Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Amazing Adventure of Relationships: a musical ethnodrama by The Centre for the Arts in Human Development at Concordia University

The Centre for the Arts in Human Development at Concordia University presents:
The Amazing Adventure of Relationships:
a musical ethnodrama

June 12, 13 & 14, 2014

The Centre for the Arts in Human Development at Concordia University (CAHD), established in 1996, is an educational, clinical and research centre serving adults with developmental disabilities and other special needs populations. Located at the university's Loyola Campus in Montreal, Quebec, the Centre is under the auspices of the Department of Creative Arts Therapies in the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Under the direction of Dr. Stephen Snow, every second year CAHD presents a musical ethnodrama. As Dr. Snow describes, "an ethnodrama is a research play because it asks questions. The audience becomes co-researchers as they watch the show. The play is the research report." Actor Amanda explained how the six month process of creating the ethnodrama worked: "We dealt with the issues with perseverance. We didn't give up. We were taught to give 100 percent. And that's what we did."

I had the honour of attending the preview of this show this morning. Produced by Lenore Vosberg, The Amazing Adventures of Relationships is played by 17 actors, who, with enormous courage, share their innermost thoughts and experiences about relationships. It is honest, endearing, and thoughtful. It is not often that we are given the gift of exploration. And this group was fortunate enough to work together to ask, and answer their questions about relationships, intimacy and love.
The show is broken down into three parts.

In the first part, the actors explore issues that include the importance of family, friends, pets, conflict, love, being hurt. All the nitty gritty ins and outs of relationships. Intertwined with catchy and moving musical numbers, the honesty was touching, and I'm certain, due to their reaction, that everyone in the audience (myself included) could relate the material to their own life experiences. 
The second part brings us right into a sex education class where lessons about sexuality, that are often kept hidden, are openly discussed, cleverly including the audience in the 'class'. This bold experiment worked extremely well, opening up an important discussion, particularly about safe sexual health. In addition, by using a baseball analogy, they cleverly demonstrate the participants varying views on intimacy, sexuality, love and relationships.
The third part was most touching to me, where each actor shared their dreams for the future. I won't share those with you, I think you will see what I mean when you see the show. It will make you think hard about your own future dreams.
The ethnodrama concludes with a talk back with the actors. Audience members loved the show, and had a lot to share. 

This ethnodrama is bold, provocative, powerful, emotional, serous and seriously funny. Be prepared to laugh and cry, and share the lessons you will learn! Congratulations to all involved. And thank you.
The show runs from June 12 to 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church, 4455 West Broadway. 
Unique in Canada, CAHD uses four types of creative arts therapies – art, drama, music and dance/movement – to promote autonomy, improve self-confidence and social skills, and enhance overall quality of life for its participants.
The Centre's mandate is fourfold: providing a setting for therapeutic programs in the creative arts therapies, facilitating student education and training, fostering research, and educating the public, by creating awareness of the abilities of persons with special needs.