Emily Carr inspires and invigorates once more

Theatre students learn about theatre, a famous artist and themselves

The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr, a story about one of Canada’s most famous artists, runs Nov. 22-24 and Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. (Elizabeth Nygren/The Omega)

The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr is a story about the famous Canadian painter and writer, Emily Carr, who lives in a magical place called The House of All Sorts. In this place, she receives visits from her sister, Lizzie, old friends like Sophie and spiritual gods who watch after her.

Alexa Rood, a first-year student at TRU, plays Lizzie Carr in the show, Emily Carr’s older sister. Rood describes her character as more rigid and practical in comparison to Emily, but Rood finds Lizzie humourous through how practical she actually is.

“It is about aspects of Emily Carr’s life and it goes into some of her painting and her relationship with spirituality,” Rood said of the show.

Rood added that it’s whimsically dreamlike and that the story is also about how Emily finds herself and her purpose in her lifetime.

“Emily Carr is obviously a very famous Canadian painter and writer, so it’s nice to know a little bit about her and it’s also a very interesting play,” Rood said.

She also said that the characters are very dynamic, the relationship between Lizzie and Emily develops fluidly and that it’s a good blend of drama and comedy.

The first-year student also noted what she’s learned throughout this production. While Rood says she’s always been presented with a challenge when acting, she finds that Lizzie Carr is exceptionally more challenging from her previous work.

“I don’t have the life experience to draw from,” Rood said. “I believe Lizzie starts in her 50’s and progressively ages throughout the play, so it’s very difficult for me, a young able-bodied person, to try and play an old lady.”

Psychology major and fourth-year TRU student, Kalika, plays Sophie, Emily Carr’s Indigenous friend. Kalika enjoys how her character is in tune and connected with the earth and her environment just how she, a first nations woman herself, is and was raised.

Kalika says that the show is about “connections between the first peoples and the settlers and it follows Emily on her journey and broadens her horizons about culture and a way of living.”

“It gives you a new way of looking or thinking about the afterlife or art even itself,” she said. “A lot of the play is about how there’s stigma around art and how art isn’t a good profession to go into and this play really challenges peoples ideas on that.”

Kalika also discussed her personal relationship with the show. She says she hasn’t learned so much about herself than she has about her grandmother.

“I really connect with my grandmother through this character and she very much reminds me of this character,” she said. “I found a new appreciation for the trials she went through herself during her youth.”

Lastly, Zenlia Philander, a second-year TRU student, plays the famous Emily Carr herself. Philander says that Carr was challenging what people thought of artists and says that Carr is more of “a spiritual character.” She added that Emily is very different from her “prim and proper” family and Philander will be telling the true story of who Emily Carr was.

Philander added that The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr is a very adventurous show.

“It has a lot of depth to it,” she said. “It has to do with the supernatural and what she encountered when she went on her voyages in the forest.”

Philander says that she gained lots of knowledge about Emily Carr and that it’s good for people to learn from the mistakes of the past, as well as learn about their history.

“I’ve learned that diversity is very important,” Philander said. “I’ve learned that I can literally do anything because 104 pages is a lot to learn, honey.”

The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr will be performing at the Actor’s Workshop Theatre in Old Main from Nov. 22-24 and Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available online at www.brownpapertickets.com or at the TRU Actor’s Workshop Theatre box office.