Crossing the White Line, a bridging of solitudes

The drifter Joe (Michael Mulvihill) waxes eloquent on life as his world literally crashes into that of Tabitha Peltier’s Angela during the Debajehmujig Storytellers production of Mr. Mulvihill’s ‘Crossing the White Line.’ photo by Michael Erskine

MANITOWANING – There are so many stories focussed on the divisions our society faces in these days of social polarization that one could despair of any hope of finding a path forward to reconciliation, but Michael Mulvihill’s ‘Crossing the White Line’ charts a different course toward redemption, recovery and love.

The story follows the relationship between two childhood friends torn apart by an accident and the closing of ranks of their respective families and their reunion through the auspices of yet another accident. 

Two ordinary people discover the that there are more ties to bind us together than drive us apart and sometimes we only come to realize that truth when someone crosses the white line.

Playwright Michael Mulvihill also acts in the play, presenting the desultory journey of Joe, an alienated white youth who drifts through life mired in an unfulfilled ennui as counterpoint to Tabitha Peltier’s character who recovers from a serious accident through a combination of western and Indigenous healing.

Mr. Mulvihill does a marvelous job of depicting a rudderless drifter heading home to his roots, while Ms. Peltier delivers a powerful and emotional performance as Angela, the Anishinaabe-kwe who provides a critical guidepost to redemption for Joe as a parting gift.

The people portrayed in this production are ordinary people living largely ordinary lives within their separate cultures, which helps make the message of true reconciliation contained within its storyline all the more powerful. In a world brimming with stories that emphasize the differences pulling us apart, ‘Crossing the White Line’ brings a message of what can be gained by opening hearts and minds to a greater understanding of the other.

‘Crossing the White Line’ is playing tonight (Wednesday, July 24), July 25, 26 and 27 at 7 pm and July 28 at 2 pm the Debajehmujig Creation Centre in Manitowaning and August 2, 3 and 4 at 7 pm at the Holy Cross Ruins in Wiikwemkoong. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and elders and children 12 and under $10. For reservations call 705-859-1820.

The play is supported by the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts and AMS Healthcare.