Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Creative Writing instructor's poetry adapted to theatre

By Tamara Letkeman, doug Editor

When the Electric Company theatre troupe approached Elizabeth Bachinsky about adapting a book of her poetry, God of Missed Connections, to a theatrical production, the Douglas College Creating Writing instructor gave them her blessing and free rein to do what they pleased.

So they did. Part installation art, part drama, Initiation Trilogy, which runs till Sunday, Oct. 28 at Granville Island, is an interactive show that adapts the work of three local poets (Marita Dachsel and Jennica Harper are the others). Audiences are split into groups and taken to different stations to experience the stories of the poems.

In The God of Missed Connections, Elizabeth, whose heritage is Ukrainian, explores the bloody history of the Ukraine and a century of cultural assimilation of its people in the West. She says she was surprised and overwhelmed with what the Electric Company did with her work.

"It's spectacular and so moving" she says. "I hadn't thought of this particular book appearing in that way, but I did think about the collection as a curated art show. I was thinking about each piece in the book as a different piece, almost like I wanted to have the reader have the experience of looking at something on a wall, and they really capture that in this trilogy."

"Some of the imagery that appears in the poetry that they've recreated is indescribably arresting," she adds. I don't want to give away too much, but you leave having had an experience. You feel stuff. And it resonates."

Initiation Trilogy runs till Sunday, Oct. 28, as part of the Vancouver International Writers Festival at Granville Island.