Taking Nanay: a testimonial play to the Philippines
In 2007 we began to turn interview transcripts with Filipino domestic workers and their families, as well as Canadian employers, into a testimonial or verbatim theatre play, which premiered at Vancouver’s 2009 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and then toured to Berlin. The play is a site-specific performance installation of monologues gleaned from a series of interviews conducted with domestic workers, their children, and Canadian employers. We are now preparing to take Nanay to the Philippines and are in the process of rethinking the play for this new context. One of the aims of the work is to bring diverse audiences close to the experiences of Filipina migrant domestic workers and their children to stimulate a deeper and more complex understanding of the issues as well as more sustained public debate about temporary labour migration. But what does it mean to move the play from Canada to the Philippines, into a milieu where most everyone has an intimate personal connection to the struggles of migration? In this talk we give a tour of the Vancouver production and report back on our recent ten-day planning trip in Manila, where it became evident that the issues staged in Nanay would likely resonate differently with Filipino audiences there. We are at the start of a process of transnational translation. In this talk we will present several scenes and strategies through which we hope to move Nanay into a new emotional, affective and political terrain.