Strikes can be full of drama, so a group of striking Vancouver civic workers decided they might as well put music to it too.
In a cantastoria (from the Italian for “sung story” or “singing history”) actors sing or tell a story while showing a series of images and symbols.
It’s a successful format for popular theatre because it can convey a message to an audience even at a glance.
After several rehersals, CUPE members Teresa Staton, Bob Adair, Jon Young, Samy Harayan, Sukhdev S. Basra, Robert Lee, and Randi Gurholt-Seary from local 15; and Nenad Jelicie, Marcus Mendes, Christina Gerber from local 391 along with retired member Neil Bailey, debuted at Napier Green off Commercial Drive.
The CUPE Cantastoria told of workers who build and make strong communities and security for everyone. But then the Big Foot steps over the workers and tries to crush them.
The performers remind everyone not to let the Big Foot crush them and take away everything they have built. The cry at the end, with arms raised, is to “support civic workers now.”
On Sept. 15, the show toured the Vancouver Art Gallery and Vancouver Public Library (VPL). They entertained the downtown crowds, with a repeat performance each time the traffic lights flooded the Robson Street sidewalk with pedestrians.
The show then moved over to VPL’s Central branch, where picketers and the public alike were a rapt audience.
By popular demand, the troupe also performed in front of the CBC building, which prompted the network to send out a camera crew.