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Limited Engagement U.S. premiere of OKINUM in Portland

Boom Arts presents the U.S. premiere of OKINUM by Onishka Productions February 9 – 11, 2023, at the Hampton Opera Center.

Presented by Boom Arts January 12, 2023

OKINUM’s narrative contextualizes the experiences of artist Émilie Monnet and other Indigenous women in relation to the historical beaver fur trade. Photo by Yanick MacDonald.

Boom Arts presents the U.S. premiere of the solo theatre performance OKINUM following its run at the International PuSh Festival in Vancouver, BC. OKINUM will have a limited three-day engagement in Portland: February 9 – 11, 2023, at the Hampton Opera Center (211 SE Caruthers Street.)

OKINUM’s unique circular stage, in-the-round storytelling, lighting effects, and live music enhance the audience’s immersion in Émilie Monnet’s narrative.

In Anishinaabemowin, “okinum” means “dam,” a motif that storyteller Émilie Monnet uses as a symbol of inner barriers on the journey to break free. Inspired by a recurring dream of a giant beaver, OKINUM is an intimate reflection on the notion of inner dams, an ode to the power of dreams and intuition. Performed in-the-round with a unique circular stage, projections, and live music, OKINUM immerses the audience in the artist’s journey to reclaim her Anishinaabe heritage. 

In OKINUM, dams are a symbol of Émilie Monnet’s inner barriers on the journey to break free. Reconnection with ancestral language provides healing and empowerment.

This innovative solo performance investigates the impacts of colonialism on Indigenous women through a very personal lens. Reflecting a multi-layered identity Emile performs in three languages: Anishinaabemowin English, French. “I wanted to have the three languages coexist in the performance, the same way they coexist in me,” Monnet said. “I want for people to hear the language, which is so rarely shown on stage, and to actually experience the language born on this territory. They were eradicated by the government policies, but those were the languages that really connect us.” 

Émilie Monnet’s OKINUM transmits to the audience a message of empowerment in a tribute to dreams, intuition, and multi-identity.

OKINUM was created by ONISHKA Productions, an interdisciplinary arts organization that builds bridges between Indigenous peoples worldwide while honoring their diversity, richness, and resilience. Their collaborative artistic expression challenges how the realities and struggles of Indigenous peoples are perceived and seeks to transform the world we live in. They are based in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyaang/Montréal.

OKINUM is an immersive, hypnotic, powerful, cathartic theatre experience about Émilie Monnet’s quest for healing through cultural reclamation.

February 9 – 11, 2023, at the Hampton Opera Center (211 SE Caruthers Street, Portland, OR 97214); Thursday and Friday at 7:30 PM, Saturday at 12:00 PM. Ticketing and info at www.boomarts.org

OKINUM uses dramatic lighting techniques and projections to heighten Émilie Monnet’s live storytelling about her investigation of recurring dreams about a giant beaver.

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