Rochelle R (19/20 Directors Lab) (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.
Written and Directed by Rochelle R
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. Bertha Mason is dramaturged by Toronto-based actor, burlesque performer, playwright, producer, and speaker Dainty Smith.
Acknowledging funding support from the Ontario Arts Council’s Recommender Grants, an agency of the Government of Ontario, through Obsidian Theatre.