10 summers of tree planting provides ample material for Fine Arts graduate
What: Looking Sideways, performance art
Who: Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate Natalia Hautala
When: Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 27, at 2 p.m.
Where: Woodhaven Regional Park, 969 Raymer Road, Kelowna, BC
Natalia Hautala is about to graduate from the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at UBC’s Okanagan campus. And while her formal education is coming to a close, she is using her 10 years of experience as a tree planter as the basis for her graduate absurdist performance Looking Sideways.
A person has a lot of time to think when they are slogging up hills carrying 50 pounds of gear, working by themselves for hours at a time. And the irony of the tree planting job was not lost on Hautala—she was earning money replanting trees cut down by industry to keep up with global supply and demand.
So what does that have to do with facilitating absurdist workshops in Kelowna while she studied at UBC’s Okanagan campus? While out on the hillsides, working doggedly, she had the luxury of extended periods communing with nature. She can tell you the story about a butterfly that chose to accompany her up a steep hill one day, or talk about cold mornings, hot afternoons, and the smell of a pine forest on a sunny day. And she can attest to the power of simple focused actions in nature; to their ability to transcend the normal, the daily, and to attune our minds with our actions.
Looking Sideways is a show based on three workshops that were held in Kelowna last November. The workshops were entitled: How to Conduct the Forest; How to Behave Like a Golden Retriever; and How to Move Like a Rock. The resulting one-woman show is a play with—and for the audience—about our sometimes difficult and often absurd relationship with nature.
Hautala’s work has appeared in venues across Canada—including email inboxes. She has been a part of a number of group collaborative performances and continues to teach and facilitate workshops for all ages on a variety of topics related to yoga, theatre, and movement. Her studio work is an exercise in the embodied understandings of community through movement. She believes in the capacity of the arts to teach us about how much or how little we understand each other and the environment and in the wake of this understanding—to build healthy sustainable communities.
Looking Sideways is an outdoor presentation that takes place at Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Regional Park on Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m. and on Saturday, April 27, at 2p.m. These events are free to attend and are suitable for all ages.
Hautala is in the first cohort of graduates from the newly inaugurated Interdisciplinary Performance program at UBC’s Okanagan campus.