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MORE THAN A FOOTNOTE is an initiative by Tableau D’Hôte Theatre to develop theatrical works centered around little-known tales that have shaped the communities and nations that make up Canada. But the responsibility to tell these stories should not fall squarely on the shoulders of our artists and creators, which is why we want you as members of the public to have a say in which play we will commission and hope to eventually bring to a stage near you.

Below are five pitches from writers who wish to explore bits of our history creatively. The winner of MORE THAN A FOOTNOTE will be commissioned to put their proposed story to paper and will receive professional dramaturgy through the process.

Voting ran through September 10th 2019. The two pitches with the greatest number of votes will now considered by a smaller jury who will in turn announce the winner of MORE THAN A FOOTNOTE on September 20th.

Hot Blooded Foreigner By Michaela Di Cesare

On Easter Sunday 1911, 28-year-old Southern Italian immigrant Angelina Napolitano murdered her abusive husband with an axe while he slept.  She was seven months pregnant. She spent the next hour cuddling with one of her four children before calling a neighbour and saying in her native dialect, “I just killed a pig.” Angelina’s story is notable in Canadian history because she is the first defendant to have used the battered woman defence at trial. Her story sparked international outrage when she was found guilty by an all-male jury and a sentenced to hang by Justice Britton who denied their recommendation for clemency. The judge threw out the evidence of abuse, including Angelina’s multiple stab wounds, as inadmissible.  The local media and the justice system used her case to make an example of unpredictable “hot-blooded foreigners.” Eventually the Liberal government bowed to international pressure and commuted her death sentence to life imprisonment. Angelina’s children were placed in foster homes and the child she was carrying died after being born in prison. After serving 11 years in the Kingston Penitentiary, Angelina was paroled. Her later life is not well-documented and it is unknown whether she reunited with her children.

I am eager to unearth more about this Italo-Canadian woman who started an international dialogue on domestic violence and immigrants’ rights. At the same time, her death sentence and eventual parole gave me pause. I consulted a list of women sentenced to death and executed in Canada (including the French and British colonies before confederation). Though the list was thankfully short, my instinct was that there were glaring omissions. For example, I could not find Marie Joseph Angelique, whose conviction and execution was beautifully rendered in Lorena Gale’s Angelique. I started to realize that Canada has certainly convicted and executed more women than those whose names appear on the list. And this led me to ask, who has access to recognition? To clemency? To parole? How differently would Angelina’s story have played out against the same backdrop if she were a black or indigenous woman in 1911? Or in 2019? What if she was a new arrival in our neighbourhood right now? Is there a way to reopen this conversation from an intersectional feminist perspective? I think so. Please help me investigate.

Hot Blooded Foreigner By Michaela Di Cesare

On Easter Sunday 1911, 28-year-old Southern Italian immigrant Angelina Napolitano murdered her abusive husband with an axe while he slept.  She was seven months pregnant. She spent the next hour cuddling with one of her four children before calling a neighbour and saying in her native dialect, “I just killed a pig.” Angelina’s story is notable in Canadian history because she is the first defendant to have used the battered woman defence at trial. Her story sparked international outrage when she was found guilty by an all-male jury and a sentenced to hang by Justice Britton who denied their recommendation for clemency. The judge threw out the evidence of abuse, including Angelina’s multiple stab wounds, as inadmissible.  The local media and the justice system used her case to make an example of unpredictable “hot-blooded foreigners.” Eventually the Liberal government bowed to international pressure and commuted her death sentence to life imprisonment. Angelina’s children were placed in foster homes and the child she was carrying died after being born in prison. After serving 11 years in the Kingston Penitentiary, Angelina was paroled. Her later life is not well-documented and it is unknown whether she reunited with her children.

I am eager to unearth more about this Italo-Canadian woman who started an international dialogue on domestic violence and immigrants’ rights. At the same time, her death sentence and eventual parole gave me pause. I consulted a list of women sentenced to death and executed in Canada (including the French and British colonies before confederation). Though the list was thankfully short, my instinct was that there were glaring omissions. For example, I could not find Marie Joseph Angelique, whose conviction and execution was beautifully rendered in Lorena Gale’s Angelique. I started to realize that Canada has certainly convicted and executed more women than those whose names appear on the list. And this led me to ask, who has access to recognition? To clemency? To parole? How differently would Angelina’s story have played out against the same backdrop if she were a black or indigenous woman in 1911? Or in 2019? What if she was a new arrival in our neighbourhood right now? Is there a way to reopen this conversation from an intersectional feminist perspective? I think so. Please help me investigate.

Red River Women by Darragh Kilkenny-Mondoux

Marie-Anne Lagimodiere, nee Giboury, is known as the first woman of European descent to travel to Western Canada, and the grandmother of Louis Riel. Allegedly a great beauty, she married her coureur de bois husband at late age of 26, and refused to become a “fur widow” who only saw her husband every four years between hunting trips out west for “black gold” (beaver hide).

Upon arriving at the Red River Settlement, today the city of Winnipeg, via portage from the Lachine rapids, Marie-Anne found her husband had a Cree wife and two children. While Marie-Anne became neighbourly with the native women of the region, learning Cree and Ojibwe fluently and raising her children amongst them, a bitter rivalry between the Mesdames Lajimodieres grew to the threat of violence but eventually settled

The play I propose would stage the feminine social experience of first sharing a husband and co-parenting families, and then parallel that conflict and resolution with the feminine intercultural experience of the war between the nigh-imperial Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company and its Metis allies. I am interested in staging moments of internalized misogyny, maternal and feminine social solidarity in the midst of crises that threaten this community of families.

Red River Women by Darragh Kilkenny-Mondoux

Marie-Anne Lagimodiere, nee Giboury, is known as the first woman of European descent to travel to Western Canada, and the grandmother of Louis Riel. Allegedly a great beauty, she married her coureur de bois husband at late age of 26, and refused to become a “fur widow” who only saw her husband every four years between hunting trips out west for “black gold” (beaver hide).

Upon arriving at the Red River Settlement, today the city of Winnipeg, via portage from the Lachine rapids, Marie-Anne found her husband had a Cree wife and two children. While Marie-Anne became neighbourly with the native women of the region, learning Cree and Ojibwe fluently and raising her children amongst them, a bitter rivalry between the Mesdames Lajimodieres grew to the threat of violence but eventually settled

The play I propose would stage the feminine social experience of first sharing a husband and co-parenting families, and then parallel that conflict and resolution with the feminine intercultural experience of the war between the nigh-imperial Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company and its Metis allies. I am interested in staging moments of internalized misogyny, maternal and feminine social solidarity in the midst of crises that threaten this community of families.