'People who’ve never had to go through any kind of sexual trauma really can’t relate, in the same way that I can’t relate to what it’s like to live in a war zone.'
– The Ghomeshi Effect Interview #6
'The Ghomeshi Effect' is a verbatim dance-theatre play, Directed by Jessica Ruano and choreographed by Amelia Griffin for six actors in response to Canadian society's response to the Jian Ghomeshi trial*.
The term the ‘Ghomeshi Effect’ was coined in 2015 and has been used by several newspapers (The Vancouver Sun, The National Post, The Toronto Star, Now Toronto, The Walrus, Maclean’s Magazine, and Salon) to describe the phenomenon that Mr. Ghomeshi’s trial has inspired: namely that Canadian society is now speaking regularly and openly about sexual violence, particularly how it is handled in the justice system.
The term adequately describes the content of this play, which will present multiple perspectives on the topic of sexual violence and the justice system in hopes of encouraging discussion and critical thought around this very challenging subject. All text is edited from anonymous consensual interviews with 40 people from different perspectives, and walks of life.
The original production at The Gladstone Theatre (Ottawa), also featured TGE Dialogues; a pre-show conference hosted by the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW). Pre-show talks enabled folks to listen to TED-style talks, enter in discussions, and receive support from local organizations, lawyers, and Canadian activists such as the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, Toronto-based lawyer and founder of Coming Forward Heldi Maki, father & activist Glen Canning, Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC) , and others.
*The play itself is NOT about Mr. Ghomeshi and does not be discuss his trial, but rather focusing on the stories of other individuals in Canada who have had a variety of experiences, both positive and negative, with the justice system.
In light of the #metoo and #TimesUp movements, 'The Ghomeshi Effect' is being remounted for a multi-city tour across Ontario and Alberta in the autumn of 2018.
September 20th, 2018
Take Back The Night Lanark County & Ghomeshi Effect
6:00 pm - Gather behind the Carleton Place Town Hall
6:30 pm - March (All ages)
7:15 pm - Performance of select scenes from The Ghomeshi Effect at the United Church (United Church, 39 Bridge st., Lanark County)
October 23-27, 2018
University of Ottawa's LabO Theatre
7:30pm, followed by a talkback with the artists and members of the community.
Quotes from REVIEWS
"...the result is a very powerful performance. Working with a choreographer and a theatre director who integrate their own visions of space, voice and movement into the traumatic encounters examined by this text, six actors/dancers take us swirling away into a contemporary nightmare world that has cultivated rape culture."
"'The Ghomeshi Effect' tells survivors’ stories with grace, power, & respect... Alone, words and movement would only convey a part of the story, but Amelia Griffin’s brilliant choreography elevated the experience to a place where you couldn’t help yourself but to feel, sympathize and understand what was conveyed."
This production is a vital step for a community dealing with the aftermath of a high profile, triggering and enraging sexual assault trial that displayed so clearly how the justice system fails survivors, how communities protect perpetrators.
- Maria-Helena Pacelli