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New play in a new space
Tumit on stage at the new NACC 2nd Space

Daron Letts
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - This Friday Reneltta Arluk will introduce theatre-goers to some firsts, and one 2nd.

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Actor and playwright Reneltta Arluk rehearses a scene from her one-woman play, Tumit, which premieres Friday at 8 p.m. in the new NACC 2nd Space upstairs in the Centre Square Mall next to the Yellowknife Public Library. - Daron Letts/NNSL photo

Tumit is the first play produced by the Yellowknife actor since beginning her professional stage career a decade ago. The venue is the NACC 2nd Space, a new black box theatre located next to the Yellowknife Public Library upstairs at the Centre Square Mall. The Northern Arts and Cultural Centre acquired the lease on Monday, making Tumit the first production offered on its stage.

Rich in symbol and metaphor, Tumit is a one-act play about loss, memory and moving on from pain to joy.

"It's not about abandonment, but about 'how did I get here and what do I do now'," Arluk explained. "It's a play about transformation."

Arluk developed the script over the last four years, composing much of its structure during a seven-week residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2006. She also workshopped her ideas with former Yellowknife playwright German Saravanja, now based in Toronto.

"It's a very engrossing story," said Edmonton director Kate Weiss, who Arluk hired to help her stage the play.

Although the play is not explicitly set in the North, Arluk believes it will resonate with Yellowknife audiences. "As much as we romanticize the North, there is a lot of dark here," she said. "The people who will connect with it the most are people in the North."

Arluk portrays multiple characters during the hour-long drama. She is also working closely with local professional sound designer Travis Mercredi.

"I think the sound designer is her acting partner because sound is always there as a companion to her," Weiss said. Mercredi has worked on several film and music projects since graduating last year from the sound design for visual media program at the Vancouver Film School, but Tumit is the first theatre production he has been a part of.

"I jumped on the chance," said Mercredi. "It's a different way of applying sound.

"Theatre is designed to work with silence. The focal point is the actor so a lot of times bringing sound in is distracting.

It's only effective when appropriate and when it is beneficial to the experience of the viewer. You have to know when to pull back."

Audiences can see, and hear, Tumit Friday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Seating is limited. Parents should note that the play contains mature language and subject matter.

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