By Ayomide Gbadamosi
It is a tradition at Gateway Theatre for staff to collectively read the scripts of the shows the theatre presents. On the day of the Prophecy Fog read-through, I walked into our black box theatre, also known as Studio B, grabbed a script, and sat in one of the chairs arranged in a circle. Before the read-through, I had some idea of the themes in the play, but I was not prepared for the amount of introspection and self-examination that would occur.
As a black woman of the Indigenous Yoruba Tribe of Nigeria, I have always felt a connection to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. My grandparents and parents experienced colonialism. Nigeria’s “official” language is English and that’s what we’re taught in schools. I struggle to speak my traditional language and I know very little about the cultural history of my people.
I did not realize how deep the connection was until I read Prophecy Fog. In the play, Jani Lauzon tells us about Giant Rock in the Mojave Desert in California. She tells us how the stories of Giant Rock, a sacred site to Indigenous Peoples, have been lost over the years. She tells us how much of the information about Giant Rock exists online and that it is misrepresented and whitewashed. She tells us how the only entity that knows the truth about Giant Rock, is the rock itself.
This got me thinking. How much of the history of my people that can be found online is true? When was this information moved online? Who and where did it come from? Do I trust it or not? Do I even have a choice?
Prophecy Fog made me ask questions about myself and my origins that I had not previously thought of. No matter who you are or where you are from, Prophecy Fog is an important lesson about how history, especially history that is recorded online, is not always accurate. We should strive to ask questions about the things we read, as the truth is not always what it seems. As Jani Lauzon says, “Truth or Fog?”
Join Jani Lauzon on her journey to Giant Rock in Prophecy Fog at Gateway Theatre from March 9-18 2023.
Photo credits: Jani Lauzon in Prophecy Fog. Photo by Dahlia Katz. Directed by Franco Boni. Environmental Design by Melissa Joakim.