtel-Motel and l’Opéra de Montréal and has toured nationally and internationally with Ex Machina.