It’s a tad bewildering that Andraea Sartison can successfully juggle as many gigs as she does: in addition to being the founder and artistic producer of One Trunk Collective, she works for the University of Winnipeg’s events department, Bike to Work Day, Canzona Choir and The Forks (she was responsible for producing Labour Day weekend’s Barge Festival). She also spends considerable time in the sizeable garden at her home in St. Boniface.
“It’s difficult,” she says of the multiple commitments. “Last year was really hard because I had a lot of events that started in August and were supposed to be short-term but are still happening now. This year’s my year of wellness, so I’m letting go of contracts, scaling down, being home more often, doing stuff like that.”
Oh, and she also got married last month in B.C.’s Wasa Lake Provincial Park. Sartison first met Thomas five years ago in Winnipeg. They were pen pals for two years while she lived in Alberta. Then, they had a “wild affair” in a Saskatoon seminary, eventually embarking on a three-month voyage to the Yukon and back. It was a real-life rom-com, or - as Sartison puts it - “a cross-Canada love adventure.”
Plenty’s on the horizon for One Trunk. Sartison’s directing I Dream of Diesel, a collaboration between the collective, musician and former Whose House? star Scott Nolan and Theatre Projects Manitoba; it’ll be closing out the company’s quarter-century celebrations. She’s also in the process of crafting a reinterpretation of Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” for Shakespeare in the Ruins.
“It really has nothing to do with Shakespeare,” she says, laughing.
“When we bought the house, it was very serendipitous: the woman was 97 years old and said, ‘if you buy this house, you will be happy.’ That’s true so far. Her husband used to be the gardener and worked out here relentlessly; everyone who comes by is like, ‘oh, are you Tom’s kids?’ When we moved in last year, it was all weeds; he passed away four years ago, so the garden was just overrun.”
“This is sweetgrass, the sacred grass. Thomas, my husband, does native plant revegetation, so he has all these really interesting varieties of native seeds.”
“The fence reminds me of a national park: this is what it looks like driving to Banff.”
“We’ve got lots of rocks from all over the world, and by world I mean Canada. Thomas is into rocks, but he’s got a friend who’s even more into rocks and he gives us rocks as gifts.”
“This is one of my favourite chairs. My old landlord, who was kind of a jerk, gave me this old, crappy furniture that used to be his mom’s. It was all pink satin. We used it for a while but it was falling apart, so when we moved in here we got it refinished.”
“This is really important, because this is from Wasa Lake. My mom and dad cut this tree down and took off all the bark and lacquered it and carved our initials in a heart. You can just barely see it. It was one of our wedding presents from them. That’s pretty special. But as soon as it came here, it cracked from the humidity.”
“This is also from Wasa Lake. My parents got it from a thrift shop. It’s from an old printer; they’d store all the letters in it. The bullets are Thomas’s. They’re the only small things we have.”
“This one I painted while visiting Thomas at the fishing lodge he worked at. I sat right on the rocks and used the rocks as my paint palette. The plywood was the only thing that was up there.”
“It’s my ode to Alberta, called Betsy. She’s from IKEA.”
For more information on One Trunk, visit onetrunktheatre.com
Published in Volume 69, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 10, 2014)