Walter Bourdain’s solo play returns to Halifax stage 48 years after it was staged Pipa News

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Walter Bourdain’s solo play returns to the Halifax stage 48 years after it was staged

Like the life of actor and playwright, Walter Bourdain’s One-Man Play The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time A work in progress – constantly evolving with our experiences.

The play returns to Halifax to kick off the Neptune Theatre’s 60th season. It runs until September 25.

Bourdain said he started writing plays 48 years ago.

Although the play is essentially an autobiographical account of the life of a gay black man, Bourdain plays 10 different characters.

Bourdain told CBC Radio that the characters he’s interacted with over the years have helped shape him. Halifax Information Morning Host Portia Clark.

This is an abridged version of their conversation that has been edited for clarity and length.

Information Morning – N.S.6:37Walter Bourdain’s solo play The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time returns to the Halifax stage

Walter Bourdain plays all 10 characters in the play he began writing in 1974. Like his own life, the drama has changed over the decades based on his life experiences. He spoke to host Portia Clark about the latest iteration.

It took a long time to create this piece. Let us know how the drama progresses with this person becoming 10 different characters.

This is how the drama has developed over the years. I started writing it on August 4, 1974, on Windsor Street. And so it took 48 years to bring him home. There have been many versions of it, and I’ve played it in many places in between, from Holland to Vancouver. But each of those iterations was only meant to include life that had evolved since the last time I did. It was never something that could be accomplished until I found myself with what I was going to write. That’s why it took so long.

You’re the narrator, a black man speaks, and then you introduce these characters that have been part of your own life’s evolution or journey, that’s how it is.

Absolutely. Always the people I have interacted with over the years and how their special message has influenced me have shaped me. And so really I’m just using what I learned from my mother when I was growing up. Every Friday night, she and her closest friends would gather in our living room and watch everything that was going on in their lives during the week. I was sitting in the dining room watching them in the living room, and I was mesmerized by how my mother could tell a story, and as she told it, she became the people she was talking about. Has been.

I was never able to perfect it as much as she naturally did, but she became my first acting teacher.

You say it won’t be an easy journey for the public. How? ‘Or’ What?

I don’t do anything in the theater unnecessarily. That’s not the problem. What you hear them say – the characters – how they were. It’s part of who they were, and so it doesn’t turn out as expected. You’re just looking at these people through the eyes of a black person, and I think there’s kind of a safety net there, because if you meet some of these people face to face, they’ll be too for you . ,

He belongs to these people, so there is a safety net between you and the actual person he is interacting with at the time.

There aren’t many plays in Canada that focus on the life experiences of a gay black man. How do you feel about doing that and having some of those experiences?

The thing is, there was never a focus on gay black men for me. He’s a man who happens to be black and gay. And so, I never wanted people to engage with that track while they listened to him talk and talk. In other words, to put it mildly, the role of the black gay man is incidental to the story.

But your life experience is clearly heavily influenced by that and how the characters react to your identity.

The characters do not necessarily react to my identity.

The message they need to convey applies to anyone who finds themselves in situations like this gay black man, who is going to experience emotionally specific things that will be more easily identifiable for some than for others. But what’s going on behind him, what he’s feeling, that’s what you can feel from what’s happening to him.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to stories of success within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project that Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(Radio Canada)

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