Narrow Bridge, Peer Voices & In Memoriam

August 11, 2022 Posted by Daniel

It is August, 2022, and I am sending out an update to Moving Target’s email list. I am going to post the content here too, so that those not on my email list can see it. To subscribe to our email list, click here.

I have a number of exciting updates. The first is that my play, Narrow Bridge, which was about to open in March of 2020 (and then something happened) – is back on! It will be produced by Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, March 9-19, 2023.

Narrow Bridge is inspired by my friend Ben Baader, who is transgender and practices Orthodox Judaism. Ben has generously consulted with me all along, and we have spent many hours talking about this seeming-impossibility: it is a very gendered tradition! Orthodox synagogues, by definition, have a mechitzah – a barrier separating men from women. 

Writing this play has been a great opportunity to explore my own relationship with gender and Judaism. The journey brought me (and Ben) to Queer Talmud Camp in 2018. It was as amazing as it sounds. 

And we have had a wonderful artistic team developing it, including Elio Zarrillo, Harry Nelken, Alissa Watson, Brian Drader, Ari Weinberg and others, supported by Manitoba Association of PlaywrightsWinnipeg Jewish Theatre, the Canada Council for the Arts, Manitoba Arts Council, and Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

The script is even better now than it was in 2020. I greatly look forward to sharing it with you!

Next, I want to tell you about a partnership between Moving Target and Manitoba Harm Reduction Network (MHRN) – it is the main thing I’m working on right now. In 2020, I led some Theatre for Living workshops with MHRN’s Peer groups – marginalized people who use drugs and who work to promote safer drug use and better drug policy. 

After those workshops, we wanted to continue working together. The Peers suggested we create a short video, which we are working on this summer, with film-maker Julie Epp, and with guidance from Elder Albert McLeod. For those who enjoy reading final reports, here it is. In any case, stay tuned – we hope to share the video with you by the end of 2022!

Next, a bit of personal news – I am back in university, pursuing a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, under the guidance of Jessica Senehi, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). My research will focus on MT Space, in Kitchener-Waterloo – their theatre and community work, and their network of relationships, which I will explore through the lens of building “positive peace.” It has been a great learning experience so far, and all of this will eventually help me take Moving Target’s work to the next level.

Finally, some sad news:

Majdi Bou-Matar – rest in peace

This photo was posted by Patti Flather on Majdi’s Facebook page.

Majdi Bou-Matar, founding Artistic Director of MT Space and the Impact Festival, died unexpectedly on June 28, at the age of 47.

I first met Majdi at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in 2012. He was dressed head-to-toe in purple or orange or something – a striking colour, with a sash in the same colour and a handlebar moustache – I thought he looked like a Lebanese prince. He was blunt and forthright, chutzpahdik in a way that I found refreshing, especially in Canadian theatre.

I invited Majdi to see Good People Bad Things at SummerWorks, and he invited me to perform it at the 2013 Impact Festival. Our friendship continued through a number of projects, including Deserter, which Majdi helped us develop as an actor. For myself and many of us, we have lost a friend, mentor, and artistic colleague.

What we have not lost is Majdi as an inspiration – he created theatre physically and collectively, centring marginalized voices, beginning at a time when very few others were. His work, and the many artists he influenced, will continue to inspire, most directly through MT Space and Impact. Heartbreakingly, and heart-nourishingly, the community Majdi cultivated are now supporting each other through his loss.

My heart is with Majdi’s family and the MT Space community.

Rest in power, and rest in peace, friend.

Last but not least, this is a picture of me driving a boat. Why? To remind you, in the corniest way possible, that I am still here, at the helm of Moving Target Theatre.

I will be in touch again soon.

All the best,

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