By Mandy Maclean
Far away a voice is calling, Bells from memory do chime
Come home again, come home again,
They call through the oceans of time.
Bryn Terfel, "We'll Keep a Welcome"
Hiraeth is a Welsh term that refers to a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, or which maybe never was: the nostalgia and the grief for lost places of your past. There is no English translation.
hiraeth is an intimate solo performance created and performed by Mandy E. MacLean, and draws inspiration from her childhood diaries and military upbringing. It inverts the trope “theatre as therapy” to “therapy as theatre” to act as an armature for storytelling. Audiences take on a participatory role, by being seated as members of a unnamed Group. On this particular day, it is The Woman’s turn to speak. She tells us of her recent Christmas, where she cleaned out her mother’s basement. In doing so, she meets her younger self and we are taken back to 1999: where the “Y2K”, her Father, Dung Beetles, McCain's Cake, and the fear of the end of the world are real. As The Woman tries to present her recent discoveries she is derailed by this precocious younger person and one large marine creature. The story moves between the past and present through a series of audio recordings and The Woman’s direct confession. Through these encounters, she reconciles with her self-imposed identity as “the outsider”. The audience watches her confront her imagined past, her feelings of ‘hiraeth’, her Military upbringing, and is witness as she attempts to step into an unknown (but healthier) present.
hiraeth is supported by Tangled Arts + Disability and the OAC.
Mandy E. Maclean
Creator and Performer
Mandy E. MacLean is a theatre artist from a Military family. Her recent acting work includes: Ending Silence (YPU, Tarragon Theatre), Trafalgar 24 (Driftwood Theatre), Meloncholiac: The Music of Scott Walker (Summerworks), hiraeth (with Varrick Grimes). Her directing work includes: Honesty by Jordan Tanahill for the Honest Ed’s Closing Party, Project Assistant to Ted Witzel on Yukonstyle (Canadian Stage), Assistant Director to Diana Belshaw on The Park, and Assistant Director to Varrick Grimes on Till Eulgespiegel. Recent training: Suzuki and Viewpoints/ Composition and Speaking (SITI Company of New York), Suzuki (Kameron Steel of SCOT). She holds degrees from Humber Theatre (‘12) and the University of NB (‘09). She has over ten years experience working with children. She learns the most from the two year old that she has taught the pleasure of Chocolate Timbits.
Varrick Grimes is from Lewisporte in Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland. He began his vocation as Associate Director at Theatre Newfoundland Labrador establishing the Gros Morne Theatre Festival. He has directed community engaged works for: Jumblies Theatre (Toronto), Runaway Moon theatre (B.C.) including collaborations with the Splats' in First Nation (BC) and with D'we Maringo (Kenya); Claque Theatre (UK), Vancouver moving theatre and Pak’sieu B’y (Stratford). Devised and directing projects with Runaway Moon, Carpetbag Brigade (USA), FIXT point (Toronto), Bare Boards (NL) and TNL (NL). He was a founding ensemble member of Number Eleven Theatre. Recent collaborations include performing in a trilingual production with Kitchener-Waterloo Arab Canadian Theatre - My Name is Dahkel Faraj and developing a new performance with the multi-able performance ensemble Listen to Dis in Regina. He is an alumni of the Michael Langham director's workshop and holds a BFA from Grenfell College. He is a sessional instructor at Humber College in Toronto teaching physical and devised theatre performance. He makes his home in Stratford where on the urging of his children, Rosy and Emile, he appears with his wife Keira in bi-weekly family wrestling matches. He currently stands undefeated.
Dramaturg and Script Coordinator
Leah Holder is a Toronto based actor, director, dramaturg, and educator. As a director/ dramaturg she predominantly works in the creation of new work, and also has a wealth of experience in site-specific and found space pieces. Leah has directed pieces for Theatre By the Bay (We Must Have More Men), Single Thread Theatre Company (Turkey Shoot, Ambrose), amongst others. Leah works as an actor, director, dramaturg, script coordinator (Tarragon Theatre), workshop leader, and coach. As an actor she has been featured in work with Notable Acts Theatre Festival, Thought for Food, Single Thread, Soup Can, and others. She is the winner of an RBC Emerging Artist Grant (TBTB 2016), is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School, and is originally from New Brunswick.