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LPG Drama Backlist Catalogue: 2015

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God and the Indian
By (author): Drew Hayden Taylor
9780889228443 Book, Trade English General Trade DRAMA / Canadian May 15, 2014
$16.95 CAD
Active 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 in | 0.5 kg 96 pages Talonbooks
While panhandling outside a coffee shop, Johnny, a Cree woman who lives on the streets, is shocked to recognize a face from her childhood, which was spent in a First Nations residential school. Desperate to hear the man acknowledge the terrible abuse he inflicted on her and other children at the school, Johnny follows Anglican bishop George King to his office to confront him. Inside King’s office, Johnny’s memories are fluid, shifting, and her voice cracks with raw emotion. Is the bishop actually guilty of what she claims, or has her ability to recollect been altered by poverty, abuse, and starvation experienced on the streets? Can her memories be trusted? Who is responsible for what? At its core, God and the Indian, by celebrated Aboriginal playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, explores the complex process of healing through dialogue. Loosely based on Death and the Maiden by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman, the play identifies the ambiguities that frame past traumatic events. Against the backdrop of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which has facilitated the recent outpouring of stories from First Nations residential school survivors across the country, the play explores what is possible when the abused meets the abuser and is given a free forum for expression.

Ojibway writer Drew Hayden Taylor is from the Curve Lake Reserve in Ontario. Hailed by the Montreal Gazette as one of Canada’s leading Native dramatists, he writes for the screen as well as the stage and contributes regularly to North American Native periodicals and national newspapers. His plays have garnered many prestigious awards, and his beguiling and perceptive storytelling style has enthralled audiences in Canada, the United States and Germany. His 1998 play Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth has been anthologized in Seventh Generation: An Anthology of Native American Plays, published by the Theatre Communications Group. Although based in Toronto, Taylor has traveled extensively throughout North America, honoring requests to read from his work and to attend arts festivals, workshops and productions of his plays. He was also invited to Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in California, where he taught a series of seminars on the depiction of Native characters in fiction, drama and film. One of his most established bodies of work includes what he calls the Blues Quartet, an ongoing, outrageous and often farcical examination of Native and non-Native stereotypes.

Among Taylor’s many awards are: the Canada Council Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for Theatre (2009); the Governor General’s Award for Drama, Nominee (2006) In a World Created by a Drunken God ; the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, Nominee (2005); James Buller Aboriginal Theatre Award for Playwright of the Year (1997) Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth; and the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, Small Theatre Division (1996) Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth.

“A respectful treatment of one of the most painful chapters in Canadian history … We need to hear the stories Taylor is telling in God and the Indian.”
Georgia Straight

“A moving and meaningful reconciliation drama, God and the Indian asks powerful questions and doesn’t give easy answers”
PRISM Magazine

“There’s truth and there’s reconciliation, but what about good old-fashioned revenge? … God and the Indian is a departure for Taylor, known for his earthy, accessible and occasionally outrageous sense of humour. His past work has been primarily comic, his Blues Quartet series of plays penned specifically as a way to counter a preponderance of “tragic” or “stoic” portrayals of Canada’s First Nations people. … Though it toys with revenge tragedy, God and the Indian ultimately shares in the purpose of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada that is winding down its work the day after the play closes in Vancouver. It’s fuelled by the desire for the stories of residential schools to be shared and listened to and for what happened to be remembered – and for bystanders as well as perpetrators to accept responsibility, and accept that responsibility does not end with official apologies and photo ops.”
Globe & Mail

“Taylor’s script digs deep into the uncomfortable side of reconciliation, questioning the worth of official apologies and asking who gets left out of the official processes. … The humour can be hard to connect with, coming as it does amid stories of trauma and abuse, but it feels true to the character. … It’s not a script that pins things down neatly, preferring to revel in the ambiguity of memory, forcing the audience to interrogate who they believe and why. Is Johnny mixing up the terrible events of her childhood or is the assistant bishop lying? … The story becomes a kind of endless dance of guilt and trauma that can be overwhelming for an audience hoping for a clear resolution. For those who are wrought by the experience, support workers from the Indian Residential School Survivors Society attend every show. For the rest of us, these are the kind of stories we need to hear over and over, no matter how uncomfortable they might be.”
Vancouver Sun

“…an emotional experience. We witness an aboriginal woman, a survivor of abuse she endured while in the residential school system, face her abuser in his office. They engage in this highly tense argument that has crescendos and moments of total mental fatigue. And we, as the viewers, aren’t entirely sure of whose account we believe. Talking about the power of humour in the context of this play might seem a bit disjunctive. But in God and the Indian, humour is essential, powerful, and heartbreaking.”

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