The Journey Behind Scorched

Concordia Student-Actors Present Their Rendition

Scorched is the English translation of the French play Incendies, which was made into an Oscar-nominated film last year by Quebec director Denis Villeneuve with the help of the playwright, Wajdi Mouawad.

This week Concordia student-actors will be presenting the play as directed by Vernice Miller
Scorched follows the paths of immigrant twins Janine and Simon, who make separate journeys back to the Middle East to fulfill the dying requests of their mother.

“In Scorched, ‘journey’ represents the twins’ voyage, their search for their origins, and the personal work they must do to reflect on their own humanity in the face of the legacies of poverty and ignorance,” said Miller. “Similarly, the actors, in inhabiting their characters, have had to journey deep within themselves, to draw from the complexities of the emotional experiences in their own lives.”

The play, which is just picking up momentum in the theatre world, is based in two areas: a modern-day Montreal in 2003 and an unnamed land—likely meant to represent Lebanon—in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

In their travels, the two siblings begin to uncover their mother Nawal’s unknown early life: she was a refugee and resistance fighter during her country’s barbaric civil war.

When asked what she thought of the play, stage manager Megan Underwood replied, “The play is fantastic. When I first read it, it seemed almost like the story of a Greek- gone-modern-day epic.”

Underwood went on to further explain that not only did Miller emphasize the notion of “journey” to the student-actors during the creative process, but she also included the influences of Greek mythology into her rendition of the work.

Miller, who is a well-established international performance artist, has spent the last two decades exploring east and west actor training and its application to contemporary theatre practices in America.

An educator, writer, director and award-winning actor with a very impressive resume, Miller immediately took on the project after being approached by the deapartment of theatre at Concordia.

When the students began their work on the piece, Miller asked that those who had been exposed to earlier versions of the play not share that information with their peers. Her approach values the idea that actors should access new material in a way that allows them to learn for themselves how to demonstrate the material—in effect, that they make their own way on their respective journeys.

Scorched / D.B. Clarke Theatre / 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. / April 14-17 / $10 Regular / $5 Seniors and