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Cottagers and Indians
November 28 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
One event on November 29, 2018 at 7:00pm
One of Canada’s most successful and prolific writers, the author of dozens of books and plays that have been performed around the world, hails from Curve Lake First Nation. Award-winning playwright Drew Hayden Taylor’s most recent play, a sold-out hit at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre last season, is coming to Peterborough on a tour that takes the show to twelve communities around Ontario.
But this engagement is special, as it brings the play close to its roots: Cottagers and Indians is inspired by media reports which surfaced in 2015, describing a years-long dispute between cottage owners on Pigeon Lake and a rice farmer from Curve Lake First Nation, James Whetung. The issue is still very much in the news, as a recent public meeting about the dispute drew over 300 people.
In the play, Arthur Copper (played by Herbie Barnes) of the Anishinaabe First Nation and Maureen Poole (payed by Brooke Johnson) of North York both feel like the other has infringed on their land. But unlike most petty fights over land, this one pokes holes in the very concept of private land ownership: who remains the rightful caretakers of this land?
Cottagers and Indians tells the story of an unravelling neighbourly feud with a significant twist, epitomizing the differences between cultures, economic status, and people. Taylor uses humour to expose the absurdity that comes from these kinds of arguments, and touches on the severity of its historical implications. The play gives audiences a sincere and pragmatic look at the current conflicts between First Nations’ traditional water usage and property owners in cottage country who are looking to enjoy their summer homes.
Like much of Drew Hayden Taylor’s work, Cottagers and Indians cleverly uses humour to deliver a story with serious subject matter. As he says “I’m a firm believer that you can teach, you can explore, you can heal through humour as much as you can through anger or sadness.”
FREE PUBLIC TALK
To hear more about how the play came about and the issues it addresses, there will be a free talk with Drew Hayden Taylor, James Whetung and elder Doug Williams on November 14 at 7:30pm at Market Hall. Moderated by Anne Taylor, Anishinaabemowin Coordinator for Curve Lake First Nation, the talk is sponsored by Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent University and Public Energy Performing Arts.
LOCAL ARTISTS INVOLVEMENT Drew Hayden Taylor is not the only area artist involved with Cottagers and Indians. The original production was directed by Patti Shaughnessy, a theatre artist who is a member of Curve Lake First Nation, and musician/composer Beau Dixon has created the evocative sound.
TRENT UNIVERSITY SPONSORS Five programs at Trent University have contribute support for Cottagers and Indians in Peterborough: Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, School of the Environment, Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences Program, Masters in Sustainability Studies, Cultural Studies,School for the Study of Canada
Public Energy presents the Tarragon Theatre production of
Cottagers and Indians
November 28 at 12:30pm* and 7pm*
November 29 at 12:30pm* and 7pm**
Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, 140 Charlotte St, Peterborough
*These shows are followed by Q&A with the artists on stage
**This show is followed by a reception with the artists in the lobby
Tickets: $30 / $20 students, seniors, underwaged / $8 high school students
Available at markethall.org
Written by Drew Hayden Taylor
Remount Directed by Melody Johnson
Original Direction by Patti Shaughnessy
Set Design by Robin Fisher
Costume Design by Sage Paul
Lighting Design by Nick Andison
Sound Design by Beau Dixon
Stage Management by Kate Redding