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Wednesday June 24, 2015 in Books

The first play in The Arctic Cycle

By Chantal Bilodeau

In Inuit mythology, “sila” means air, climate, or breath. Bilodeau’s play of the same name examines the competing interests shaping the future of the Canadian Arctic and local Inuit population. Equal parts Inuit myth and contemporary Arctic policy, the play Sila features puppetry, spoken-word poetry, and three different languages (English, French, and Inuktitut).

There is more afoot in the Arctic than one might think. On Baffin Island in the territory of Nunavut, eight characters – including a climatologist, an Inuit activist and her daughter, and two polar bears – find their values challenged as they grapple with a rapidly changing environment and world. Sila captures the fragility of life and the interconnectedness of lives, both human and animal, and reveals in gleaming tones that telling the stories of everyday challenges – especially raising children and maintaining family ties – is always more powerful than reciting facts and figures.

Our changing climate will have a significant impact on how we organize ourselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Arctic, where warming temperatures are displacing entire ecosystems. The Arctic Cycle – eight plays that examine the impact of climate change on the eight countries of the Arctic – poignantly addresses this issue. Sila is the first play of The Arctic Cycle. With its large-as-life polar bear puppets, the play is evocative and mesmerizing, beautifully blurring the boundaries between folklore and science.

Learn more about the meaning of sila on Meta-Talon.

ISBN 13: 9780889229563 | ISBN 10: 0889229562
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 128 pp pages
$17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
Rights: World
Backlist | Drama
Paperback Edition


“Simply sublime … Sila breathes life on the stage at Cyrano’s [Theater], and it’s brilliant. Chantal Bilodeau’s play is beautifully written. Perhaps it is Bilodeau’s work as a playwright and also as a translator that make the words weave composition with meaning, and symbolism with precision to deliver parallel storylines that intersect at just the right points. … Bilodeau is able to sustain a lyrical form and tempo throughout. … Theater goers shouldn’t miss Sila.”
Anchorage Press (Alaska)

“This production of Sila is true to its name – it will enable each audience member to take a deep breath and to think about his or her role in the earth’s ecology.”
Open Media Boston

“Is it possible to write a play about global warming that isn’t talking heads but a dramatic story that draws us in and makes for engaging theater? The French Canadian playwright Chantal Bilodeau has proven it’s more than possible with her deeply moving play Sila.”
Arlington Wicked Local

About the Contributors

Chantal Bilodeau

Chantal Bilodeau is a New York–based playwright and translator originally from Montreal. Her play Sila won first prize in the 2012 Earth Matters on Stage Ecodrama Festival and the 2011 Uprising National Playwriting Competition. She is the recipient of a Jerome Travel and Study Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.


Chantal Bilodeau


Chantal Bilodeau

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