Sunday, March 4, 2012

Canada Study Trip Day One

On the 3rd of March three students from our Students Circle left on a study trip to Canada. We will be staying five days in Vancouver, where we will participate in classes at the University of British Columbia, then we will go to Nanaimo to research Indigenous theatre at Vancouver Island University, and finally we will visit Alert Bay, a small Indigenous village just north of Vancouver Island.

Under the Canadian Flag at Granville Island, Vancouver, BC.

We started our 24 hour long, arduous journey from Katowice to Vancouver with driving to the airport in Warsaw, where we spent three hours waiting for the flight to Amsterdam. When we finally departed for Holland at 6 a.m., we were already dead tired, which didn’t bode very well for the rest of the day. After two hours in the air we arrived in Amsterdam, where we had to wait for another four hours. During that time we had to be the only three people in the entire airport who were reading critical essays over dutch breakfast. We also had our fun time browsing through the souvenir shops with gadgets featuring the Royal Dutch Airline’s mascot – the cutest bunny you have ever seen. When the time came to finally depart for Vancouver, we were barely alive. We spent the entire nine-hour flight alternately trying to sleep, watching films, eating chocolate ice cream and trying to learn Japanese on the plane’s entertainment system. When we finally arrived in Vancouver, we were greeted by our Polish Canadian acquaintances who kindly gave us a lift to Downtown Vancouver, where we checked in to our hostel (fun fact – they are filming Fringe just round the corner :D). We had just enough strength to walk around the local shops before returning home to collapse into our beds and not get up for twelve hours. 

At Granville Island, with Downtown Vancouver in the Background.

Today was our first conscious day in Vancouver and we spent most of it on Granville Island, a small island situated south of Downtown Vancouver, where we visited Performance Works to attend “Redefining Normal: An Intercultural Dialogue Series” organized by urban ink production society, which started with a poetry reading of Asian Canadian poets (among them the award-winning Evelyn Lau) on the topic of “Love, Relationships & Other Complications” as an introduction to “Confessions of the Other Woman", a play written by Valerie Sing Turner and directed by Diane Roberts and Gerry Trentham, exploring not only issues of love and adultery, but also race and ancestry. After the play we had the opportunity to interview the playwright and to talk to her about the role of her own personal experience in her creative process. 

Poetry Reading. Left to Right: Fiona Tinwei Lam, Chris (C.E) Gatchalian and Evelyn Lau.

The play itself was extremely engaging and quite racy at times, with the actors performing R-rated scenes in their underwear. What was most interesting, the actors played multiple characters, in extremely daring combinations: the actor Matt Ward, an attractive, very tall African Canadian man, took on the role of the protagonist’s little Chinese grandmother, and did it very well indeed. As Valerie Sing Turner told us, this discrepancy between the audience’s expectations and reality was an attempt to explore issues of multiculturalism in Canadian context.

Diane Roberts, Artistic Director of urban ink.

After our first day in Canada we can easily say that everyone here is really upbeat and eager to help. Asking for directions is a real pleasure - not only do you get the information you need, but it always comes with a smile and a couple of nice words. :) We can't wait to see more of Vancouver and its citizens tomorrow! 

A Bit of Indigenous Graffiti in the Underground Pedestrian Passing :).


  1. Hej. Mimo, że po angielski, to chciało mi się czytać ;). Fajne, czekam na więcej :D.

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    Thanks a lot for sharing this nice experience.