Grace lives in Manila, Philippines while her mother works in Winnipeg. ‘Places We Go’ follows a day in Grace’s tsinelas (slippers) on an adventurous attempt to bring Nanay (mother) home on her birthday.
Vivid illustrations surround Grace, exposing the contrast between the worlds of mother and daughter. Inspired by Venzon's cousin who was separated from her family for 10 consecutive years, ‘Places We Go’ shines a light on the tenacity of the human spirit.
Places We Go has been in development since 2013. First, as an oral story, Hazel wrote and read to audiences at the Yukon Literacy Coalition and Culture Days (Whitehorse). She was asked to retell a Filipino folktale of which she knew none. In the hopes of bringing voice to the contemporary reality of many children in the Philippines, she created what was originally called Grace.
Inspired to create a visual backdrop to ‘Grace’, in 2017, she renamed the show 'The Places We Go’ and Hazel partnered with illustrator David to independently produce what they described to be as a Live-Graphic Novel, (live action puppetry with overhead projection illustrations) for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. One year later, they were asked to tour the 30 minute production to Tacloban, Leyte as part of Bugsay ConFest which received international acclaim from festivals artists, scholars and educators.
Newly named, ‘Places We Go’ is facing a fresh and invigorating stage in production. Originally viewed as a live-action 2-D performance, David and Hazel explore it’s new form as a live-action animation. For this iteration, the creators have deepened the themes and enhanced the artwork, using green screen technology resulting in brand new scenes; to be viewed as nine separate episodes or as a 30 min short film.
About the Creative Team
David Oro lives on Treaty 1 Territory, born and raised in Metro Manila, Philippines. Migration has, undoubtedly, played a massive role in Oro’s work, impacting both his life and his art. Places We Go creates a chance to retell parts of his childhood when he lived apart from his father (Saudi Arabia) for eight years. The illustrations are aspects of his memories growing up in Metro Manila. It gives Oro great joy to share his talent and long history of digital design work as a graphic artist, storyboard artist, painter, illustrator and animator - through this modern tale.
Hazel Venzon is a multi-faceted theatre artist: producer, director, writer, dramaturg and actress born and living on Treaty One Territory. Her artwork is influenced by relational-art aesthetics and community performance as a vehicle to conduct immersive, intercultural experiences in theatre (Your Nanny Hates You, For Hire, EMBRACE, Everything Has Disappeared [ongoing]). Hazel has spent the last dozen years investigating Canadian identity, particularly the ubiquitous case of Filipino migrant labour making this research a parallel to Hazel’s personal journey of recognizing her heritage.
Hazel and David are the co-founders of U N I Together (UNIT) Productions that supports the evolution of Filipino-Canadian stories.
RP Singh was part of the team behind the original presentation of The Places We Go at the 30th annual Winnipeg Fringe Festival, as well as when it toured the Philippines in 2018. As a voice actor also accomplished on stage and screen, his experience with storytelling and recording audio have made him an ideal fit to bring the sound element to Grace’s story. The perspectives offered by his multicultural and multi-linguistic background were a nice little bonus, too.
Places We Go
by Hazel Venzon and David Oro
Co-directed and Co-Edited by David Oro and Hazel Venzon
Illustrations and Animation by David Oro
Grace performed by Hazel Venzon
Voices of Bird (and whistle), Nanay, Lola, Food Stall Owner, Sari Sari Owner, Fruit Stand Owner and Friends performed by Hazel Venzon
Original Music, Composed by Edgardo Esteban and Hazel Venzon
Sound Designer and Post Production Sound Editor - RP Singh
Produced by U ‘N I Together (UNIT) Productions
Versions of ‘Places We Go’ (formerly ‘The Places We Go’ and ‘Grace’) were made possible by the generous support of the Yukon Literacy Coalition, Culture Days Yukon, Manitoba Arts Council, Winnipeg Arts Council, Leyte University - Tacloban, Philippines.