“Site specific performance describes a way of being in place and has the capacity to reshape locales that are considered fixed and immutable.” – Melanie Bennet, Sighting, Citing, Siting: Crossfiring/Mama Wetotan: Theorizing Practice
Greg’s interest in site-specific work was inspired by a study of Crossfiring/Mama Wetotan, an interdisciplinary exhibition at the Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site in Saskatchewan. The event “explored the significance of the Dirt Hills to pre-contact aboriginal culture and to the non-aboriginals who have proliferated there since the mid-nineteenth century” through art, installations, and theatre performances. Of particular appeal was the idea that layers of history cover over and mute each other as they are laid down; this is also one of the key concepts of the theory of spectrality, which plays heavily into all of Greg’s writing.
In December 2018, Greg was awarded a Creation grant through ArtsNB to write a site-specific play set in Fredericton’s Old Burial Ground. The intention was to engage with the personal histories of the people at rest there, the history of the space itself, and the contemporary relationships people have developed with it. The project’s stated goal was to bring audiences to one of New Brunswick’s important historical spaces, and then conjure the ghosts residing there, in order to experience their stories, as well as add a new layer of history to the Old Burial Ground.
WRITTEN IN MARBLE, BURIED IN EARTH: THE SPIRIT OF A PLACE was completed and presented to the public in May 2019. Although not yet fully produced, the play was read in its entirety in an exhibition at the Charlotte Street Art Centre, along with contextual photos and information about the research that went into the script.
For more information on the project, listen to Greg on CHSR’s The Lunchbox, or check out his featured artist blog post on the ArtsNB website.