In our predominantly Western culture the concept of identity/identities have become very important as concepts of globalization shatter the differences between us. In Canada we are proud to be noticed as a multi-cultural nation, but in order to move forward, we must first allow ourselves to explore our roots and feel comfortable in our own skin.
It is this notion that Niagara born-and-raised theatre actor Joseph Recinos wants to explore in Essential Collective Theatre [ECT] in collaboration with Creative Mafia’s Blood Lightning.
The one-person show presents Recinos’ journey to understands his culture and Mayan roots through storytelling, multi-media, hip-hop, movement and poetry. The production follows the story of Recinos’ family coming across the Canadian border as undocumented immigrants after fleeing Guatemala, following his travels through Canada to Guatemala and to the Standing Rock protests.
“For me – the story is about the reclaiming of identity and it culminates in three to four years of travels. But, it’s much more than that. This personal journey I went on shaped my artistic voice and taught me how to properly grab all my anger and confusion and let it out in a positive way,” explained Recinos.
An actor and producer predominantly, Recinos also is a facilitator for diversity and anti-oppression and decolonization. He’s worked with indigenous youth and in rural communities around Ontario and has been an advocate for diversity within the Toronto theatre community.
“Blood Lightning is a blend of social activism and my artistic voice culminating together,” he said.
Throughout his travels, Recinos found himself gathering and collecting things along the way – he explained this act was based on his ‘instinctual gut feeling.’ This is where the title came to be.
“Blood Lightning is known as kip’ kaq’ ulaj (K’iche) in the Mayan language. The First Nations people refer to it as blood memory – ancestral memories that live in the blood. It is what Western Science is currently studying in Epigentics,” he explained.
The show was co-created by Recinos and the Artistic Director for ECT Colin Bruce Anthes. The production runs from October 4-11 at the Roberston Theatre at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. Blood Lightning sits at an intersection between performance and ritual honouring both ancestry and spirit.
“I’m really hoping that people come to this production with an open heart and are willing to experience something a little bit different. I hope they can walk away with the feeling that now is the time for action and to not be afraid to take the first steps,” Recinos said.
“There are so many people out there like myself. We’re the children of the grey – from two different places. We’re all looking for a little piece of home, or a little piece of ourselves. It does cost quite a bit emotionally, but if you can break through we would all be so much happier if everyone was bold enough to be ourselves.”
Tickets can be purchased at the FirstOntario Box Office or at firstontariopac.ca