Margie Carmichael’s stories adapted into new production
Until September 21 (select dates)
Stories from the Red Dirt Road has its world-debut this month at the Confederation Centre of the Arts’ Charlottetown Festival. This Island musical weaves together the stories of women from all aspects of life. It has been adapted by Marlane O’Brien from the Margie Carmichael book Stories from the Quilt.
“It’s been a great surprise for me and it’s a wonderful gift at this time,” says Carmichael. “Marlane has been so respectful. She believes in the stories, she knows who the people are. Really, it’s her baby. It was a gift that came from an unexpected place.”
The original book started as an artist collaboration project more than ten years ago and was published in 2006 by Acorn Press. Carmichael based these short stories on women that she’s met over her life, on PEI and beyond.
“These women exist everywhere. They’re family, they’re neighbours, they’re strangers, they’re everywhere. And there is a familiar Island nature about them,” added Carmichael.
Marlane O’Brien approached the Island author five years ago about adapting this into a musical. The Confederation Centre signed on this year to bring it to The Mack with the 2018 Charlottetown Festival.
“The women are the heart of the stories. They are stories that needed to be told. Music that needed to be heard,” said O’Brien.
Rehearsals for this production got underway in late June and Carmichael has enjoyed being there to see this book come to life by attending practices and workshops. In particular, the author enjoyed a trip the cast and crew took to Lennox Island. The stories include that of an Indigenous woman and her experiences in a residential school and is based off someone Carmichael said she knew.
“Going to Lennox Island was just…it was a validation. It told me that I did right by her. That I honoured that particular character properly.”
Stories from the Red Dirt Road, sponsored by Key Murray Law, is playing at The Mack until September 21. Playing opposite in the same theatre is On the Road with Dutch Mason, sponsored by Honibe, which runs until September 22.