The River – Home (2005)


“For me, The River-Home is a metaphor for the ongoing, ever-flowing existence of First People’s traditions – their survival is dependent upon their relationship with the rivers, the land, and all of creation…We hope the images and symbolic physical work serves to remind each of us that we are part of that River of life, that cycle of birth and death and ultimately, transformation.” – Margo Kane.

The River-Home is a full-length, interdisciplinary performance piece. Created and directed by Margo Kane, it aims to capture the deep personal and community sense of place which Canada’s Fraser River specifically, and waterways generally, hold for Aboriginal peoples. The physical performing style combines ritual, oration, movement, video and soundscape in a non-linear manner that evokes the rivers of memory and takes the audience on a journey along the river and ultimately home. It is a contemporary Aboriginal style of performance rooted in traditional Native performance and informed by Western theatrical techniques.

The story follows a fisherman’s daughter who, in grieving the loss of her brother, leaves her home behind. She finds herself alone in a world outside of her community longing for the familiar fishing, feasting and dancing. What she senses is the call of the River-Home and of her people actively summoning her, and this awakens her instinctive urge to return to face her fears and hopes in the place where her people dwell.

The River-Home presents its message primarily with images and stories. Thematically, the piece speaks of the need to share our resources. The central image is one of fierce determination. The performance creates multiple images (some playful, some deeply ritualistic) of salmon battling enormous odds, swimming upriver to return to their home and of the determination that keeps generations of coastal fishermen working to support themselves and their families from these fish. This central motif echoes through the entire piece informing movement sequences that evoke fishing, life along the river, the past, and the sprint of the salmon themselves.

The piece also celebrates the beauty of the river and of the natural environment with video of amazingly beautiful locations and movement images that speak eloquently of the beauty of life in the British Columbia coastal forest.