The Weyburn Project
In my position as director of this project I have often felt like the poor beggar from the tale of The Bone Button Borscht. I came to town, a stranger, with nothing more than an idea and the experience of the road that has brought me here. As the story goes, the beggar makes a miraculous claim that with just four buttons, he’s just one button short of making a borscht for the whole town. Gradually he gains allies who become equally passionate about materializing the miracle. With a sense of ‘What’s it going to hurt, maybe we’ll have a miracle’, peoples’ curiosity slowly but surely brings them to the site of creation; as the beggar stirs the concoction, each one asks, in turn, ‘What could make it better?’ In this way, they all contribute whatever unique ingredient they have. With each offering, the borscht becomes richer, tastier, and essentially a mosaic of the community brought together to make it. Eventually the beggar leaves, the townsfolk plead with him to leave his magic ingredient (the buttons) behind, which he does. The years pass, one by one the beggar’s buttons are lost; but it is a strange thing, a wonder perhaps, the townsfolk learn they didn’t need the buttons. They learned to make borscht together without them, and they learned to help one another without borscht, even in the hard times. That was the real miracle the beggar left behind.
More so than any other performance in my experience, The Weyburn Project has come to fruition through the hard work and contribution of many dedicated people, and on the strength of many wonderful relationships. These relationships span not only the many skills and perspectives of the different artistic disciplines woven together here, but also the relationships forged between communities – of artists, healthcare providers, heritage and folklore conservationists, and others dedicated to the history of this fine building. This project possesses the miracle of many peoples’ concern and passion for a building that is essentially a metaphor for the dream and reality – however harsh at times – of universal public healthcare.