ribcage: this wide passage

“The archive breathes, it sings, it is alive in this room.”
-Tara Lee, CBC Radio

ribcage: this wide passage is a 70 minute performance created and performed by Heather Hermant, directed by Diane Roberts with live music composed by Jaron Freeman-Fox and originally live-mixed video installations by Kaija Siirala. Performed in English as well as in French, translated by Nadine Desrochers as thorax : une cage en éclats. ribcage takes as its inspiration the documented story of Esther Brandeau / Jacques La Fargue, a purportedly Jewish woman from the south of France who arrived to Canada in 1738 passing as a Christian man, was outed, held under house arrest and ultimately deported purportedly for refusing to convert to Christianity. They are known as “the first Jewish woman in Canada.” A third-person voice testimony claims that Brandeau lived as a man and worked across France for five years before arriving to Quebec. ribcage: this wide passage builds on years of archival research in several countries, and is an interdisciplinary performance work integrating spoken word, narration, physical theatre, video installation, soundscapes and fiddle music. Workshopped for Tremors Festival, Vancouver (2010); premiered at Le MAI Montréal Arts Interculturels (2010); French version first shown at AKI Studio Theatre, Toronto (2013); and part of the 2014-2015 season at Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver. An urban ink production, Vancouver.

View excerpts of thorax : une cage en éclats.


For booking please contact touring@urbanink.ca For more work based on Brandeau / La Fargue, a figure I have followed through multiple projects over a decade, see Aujourdhuy / This Day 1738 and my academic research, where Brandeau / La Fargue has been the centre of my doctoral work.

This work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and residencies at Gibraltar Point International Artist Residency and hub14.