With the new announcement this past Fall 2015 that one of Canada's most elite theatre institutions, the National Arts Centre (NAC), located in our country's capital of Ottawa would be creating the first ever Indigenous Theatre Department beginning sometime in 2019, it was an extraordinary and historical moment for Indigenous Peoples all across Turtle Island. The impact and response this news has been slowly rippling out into Indigenous and First Nations communities all across Turtle Island and so many artists/storytellers from all different backgrounds, nations and disciplines are very excited about the future opportunities that are going to be created as a result of this new Indigenous Theatre Department on such a large national platform.
With every new and enormous undertaking such as this one there will undoubtedly be growing pains and I am personally hoping that the voices of Indigenous communities, knowledge carriers, elders, youth and other important members, not just those in higher leadership positions, will continue to be heard and consulted with as the ball continues rolling with in the development and planning processes of hiring a new Artistic Director and/or directorate for this new Indigenous Theatre Department. I was pleased to hear so many diverse and different voices/perspectives from those invited to the NAC earlier last month to begin the consultation process and next step in how the NAC will go about hiring a new Artistic Director and/or directorate. There's a lot to think about and we as Indigenous storytellers and caretakers of this land need to really make an effort to come together as communities in order to support this new, exciting and very huge undertaking. For those of us in the Indigenous arts community who weren't able to tune into livestream consultation meeting that took place at the National Arts Centre earlier in February I really encourage you all to take some time to watch a recorded version of this historical and important meeting. I've attached the YouTube videos of the entire day meeting below which was recorded and split into morning and afternoon sessions.
Chi-Miigwetch & All My Relations,
Chi-Miigwetch to the town of Bloomington, Indiana and the Cardinal Stage Company for for the wonderful 7 weeks I spent rehearsing and performing in the production ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. The entire experience was a delight and I hope to return someday to work on another theatre production.
I will not soon forget the amazing responses from so many audience members (especially the youth) and those of you who hung around after the shows to meet me, say aanii/hello and personally express how much the show and my performance meant to each of you. Some folks were touched so deeply and emotionally from the show that they couldn't find the words to speak with me afterwards. It's truly those kinds of responses and experiences that always truly touch my heart & spirit and remind me of the reason why I continue to do what I do. I am so deeply humbled that people felt the heart, soul and dedication I put into each performance. My gift to all of you!
Until next time when I jump back on this "cuckoo" journey...
Jeremy AKA Chief Bromden
Pictured Above: Jeremy Proulx stands onstage just before the final performance of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the Cardinal Stage Company
I am almost finished the production run of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the Cardinal Stage Company. What a delight it has been being able to revisit the character and story with such an awesome team of artists and craftsman. It takes an entire team and family of artists to mount a stage production such as this. I am so thrilled and happy that I struck gold with another wonderful group of people. I didn't think the experience from performing it in Atlanta, Georgia could be topped but I definitely had an amazingly different experience here in Bloomington, Indiana. I don't really know when I have another opportunity to perform the role again so I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity and privilege to perform. Very few acting opportunities come along, especially for actors of color, to delve into a meaty and challenging role such as Chief Bromden in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
Pictured Above: Jeremy Proulx (left) and Mike White (right) in the production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
We've officially opened the production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the Cardinal Stage Company at the Waldron Arts Centre in Bloomington. What a journey it has been to get to this point. While the houses have been packed audience response has been varied. I find theatre-goers are a little more conservative here in the state of Indiana. Plus the actual theatre space is a lot more intimate than the 900-seat theatre in Atlanta, Georgia where I first performed the role last September.
Several family and friends have already come down to see the show, making the long journey down from Canada to see it. I will be forever grateful for their love and support of my performing arts career. Throughout the years many of them have seen me go through all the highs and lows that this profession has to offer. However I think they now truly understand why I continue to do it. It's because I love it and wouldn't want to be doing anything else.
Check out the kooky backstage photo of the cast of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST below. We are having a blast performing the show for audiences and I know the show will only continue to get better for here on out! Tickets are still available by clicking on this link here.
Pictured Above: The ensemble cast goofing it up backstage at the Waldron Arts Centre for the Cardinal Stage Company's production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
With any new project where I have to travel a great distance away from home, sometimes to another country, homesickness can really start to set in after a period of time. Being away from family and close friends can be a challenge for anyone. The great thing about being away from home is when I discover a home away from home through developing new friendships and a supportive network of people who truly understand me. Working in Bloomington for the past 3 weeks with a wonderful cast of actors has also allowed me to discover a very close knit First Nations community in this small town as well. I've been fortunate enough to be introduced to some lovely Indigenous folks here who have shared nothing but warmth, kindness and laughter with me. They even prepared for me some authentic native cuisine with Navajo NDN tacos, blue corn fried bread and hominy corn soup. This soul food has definitely fed me well. Miigwetch to all the people at the First Nations Educational Cultural Centre (FNECC) at Indiana University for opening their doors and welcoming me into the community. I will be forever thankful. I cannot wait to share this new production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with all of you. Miigwetch for the gift of getting to know a new circle of Indigenous brothers and sisters.
Pictured Above: Jeremy Proulx and a few Indigenous members of the Bloomington community at Indiana University's First Nations Educational and Cultural Centre (FNECC)
It's been a productive 3 weeks with rehearsals for the upcoming production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the Cardinal Stage Company. It's been fabulous being able to work with a rough construction of parts of the set design. Costumes and other props are still being sorted and created for the show.
With any production there needs to be promotion and marketing in order to help get the word out to the general public in hopes that strong interest will build and attract theatre-goers to come out and see the show during it's 2 week run. I've already been told Oscar-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network and upcoming Batman vs Superman) and Danny Glover (The Colour Purple) will be coming to see the show which is very exciting.
