Monday, March 14, 2011

Thompson's Highway to Hell...for Native Theatre!!

I felt a single glistening tear spill from my duct and slowly make its way down my high cheekboned face as I came to the sad realization that when you are right, you are right, and these guys are right. I mean how couldn’t they be right, right? They are R.H Thomson and Paul Thompson, you don’t get more respected in theatre in Canada than these guys are; let alone Native theatre. Right? While I was sitting at the opening of Métis playwright Marie Clements’ aptly named Tombs of the Vanishing Indian co-produced by Native Earth Performing Arts and red diva projects, I thought the same thing. No one and nothing relevant is happening in Native theatre, not in years.
This litter strewn hillside that is Native theatre, will, no matter the efforts of Native Earth, red diva projects, Saskatchewan Native Theatre Centre, Full Circle: First Nations Performance, Cheyikwe Performance, Red Sky Performance, Kaha:wi Dance and Alberta Aboriginal Arts never amount to anything. Not even Kenneth T. Williams who in the past eighteen months has had shows like Thunderstick, Bannock Republic, Three Little Birds, Gordon Winter and Café Daughter produced from the Yukon (Gwaandak Theatre) to Ottawa (NAC) can save it. I also thought about how futile meager works like Dreary and Izzy, Quilchena, free as injuns or any of the other 16 plays written by Dora award winning playwright and new Artistic Director of NEPA Tara Beagan have been. I have no idea why companies continue to produce Annie Mae’s Movement by former NEPA Artistic Director Yvette Nolan. Don’t even get me started on Kevin Loring, Alanis King, Drew Hayden Taylor, Darrell Dennis, Daniel David Moses and The Turtle Gals. Why is all this effort put into these festivals like Weesageechak Begins to Dance or the Talking Stick Festival when nothing worthwhile is being produced?
Without an Avatar or Dances with Wolves-like white male to champion our cause how will we ever be important again? Where are you Jake Scully? Why have you abandoned us John Dunbar? Please help us…what was the guys name in Little Big Man againCue the tomahawk music: duuuuuu, du, du, dudu, du, dum.

- Contributed by  Craig Lauzon 

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