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.