October 18, 2010 The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance continues its 2010-2011 production season with "Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout." Tomson Highway's sly and dark comedy depicts four First Nations women as they prepare for the 1910 visit of the Canadian prime minister to their traditional lands.
Directed by Professor of Theatre Rebecca Hilliker, "Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout," runs Oct. 26-30 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center Studio Theatre. Tickets cost $14 for the public, $11 for senior citizens and $7 for students. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666 or go online at www.uwyo.edu/finearts.
A post-show discussion will be held in conjunction with the performance Thursday, Oct. 28.
Drawing directly from the Laurier Memorial, a deposition signed by 14 chiefs of the Thompson River Valley, "Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout" is a vivid and gripping examination of the cultural genocide of the Shuswap Nation of British Columbia. Celebrated playwright and novelist Tomson Highway is widely recognized for his tremendous contribution to the development of Aboriginal theater in both Canada and around the world. In 1994, he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the first Aboriginal writer to be so honored.
"'Ernestine Shuswap' is one of the most compelling plays about social issues that I have seen in a long while," said Hilliker. "It's really a poignant piece, and it raises issues that we really need to talk about in this country."
Written in the spirit of Coyote, in "Trickster language," the women argue, joke, rant and grieve together, the hysterically comic spilling over into the unutterably tragic and back again.
"It's ironic that in the U.S. we talk about other countries needing to own up to cultural and literal genocide, and the results of colonialism, but we still deny these realities in our own history," noted Hilliker.
"We think that these conversations are over, but they've never really happened. Plays like ‘Ernestine' can help to bridge that gap," she added.
Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010