›› Mark Dusseault
Playwright Yvette Nolan was inspired to write The Unplugging after the death of her mother and the realization that she had not learned enough about her Anishinaabe heritage.
She was also fascinated with connections and what we do when we become disconnected.
“Medicine is about connection, connecting things that have been disconnected. But at this moment, we’ve become so disconnected – the pandemic, the social justice movement, and polarized political views” says Nolan.
“The thing we need to do is reconnect. And of course, in the theatre, we haven’t been able to do it in the room with each other. Theatre is medicine, I think, and medicine is about connecting everything and everybody back together again.”
The Unplugging reveals that when all the world’s technology ceases to function, it is time to find a new way of surviving—or an old way. Two women—one Indigenous and one white, exiled from their village for being too old to bear children, trudge across the desolate, post-apocalyptic ruin, relying on traditional wisdom for survival.
When a charismatic stranger appears, seeking their aid, they must choose whether to use their knowledge of the past to provide hope for the future to the community that branded them “useless.”
“Like the end of the world, due to climate change or our total dependence on electricity and the internet,” said Nolan “and every time the power goes out somewhere, people send me messages going, ‘Yvette, it’s The Unplugging, Yvette, Texas is in The Unplugging, Yvette, the Yukon’s in The Unplugging.”
“Some of my pals call me Cassandra because I’m always telling the future and I’m never listened to, but I sort of feel like sometimes I write plays and they become more relevant as they hang around. And The Unplugging is one of those.”
The Unplugging runs at the Belfry from February 7 to March 5, 2023. This season the theatre is offering pay-what-you-want tickets – available at the Belfry, at 250-385-6815 or at belfry.bc.ca.