Rogue Performer Preview: The Captain

Feb 28, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Rogue Festival, Theatre

by Joan Bernier

The Rogue Festival is almost here! Here is another of several Rogue Performer Preview articles that will be going up between now and March 3. You will be able to find all of them, along with a preview article about the Festival itself, in our Rogue Festival category and you can find more info on our Rogue Festival event page over on KRL News and Reviews. Tickets for the Rogue Festival can be purchased on their website and you can find this year’s schedule.

I was giving my brother a book for his birthday about a sea captain to whom we might or might not be related. I skimmed through the pages and was stopped by this account:

“Bernier was lashed to the forward windlass (for two hours)…his father believed (this was) the way to cure seasickness in a boy.”

I fell to my knees, “Oh, yeah—we’re related” and the voyage was on.

I began researching Captain Joseph Elzéar Bernier, a 19th century sea captain from Québec, Canada. Bernier claimed the Eastern Arctic Islands for Canada at the turn of the 20th century. I found a newspaper article my dad had carefully stapled to our family tree, and began tracking possible, if tenuous, connections. Around this time, I saw Geoff Hoyle’s Lear’s Shadow directed by David Ford at The Marsh in San Francisco. I was stunned by the poetry of its visual moments and was amazed at the great number of characters on the stage in this solo piece.

I began studying with David and collaborating on the script in 2019. His prompts and thousand-league questions deepened the story far beyond what I imagined. We began looking at the story through the lens of colonization of the North and its impact on the lives of the Inuit (the indigenous people whose home is the Eastern Arctic Islands). Themes floated in, pressing me to catch up with their historical underpinnings. I have endeavored to expand their history.

I am an actor and playwright in the San Francisco Bay Area. I trained with Bill Peters at SFSU and worked with Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, and First Person Singular. This is the first solo show I have written where I have placed myself on stage— but I am in good company. The Captain offers a liminal space where the Captain and I both navigate through the story together—helping each other find our way.

Proceeds from The Captain benefit the Arctic Food Center, Qajuqturvik Community Food Center, in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

The Captain is presented by the The Rogue Performance Festival
at Vista Theater March 3, 4, 5, 9 & 11th
Purchase tickets here:

Performed by Joan Bernier of Snake & Rod Theatre/Written in collaboration with David Ford/Directed by David Ford.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. You can also find more theatre coming up on KRL’s Local Theatre event page.


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