For this post, I am returning again to my experience at the Festival of Original Theatre 2016 “Staging Realities” conference at University of Toronto at the beginning of February. PhD candidate Lisa Aikman presented a very engaging paper titled “The Real Will Out” which dealt with the recent Human Cargo/Crow’s Theatre production of The Road to Paradise by Jonathan Garfinkel and Christopher Morris. The play concerns the experience of Afghanis, Pakistanis, and Canadians caught up in the intersection of military intervention in Afghanistan in the last decade. (I have a personal interest in the show since an early version was workshopped and presented at Queen’s under the title Dust. I was the lighting designer for that production. The images above are from Dust.) As Aikman points out, The Road to Paradise is not quite verbatim, not quite documentary, and yet it makes strong reality claims. Morris and Garfinkel work from interviews but then adapt the material gathered into dialogic scenes. In this context of the not-quite-real, Aikman traces three moments that she deems to be upsurges of the real, dissecting how these moments perform their ‘realness’ in distinction to the rest of the play.
Lisa Aikman has very kindly agreed to have her paper shared here on the blog. I have attached it as a PDF below. I hope you will find it as engaging as I did.