White Noise pays tribute to the work of up-and-coming young actor and writer Taran Kootenhayoo

Content of the article

White noise

When: April 16-May 1

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Or: Firehall Arts Center, 280 E. Cordova St.

Tickets: From $15 at firehallartscentre.caand 604-689-0926

When he died in Vancouver on New Year’s Eve 2021, 27-year-old Taran Kootenhayoo left a play. Now that piece, White Noise, is premiering at the fire station.

A spoken word actor/artist/activist with a penchant for skateboarding, Kootenhayoo was best recognized for his role as Niki in Bella Ciao! The 2018 independent film focuses on the Latin American, Indigenous and Italian communities around Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. When the film premiered at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival, Kootenhayoo was named one of four “stars to watch.” In 2019, he won the Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the Jessie Awards.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Born in Cold Lake, Alberta, Kootenhayoo was Denesuliné and Stoney Nakoda and a member of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. He moved to Vancouver at 18 to study acting.

Co-produced by the Firehall and Savage Society, White Noise was the subject of a 2018 workshop at the Anvil Center in New Westminster and the Talking Stick Festival.

For the piece, director Renae Morriseau took a crash course in social media via her cast.

“We’re looking at the idea of ​​this video game being created by one of the characters,” Morriseau said. “We talk a lot about culture jamming, memes and social media, and how young people are taking the pulse of social marketing and media and everything they’re browsing. I’m not a teenager, I’m a grandmother. So it’s a different skill.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Braiden Houle and Sam Bob in a 2019 reading or White Noise, coming to the fire station from April 16 to May 1.
Braiden Houle and Sam Bob in a 2019 reading or White Noise, coming to the fire station from April 16 to May 1. Photo of Melody Charlie /.jpg

In the play, a white family, the Mannings, invite their new neighbors, a Denesuliné family, to dinner during Truth and Reconciliation Week. “So all hell breaks loose,” Morriseau said.

Some of this hell is caused, indirectly, by an app.

“The Mannings’ daughter, Jessika, is in the social media world. On the Denesulin side, Windwalker, the son of Deneyue and Ts’ekwi, is also an informed media. The idea of ​​the play itself, its staging, the scenography, is based on the idea of ​​being immersed in a world of social media. It’s not a typical upper-middle-class family home dining aesthetic. Lauchlin Johnston’s scenography is based on the question, What is this world of creation? And how is our behavior manipulated by algorithms and capitalist constructs? When we talk about the HTML language that creates these landscapes, how do we create our infrastructure as Indigenous people in the digital landscape? »

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

Playwright Kathleen Flaherty worked with Kootenhayoo on the script. Morriseau led the workshop at Talking Stick. “My involvement was having Taran in the room with the actors and having a dialogue about how the actors looked at the script. Sometimes he would rewrite something. Even after the last show, which we recorded, he made some slight changes.

She also worked with the young actor on a short film while teaching in Capilano’s film department. “He has always been in the community and very present and very attached to artistic creation. Or go skateboarding. And bring people together in such beautiful ways. I’m very honored to be part of the early days of White Noise.

Several of those involved in the workshop are part of the upcoming play, including actors Sam Bob, Anita Wittenberg, and Braiden Houle. Kootenhayoo’s sister, Cheyanna Kootenhayoo, is an associate director and sound designer.

“What’s amazing and beautiful about this process is that we’re all grieving throughout the making of this production,” Morriseau said, “with lots of laughter in terms of the scenes and hope in terms of working in a good way.”

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.