Some Background

 

Some Background

 

How did Somewhere, Sask. happen? How did we get from nowhere to Somewhere?

 

Short answer: Carrie. Carrie Catherine is how it happened. I am of the opinion that the word Carrie should officially be changed to a verb—you know like, "What we need is someone to Carrie this project." I mean I know that it already sounds like a verb. But with an "ie". I think the "ie" makes all the difference. Because Carrie with an "ie" makes all the difference. In a good way.

 

Carrie came to me, after seeing my play The Selkie Wife and asked if I would write some stories to tell between songs for her—she wanted to experiment with the singer-songwriter form—give it a narrative. I said sure, and then thought about it, for, like, a year. And came back and said, what would she think about having a character whose story she told, in role? And she said yes, even though learning to perform like that would mean a whole new learning curve for her. But yes isn't just a word for Carrie, it's a philosophy. So off I went to write a draft.

 

The other thing I told her was that I had become fascinated with another story, one that I saw her being part of—the story of re-claimed spaces, particularly in the parts of western Canada that had been left behind by change. Abandoned farm towns, broken churches, stores boarded up by mass malls, and grain elevators shivering empty in the wind, that had been filled by the kind of people who saw in that vacuum not an end, but space for a beginning. That was what Carrie and her husband Curtis Olson had done in Saskatoon, reclaimed spaces like The Hayloft  and The Two Twenty. That was what I had seen happen in Meacham, Forget, Rosthern, Bruno, Harris, Swift Current, Shaunanvon, North Battleford, and dozens of other places as far as Wells, BC, and as close as around the corner from me in Regina. Art filling the vacuum. I thought that if Carrie was going to tell a story that should be part of it.

 

Having written something, I looked at it, and thought, with songs, this could be a play...a Dancing Sky play. Because Dancing Sky Theatre was right in the script, the performance space rising out of empty, built on love and longing for the freedom that comes with embracing the unwanted. And fortunately the wonderful Angus Ferguson agreed, and we got a home and support to build the script, mostly through back and forths on Skype, as we fit the songs to the story, and the story to the songs.

 

We were blessed with Hal Schrenk's unique talent, creating not just musical support but audio set design. We were blessed by all the people who responded to Carrie's crowdsourcing call, blessed by the artists who came on board at every stage, contributing everything from swag to video to set pieces, just because they liked the idea. At every step, it was like this project attracted light. I call this the Carrie Effect. Because she says yes, and makes things happen, and people are just drawn to the light that makes. And respond in kind.

So short answer, how did Somewhere happen? Carrie. Long answer, pretty much the same.


- Kelley Jo Burke