I just recently sat down with WFIU radio at Indiana University yesterday and talked about how I came to be part of the production here in Bloomington and my process as a First Nation actor. It was a very thought-provoking interview and I will be posted an edited version of that radio interview sometime next week.
I'll also be sitting down with Davina Two Bears, a Navajo Ph.D student (and award-winning fried bread maker) who hosts a weekly radio programme titled "Native Spirit" on WHFB 91.3 FM. She'll be interviewing me on Sunday, January 31st at 11 AM (EST). Click on this link http://wfhb.org/listen/ to be taken the radio website and then download the appropriate Webstreams bandwidth to listen to the radio station live from the comfort of your computer. It's highly recommended you have the most current version of iTunes installed on your computer before proceeding to the link.
Chi-Miigwetch for continuing to follow this journey with me.
Jeremy Proulx AKA Chief Bromden
Pictured Above: The set load in begins at the Waldron Arts Centre for the upcoming production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
Now in week 3 of rehearsals with Cardinal Stage Company's ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST and so far the journey has been quite interesting. We officially moved into the quarters of the theatre company to rehearse with parts of the assembled set which are still in the process of being completed. Working with a rough version of the set will prove to be extremely helpful for myself as an actor as I track my journey through the play and where my character exists within the confides of the mental institution. Getting a feel for the cage-like qualities of the room really helps inform character and story for such a large ensemble of performers. Costume pieces are still being gathered and prepared which will also help add another crucial dimension and layer to the storytelling. When everything starts coming together in rehearsals I am confident that this will only develop and grow into a fabulous live stage production which audiences will be greatly affected and moved by.
Pictured Above: Jeremy Proulx as Chief Bromden in the Cardinal Stage Company production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
Pictured Above (L-R): Constance Macy (Nurse Ratchet), Jeremy Proulx (Chief Bromden) and Mike Price (R.P. McMurphy) in the Cardinal Stage Company production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST directed by Randy White
Week 2 of rehearsals has just begun with the Cardinal Stage Company on the upcoming production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. Unfortunately, we did not have the entire cast assembled and available during this first week and we had to improvise in terms of people filling in for others as we started to block scenes in the rehearsal hall. That being said I can attest to the fact that this ensemble, while different from the one I worked with in Atlanta last year on the same play, is just as kind and giving which is great! Truth be told I'm always a little bit nervous when start any new production, especially with a company I don't know and a production with this large a cast. Sometimes a clash of different personalities or inflated egos seriously get in the way of creativity and collaboration. However this cast and director in Indiana are very respectful and truly listen to what I am offering to the creative process.
Revisiting this play with an entirely new director and ensemble is having its share of rewards and challenges. Having performed the role of Chief Bromden in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST not that long ago I feel his monologues and spirit are still very fresh in my bones, and surprisingly, it hasn't been that challenging or difficult to recall the dialogue in my mind during rehearsals. I am quite surprised by how much my mind has retained from the show I did last September in 2015.
One of the biggest challenges in rehearsals has been to sit back and allow this new company to figure out and discover the play for themselves even though I am quite familiar with the story then most. It has been very amusing and thrilling watching a different actor interpret a specific character from the play and bring a new take and perspective on it. I am confident that this cast will eventually hit their strides and really begin to elevate the play. We've only been rehearsing for 1 week as an ensemble and definitely got so much further in terms of establishing character, tone, pacing, blocking, etc.
Want to know more about the talented artists I'm currently working with on the production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST? Click on this link here to read their bios on the Cardinal Stage Company website. We have roughly 4 more weeks before we open at the Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Centre on February 13th! I really hope some of you out there can come join us in Bloomington, IN during the run of the show from February 12-28, 2016.
I hope you continue to follow my journey through this blog...
Jeremy AKA Chief Bromden
Pictured Above: Chief Bromden plagued by the nightmarish visions of machinery and fog also known as The Combine from ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST.
I'm off to Bloomington, Indiana next week to begin rehearsals on an entirely new production of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the Cardinal Stage Company. I am beyond thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to delve further into the character of Chief Bromden and the play. More information on the production, which runs from February 12-28, 2016, can be found by visiting http://www.cardinalstage.org/plays/2015-2016-season/one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest/overview-17/
Indiana are you ready for me?!
It's be a challenging and rewarding 7 weeks working with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. Four generations of my family traveled all the way from southern Ontario, Canada to see the show last night. It was so wonderful to have them in the audience to experience the play live onstage. After the evening show the entire cast was gracious enough to hang around in the Green Room to meet my family.
I will miss working in Atlanta. Overall it was a very positive experience coming down south to work with an wonderful group of theatre artists. I hope to return someday to Atlanta to visit. Many have already said I more than welcome to stay with them if I should I ever return. The invitations were very sweet.
I will be letting go the spirit of Chief Bromden after tonight's performance. I have come to love and care about the character so very much. It has also taken so much courage and energy to be so emotionally raw and naked onstage as well as to consistently go through his struggle, awakening and sometimes painful journey onstage with every show that I do. I've expressed to others that doing each show is like a marathon and it has taken a lot of energy, spirit and commitment to get through the production run. But I wouldn't change it for the world because it has been so rewarding being able to share the stage with such an awesome group of actors who are so giving and open onstage as well as share the story with Atlanta audiences who have been so receptive, engaged and enthusiastic about the production. Audiences are the main reason why we create theatre. Hopefully many of have gone away from the whole experience changed in some way. I am certain and positive that a lot of lives have been touched by watching this play and experiencing the individual journeys of each character.
Chi-Miigwetch Alliance Theatre and director Susan V. Booth for this opportunity!
~ "The Soopah Chief" Bromden