Bertha Mason explores the titular character, a woman scapegoated by white feminism in both Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte), and in further adaptations and retellings. In Victorian literature, Black women were provided with demonic, often vampiric traits to discourage white men from interacting or courting them. This play is from Bertha’s perspective, focusing strongly on race dynamics and the balance of privilege, as the generations born from constant abuses of power, must now deal with the consequences of their existence. It explores the historical significance of demonizing Blackness and the continued devastation caused by White Feminism. Black Women continue to be overlooked historically, this can be seen with the Suffrage Movement and has continued today as systemic anti-Blackness makes the world unsafe for Black people. This play is a blatant reminder of the persistent violent and inhuman atrocities that are normalized, despite claims of justice for everyone.
- Playwright and Director: Rochelle R
- Sound Designer: River Oliveira
Rochelle R (She/They) is a Canadian-Caribbean multidisciplinary theatre artist; writer, producer and advocate for Black, Queer, Mad/Mentally Ill, and disabled communities. Rochelle is the Co-Artistic Director of Low Hanging Fruit Productions, a new company making theatre for queer folks of different abilities and varied gender identities, that experience mental and chronic illness. Rochelle’s involvement with the company includes promoting and developing opportunities for Black Artists, and encouraging difficult conversations about intersectionality and allyship. Rochelle holds a BA in English and Theatre Studies from The University of Guelph and continues to pursue additional training in several excellent programs in and around the GTA. Select companies and programs include b current BCHUB, Buddies in Bad Times Emerging Creator’s Unit, Nightwood’s Young Innovator’s program, Piece of Mine Arts, Dance Immersion and multiple others. (Select Directing credits include: 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane: the University of Guelph, Lost in Her by Rochelle R: Guelph Little Theatre, Four Season Summit by Ken Cameron: Guelph Little Theatre, Strings by Brian Cern: InspiraTO Festival, and upcoming Jane Doe by Roxhanne Norman: Toronto Fringe Festival 2021.)
You can find more information about Rochelle and her work on her artist page.
River Oliveira (they/he) is a queer, trans, & disabled multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Ontario. He wears many hats as a writer, performer, musician, and sound designer – and the pieces he has worked on have ranged from classical & established to new & experimental. The themes they are currently exploring in their art centre around queerness, grief, survival, and community in collaboration with others. He is also interested in the ways in which art can be used as a tool for healing, connection, and change. As a designer, River is fascinated by work that is able to create a dialogue between physical performance, text, and abstract design elements. They enjoy and wish to create art that sees all aspects and roles involved in its creation as integral – a living being.
Over the past six years, River has done work with Buddies in Bad Times as part of their Pride Cab Programming, Seven Siblings Future Theatre Festival, Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival, Toronto Fringe’s TENT Program, Paprika Festival’s Design Lab, Nightwood Theatre’s Young Innovators Unit, as well as various UofT Campus Theatre Societies.
He is currently co-creating two plays with Max Cameron Fearon (Dramaturg/Director), and the support of the OAC/Recommender Grants from Nightwood & Mixed Company Theatre. These are “How the Wolf Says Goodnight” & “Out of the Woods,” both of which explore relationship violence between queer & trans people through the lens of folktales. And, COVID willing, River will also be writing and releasing his first EP via BandCamp in the coming months. To find out more you can visit his website: riveroliveira.com