PuSh Blog

Giving Voice to History, Culture and Climate in Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools – A curatorial statement by Roy Surette

January 07, 2019

In the Inuktitut language, when a knife is dull, it is said to “have no face”. The word “Kiinalik” translates to mean the knife is sharp – or, “it has a face”.

Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools enthrals on many levels, incorporating haunting music, evocative visuals and text, and music that is personal, political, and beautiful. It challenges the audience to confront their lack of knowledge about the far North and chase the opportunity to learn.

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory and Evalyn Parry, accompanied by cellist Cris Derksen, engage each other with music, stories, and an urgency to work together to cultivate understanding—at times uncomfortable and always thrillingly theatrical. The two performers combine their artistic practice to convey the complexity of the North and its past through folk songs, throat-singing, storytelling, historical and autobiographical material, and a startling, transformative performance of uajeerneq (Greenlandic mask dancing). Used together these tools create powerful moments that are “astonishing and almost frightening in [their] transgressive power” (Now Toronto).


Recently the Dora winner for Best New Play and Best Sound Design/Composition, Touchstone Theatre is honoured to co-present this remarkable work and welcome these amazing women to Vancouver for a limited four performance run. Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools evolved out of a meeting between Evalyn and Laakuluk on an Arctic climate change expedition from Iqaluit to Greenland.

Following sold out runs in Toronto, they embarked on an incredible journey and recently performed the work in the Frobisher Inn conference room in Iqaluit. Touchstone cherishes innovative Canadian work—brains, heart and relevance are the essential ingredients for us—and we are pleased to be involved in celebrating Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (Canada’s leading Queer Theatre) 40th Anniversary season.

We are the only Western Canadian presentation. Please don’t miss this unique, illuminating and moving show!