photo Kaija Siirala

Aujourdhuy / This Day 1738

 

Aujourdhuy / This Day / Hoje / Hoy 1738 is a series of site-specific performances, primarily using the one-to-one performance form, as a means of enacting Esther Brandeau / Jacques La Fargue in 21st century space. The title is drawn from the French colonial archival record that brings us the story of Esther Brandeau / Jacques La Fargue, who was a purportedly Jewish woman from the south of France who arrived to Canada in 1738 passing as a Christian man, was doubly 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. This piece was first created as a one-to-one upon the invitation of Rhubarb Festival in 2012 (curated by Laura Nanni), and finds audience member cast as interrogator. The work has been adapted to a range of sites and forms in Canada, Hungary, Serbia, and Brazil. Performed in French or in English, with thanks to Nadine Desrochers for translation assistance.