University of the Fraser Valley’s School of Creative Arts presents the production Ghosting of Sumas Lake starting on Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The production is directed by Dr. Michelle LaFlamme, UFV associate professor in English.
Ghosting of Sumas Lake is based on the historic storm and floods that hit the Sumas Prairie region in November 2021.
UFV Theatre created the show on the students’ experiences of the devastating floods, exploring the impact of the climate crisis, the stories of community loss and resilience, and how we continue to be ghosted by our experiences on the land, history, and the past.
LaFlamme has extensive training in forum theatre methods and the use of theatre for social change.
Her research and teaching focus is in contemporary Canadian literature, with a special interest in Indigenous theatre, literature and performance.
For three decades she has performed in, written and developed plays, and has worked as an actor, director and, most recently, as a collaborator working on devised and forum theatre.
“The focus for the fall show was chosen because I feel that it is both timely and relevant, as the performance and our gallery installation of the same name are important ways to mark these experiences, exactly one year later,” LaFlamme said.
She said the show is a “container” for some of the experiences of people impacted by the floods.
Through talk-backs scheduled for the show, LaFlamme said they hope to generate even more conversations with students, faculty, staff and residents.
“The title I chose for this workshop performance was to remind us about the multiple ways that we are ghosted by the past – in this case, the lake returning to where it had been,” she said.
“And we are ghosted by the experiences on this land, including the losses during the recent and historical floods in this region.
“Ghosting is also a way to appreciate the sense of loss that occurred for Indigenous peoples in the area when the lake was originally drained.
“And, of course, all of humanity is ghosted by the persistent threat of the global climate crisis. So, in these diverse ways, ghosting became a foundational aesthetic for this show.”
The production uses multimedia to create the ghosting effects, layering audio sources and visuals from the floods.
Performances take place at the UFV Abbotsford campus in the performance studio (building D) on Nov. 30 and Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. and Dec. 1 and 2 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are “pay what you like” and can be booked on eventbrite.ca.
Accompanying the production is an exhibition of the same name, which runs until Dec. 2 at the S’eliyemetaxwtexw Art Gallery (room B136) at the Abbotsford campus.
The exhibit includes an audio-visual element, a guest book for reflections and an overview of the archival data that was researched to support the stage production.
Visit ufv.ca/plays or email email@example.com for more information.