Winnipeg playwright Debbie Patterson brings Sargent & Victor to life
Sargent & Victor is a famous – and infamous – corner in Winnipeg. It’s also the name of a new one-woman play by Winnipeg playwright and actor Debbie Patterson. She is presenting it on May 31 at the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film as part of Nuna (now).
The intersection of Sargent Avenue and Victor Street was once the heart of Winnipeg’s Icelandic community. More recently it’s turned into a tough neighborhood.
Debbie Patterson interviewed people from the area and created a series of monologues based around these characters.
Let’s meet one of those characters. This is Daniel, who is in his mid 30s and is a food bank client:
I’m the loquacious one.
I enjoy coming to this food bank. It’s a good food bank. Well, it’s very friendly, Mikes’s very friendly. I like the fact that it’s all packed up for you; just have to put it in your bag. And they’re always nice, they’re very nice here. I’ve seen them be nasty. Some places people just turn like vultures. Especially downtown; the Siloam Mission.
I’ve seen a lot of violence around here, too. Oh yeah. When I lived on Victor and um, Wellington I watched this man choking this woman. I was on the phone, I was like “get here fast get here fast,” you know, “he’s choking her”. Yep. Yeah she was alright. I think it was more scared her than anything else. It was a – it was a lovers’ quarrel.
But I’ve had my own run-ins with the law. Oh yes, oh yes. I’ve been tasered. I’ve been pepper sprayed. Uhhh, yup. I’ve been punched in the face. Yes, so I know the police can be very violent around here. Yup. But it was not my best moment.
Oh yeah, I mean, I mean there’s always good ones and bad ones. Ones that abuse their power or don’t really fully understand the situation. And of course, they always have to caution on their – like it’s their life you know. They could get killed, so they always have to make sure that they’re safe that they can go home to their families and their children.
But there are some that do abuse their power.
But, you see, all the crime around here comes from a basis of poverty. But I think it’s not about money. Because granted, most likely if you get more money you’re going to spend it on your vices, so poverty comes from your vices also. The people who drink or do drugs. Oh yes, and around here, there’s also people preying on your vices. But then again, everyone comes from poverty. And just handing money to people does not halt poverty. That’s a hard question. Like I know a lot of people who use the food bank and they think it’s their right to have the food given to them. But it’s not. It’s a service.
I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about food banks and the stuff that they do. In some ways they perpetuate this whole poverty thing by just handing stuff out. But I mean, people are hungry.
View the article online here.