We Are All Treaty People

Filter Initiatives

Reasonable Doubt


In the spirit of community and of reconciliation, Persephone Theatre offers a powerful and timely new documentary play reflecting on race relations in our province. We asked one of the co-creators, playwright and journalist Joel Bernbaum, some questions about the play Reasonable Doubt.

Can you tell us about the process that led to the creation of Reasonable Doubt?
This project began five years ago. I had a great experience making Home Is a Beautiful Word - a documentary play about homelessness - at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria, B.C. That play showed me the true power of community engagement and I wanted to return home and make a documentary play about Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Saskatchewan. The Saskatchewan Arts Board funded the first 50 interviews. The conversations were interesting, but very polite. It was important to keep talking to people about this topic, and I was thankful that Persephone Theatre saw the value of continuing the conversations and decided to commission a full play. I kept doing interviews.

On Aug. 9, 2019 Colten Boushie was shot and killed on the Stanley Farm. This tragic event rocked our whole province. I kept doing interviews but they were different now. People were speaking with a new kind of raw honesty. People wanted to talk. People needed to talk. Interviews were transcribed and my collaborator Yvette Nolan began pouring over thousands of pages of transcripts. My other collaborator Lancelot and I would sift through transcripts and see how they became songs. We worked together with the hopes of capturing a kaleidoscope of views about this incident, this province, and our people.

It is our hope that this play creates a bigger conversation. An opportunity for us to talk to each other, and with each other. To talk about what has happened on this land and how we can live together in a good way. It may be uncomfortable at times, but we feel it’s worth it.

What does Reconciliation mean to you? Does this fit with your personal journey?
I find the concept of Reconciliation puzzling for several reasons. Many of my Indigenous friends do not like the term because they say it implies there was conciliation in the first place. So out of respect for this thinking I have started to use this word less and less. I have replaced it with a different R word: relationship. I believe it is all about connection and community building. My journey is to create opportunities and space for relationship between people on this land to occur.

What can people expect when they see Reasonable Doubt?
It is my hope that all people feel welcome to come to the play. They can expect to hear a wide variety of viewpoints. I hope they will hear their own thoughts and opinions on stage and also new thoughts and opinions. If we have both these things for every audience member then we can take people a little further down their path of understanding the world around them.

Around the Province

Previous Story Next Story