The Gift: A Story about Transformation
A Surrounded by Owls Production
“Hello, my name is John Aitken. I did not begin to speak until I was eighteen years old”
Everyone has a story. The Gift is one person’s journey through challenge and adversity in a boy’s early years. He is too young to understand the world he has been born into and has no voice to express the turmoil of his circumstances. For a boy without words, we use drumming, singing, movement and sound effects in a series of short scenes to evoke significant events in his life. As in a dream, Indigenous symbols and metaphor tell this tale of evolution and ultimate celebration. Some scenes will be easy to decipher and some may leave you perplexed. It is all part of the experience.
During the period when I did not speak, in order to communicate I used to point and use facial expressions. These two techniques have been integrated into the piece where possible to help demonstrate my vulnerability at such a young age. Although I did not speak, I did make what I now call “cave man” sounds. These are used in one humiliating scene with “bogey-woman” attempting to get me to speak. Each scene communicates to the audience key moments which would transform my life. The path to where I am now!
Written by John Aitken and Gail Noonan
Performed by John Aitken and Shelley MacDonald