Playwright Kevin Loring calls on Trickster tradition to tell the satirical story of Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer
What would you do if a company moved into your backyard – and said it was now their backyard?
That’s the dilemma facing Red, the last remaining member of the Little Red Warrior Nation, who realizes one day that a commercial real estate developer has violated his traditional territory.
Red reacts angrily, lands in legal hot water and before long ends up living in the spare bedroom of the court-appointed lawyer representing him.
Theatre Calgary’s production (in partnership with Making Treaty 7) of Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer, by Governor-General Award-winning playwright Kevin Loring, opens Friday at the Max Bell Theatre at Arts Commons.
And while the world of Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer is fictional, it isn’t far removed from the origin story of Canada – or an incident Loring found himself engaged with that spurred his writing.
“I was inspired to write this piece many years ago when I (was) involved in an effort to save an old growth watershed in the Fraser Canyon,” Loring said in a release.
“That experience provoked me (to) think about colonialism and sovereignty and our relationship to the land. It also made me think about what we sacrifice when we engage with the systems that oppress us.”
Canadian playwright Kevin Loring is pictured at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Thursday, April 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
“When I was writing the first drafts of this play, I was thinking about the Trickster stories I knew. Many Trickster stories are absurd and often very sexual. They are stories of transformation and deception, where nothing is as it seems.
“This is a Trickster fable about land claims, colonialism and lust,” he adds, “where nothing is sacred and no one walks away unscathed.”
The production is being presented in conjunction with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, where Loring is the artistic director of Indigenous programming, Victoria’s Belfry Theatre, and Vancouver’s Savage Society.
INDIGENOUS GREETERS WANTED
Making Treaty 7 is looking for Indigenous greeters to help welcome folks throughout the production. They posted a signup sheet on social media and are offering a Making Treaty 7 t-shirt to anyone who volunteers.
Volunteers also get to see the show for free (there are also $20 Indigenous community tickets available throughout the run).
For Making Treaty 7 artistic director Michelle Thrush, whose company is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Feb. 17, the production of an Indigenous playwright’s work in the biggest theatre in the city is a cause for celebration.
“The presence of Indigenous arts here in Calgary is something Making Treaty 7 holds high and we are committed to bringing the best quality theatre to our audiences. Theatre Calgary has taken on a commitment of honouring Indigenous stories and this new partnership has been a wonderful and rewarding journey.”
“We look to theatre to highlight the stories of the community we live in, or to show us stories we have not heard before,” said Theatre Calgary executive director Maya Choldin. “The same can be said for working with other important arts organizations in our city, especially those who we have not partnered with before, like the wonderful artists at Making Treaty 7.”
Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer runs through Feb.19. Tickets are available here.
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