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WE WERE HERE by Shane Koyczan and Jordan Nobles

Dates and Venue 7 - 11 April 2009 @ 8.00pm | Firehall Arts Centre

Reviewer Ed Farolan

We Were Here is a unique show presenting a cross between poetry elocution and a somewhat multi-media combination of concert music and visual images with voice overs which only someone with imagination could think of. Thus innovative multi-media technique was well-delivered, withe the correct pace, and despite its length (2.5 hours), the audience was totally entertained.

Comedy combined with quintessential yet down-to-earth poetry was well executed by Yellowknife poet Shane Koyczan. Likewise, the musicians and vocalists under the direction of Marguerite Witvoet and award-winning composer Jordan Nobles entertained a full-house audience composed of all ages who completely enjoyed the performance.

I remember my grade school days where we had to memorize poems and recite them. I'm glad that we're going back to that, which, for the new generation of today is something new and different. In his performance, Koyczan explored not only his personal memories growing up in Yellowknife but also the ones we hope to create. His poems posed important questions about our history and our future. Through music and poetry, the show examines themes like global warming, rap music, love and sex, science fiction -- themes of today.

Koyczan is indeed an entertainer, and I hope we have more Canadian poets who not just read their poetry (boring, boring!) but express them in spoken words, emoting them the way this excellent declaimer almost flawlessly delivers his verses. I say "almost" because we're human and there were moments (very rarely, though), where he stammered a bit.

This is a performance worth seeing and I hope he gets full houses in the next few days of the show. Here is a fragment of his poetry published in the programme, the last poem he read: If I should die today/tell the world the things I could never say/....as loud and as clear as the year the world discovered/ that I was so far before my time/ that my time left me behind/ to remind time/ that I'm here today to say that I made this time mine.

At the end of the show, he invited all of us to pick up an envelope in a basket. I cannot reveal the contents of the envelope because he threatened he'd run after us if we divulged the secret. But it's worth reading what he says and more so, worth going to catch the show.

. © 2009 Ed Farolan