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Life mimics art for actors in play about pandemic – Saanich News



As a pair of Victoria-based performers sit on the couch of a rented suite in isolation this week, they can’t help but think of all the similarities they’re seeing in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Danny Saretsky, 22, and Regina Rios, 23, moved here to study the theatre program at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Oak Bay. In November, they performed lead roles in the stage production of Unity 1918, a play by Kevin Kerr in which the Spanish flu disrupts the small community of Unity, Sask.

“There’s a lot of similarities,” said Saretsky, who played Stan, a new father who is recovering after his wife died in childbirth. “It’s disturbingly parallel.”

Performers Danny Saretsky and Regina Rios during a Zoom chat this week. The two starred in Unity 1918, a movie set in the 1918 flu pandemic, and are now finding it a bit uncanny that they are under self-isolation just a few months later. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

READ ALSO: Love and humour shine during a time of death in Unity, 1918

In particular, it’s society’s reaction to the virus that stands out. The nation was still grieving the 56,638 Canadian military members who died in the First World War. To this day the number of people killed by the Spanish influenza ranges in estimate from 20 to 100 million people worldwide, about 55,000 people in Canada and 650,000 in the U.S.

“[It’s kind of the same as] how people were [recently] exaggerating, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad,’ while others stocked up on toilet paper,” said Rios, who played Sunna, a young Icelandic woman who becomes the town mortician.

Amid the chaos of death, in which there aren’t enough coffins for the dead, Sunna and Stan find romance.

In Unity, as it was back then, things were typically slower. But with the flu, things changed quickly day-to-day.

The schools are closed. Physical contact is forbidden and there is a town curfew.

“Basically, all fun things were canceled then too,” Saretsky said. “The town people were quarreling with one another, not because of illness, but because of fear of illness.”

The actors even played out the same responses we’re seeing now, especially mistrust of people who travelled internationally.

“Even though people sought a human connection, travellers were met with a ‘please get away from me,’ vibe,” Saretsky said.

“They didn’t really understand the flu,” Rios said. “The flu hit Regina [Sask.], so they knew it was coming in, but they didn’t know how it spread, they thought being downwind would spread it. It was being spread with the soldiers coming home from the war.”

READ ALSO: Celebrities urge Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

There were mass graves and misinformation.

When CCPA last staged Unity 1918 on Dec. 1 there was no sign of a global pandemic unfolding.

The two graduated in February and went their separate ways. Rios joined local troupe Story Theatre and was touring preschools with the show The Very First Circus.

“Of course, going school to school was not ideal, so that was canceled [early],” Rios said.

Saretsky was in the middle of a vacation tour with his father to the United States and Europe.

“We were in Boston when we made the decision to follow recommendations and come home,” Saretsky said.

If it goes ahead as planned, Saretsky is headed to Vancouver this summer to intern at the annual Bard & the Beach Shakespeare Festival in Vancouver.

Now the two are stuck, together at least, in an Airbnb suite, until things change.

“We did jazzercise today, a ‘90s jazzercise funk workout on YouTube,” Saretsky said.

“Support artists if you can, it’s a tough time for all of us,” Rios said.

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Ottawa business faces backlash after posts on Blackout Tuesday – CTV News Ottawa



Expressing outrage over racism can be a complicated and sometimes divisive action. One Ottawa business that tried to share its opinion on social media this week found out exactly how hard that can be.

Blackout Tuesday is a collective action to protest racism and police brutality. The action, originally organized within the music industry in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Earlier this week, Art-Is-In Bakery, a popular eatery in Ottawa, posted a ‘black-tile’ for #BlackoutTuesday on its Instagram page. Stephanie Mathieson owns the business, along with her husband,

“We’re a family run business, and IG is run by a few members of this family, I posted the black square.”

Then, according to Mathieson, another family member created a promotional post – celebrating the stores re-opening; something that you are not supposed to do once you post a “black-tile” on social media; creating a backlash.

“Unfortunate that we hurt people along the way, and we are terribly, very sorry about this… We made a mistake, but our heart was at the right place; we deeply care what happened, that’s why we posted the black square in the first place.”

Comments then flooded the Art-Is-In Bakery Instagram account. Makda Kidane used to shop at Art-Is-In and she left comments, which were deleted. According to her, she was then blocked by Art-Is-In.

“We put money in your pocket, we support your business; we share this business with other people when I have my friends coming in from out of town, it’s an establishment that I frequent with them, and it was disappointing that they don’t see the value in our dollar or our voice.”

Kidane does not think the use of the “black-tile” is appropriate, if used along side a marketing campaign,

“The plight of black people is not a trend; it is our life, it is our reality; and, we need allies and we don’t need people to just follow a trend.”

Yodit Haile also saw the post, comments, and then the deletion.

“What they did was wrong; it’s clear that they used the Black Lives Matter movement for their own benefit, for their own advertising, and that’s not what this movement is about.”

Art-Is-In deleted the post, now making their Instagram page private.


“There’s no appropriate way to use that,” says Boulou Ebanda de B’béri, Professor of Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Communication, whose areas of expertise include history, culture, and racism in Canada.

“When some businesses, particularly white businesses – white owned businesses are trying to all of a sudden become black, that is problematic; there is not an appropriate way to recycle pain.”

He says that businesses should participate more with their actions – who they hire, and who they employ in management positions.

As for Art-Is-In?

Mathieson says, “All our intention by posting this black square were good; it came from a concerned and caring place.”

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New works selected for Yukon Permanent Art Collection – Whitehorse Star



Eleven new artworks have been selected for the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, the territorial government said Thursday.

By Whitehorse Star on June 4, 2020

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Art and Entertainment should not have the Limitation of the Boundary – Net Newsledger



Today, when the entire world is running after a mundane lifestyle, the artists are the only souls who fill up their life. They project complex notions and performances as they breathe life into the world.

Bahadır Ünlü is a Turkish actor who plays a crucial role in spreading positivity and entertaining millions with his witty thoughts and stellar performances. He firmly believes that entertainment and Art should not have any boundaries, both metaphorically and physically. He explained, “Art and entertainment are kindred spirits. People should be able to experience them without any restrictions or inhibitions. Boundaries should be blurred, and people should come together.” Bahadir is a leading actor in Turkey, and he is keen to explore international projects and reach a broader audience.

Now his ambition is to reach out to the global audience so that he can connect with them through his Art as an actor. He is also a social influencer and enjoys interacting with his audience, fans, and followers. He enjoys social media as it is a medium that also transcends boundaries.

The actor, director life, was not a bed of roses. Bahadir has also gone through some challenging times, but experience taught him the critical aspects of life, and he knows how to connect the dots to achieve new heights. He believes that the best way to approach life is by being optimistic in the face of adversity. According to Bahadir, artists and entertainers are not bound by borders, and it is entirely correct. Bahadir believes that art and entertainment as mediums have the power to reach millions of people, surpassing boundaries like language, distance, and culture.

Bahadir has more than 600 thousand followers who regularly follow him on Instagram. Bahadır Ünlü has been very active recently on his social media. Bahadir has numerous upcoming international projects and is excited to reach out to a brand new audience, with whom he can connect and interact. Bahadir’s devotion to his Art is commendable as he continues to grow and evolve as an actor and director.

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