The one-of-a-kind presentation of Tales of an Urban Indian, written by CBC’s Darrell Dennis, produced by Talk Is Free Theatre and starring Craig Lauzon of the Royal Canadian Air Farce, literally rolls into Mississauga in May.
Tales of an Urban Indian is a semi-autobiographical story of Simon Douglas, a contemporary First Nations man raised on a reserve in British Columbia and the streets of downtown Vancouver, and the array of characters that come in and out of Simon Douglas’ life. The dark comedy had been playing from coast to coast in traditional theatre settings until Arkady Spivak, Talk Is Free Theatres artistic producer, programmed the show this season and then lost his performance venue due to construction.
“Initially it was more out of desperation to find the production a home than trying to be different,” said Arkady. “The rest, as they say, is history.”
Director Herbie Barnes agrees. saying
“We found a number of different little gifts the bus gave us … there is an incredible level of intimacy that you can’t get in a theatre because you’re sitting directly beside someone (on a moving bus),” he said. “You can’t escape hearing the story, you have to be part of that story.”
And so, Tales of an Urban Indian will unfold on a City of Mississauga MiWay transit bus making stops at key points in the journey.
A tour-de-force for the solo performer, Tales of an Urban Indian examines issues of race, identity and assimilation while offering themes of survival, forgiveness, and ultimately hope.
“I wanted to tell a story in which an Indigenous character is not defeated by his victimization, but rather, comes to the realization that all human beings possess the power of choice when reacting to their life experience,” said Indigenous playwright Darrell Dennis. “It was also important, in dealing with the difficult subject matter … to approach it from a humourous point of view, since humour is perhaps the most important and prevalent survival mechanism in Indigenous society.”
“Tales of an Urban Indian is masterfully performed by Canadian actor, writer, comedian Craig Lauzon, who is of Ojibwa descent,” adds Natalie Lue, Living Arts Centre CEO. “It’s a tale about one man but tells a story that is all too real and all too common. We can’t thank Arkady Spivak and Talk Is Free Theatre enough for bringing this incredible production to the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga.”
“We are delighted to come to Mississauga,” said Arcady, “Mississauga’s population is one of the most diverse on every level and we feel that this project completely reflects it … you never know, that stranger sitting next to you on the bus could have a story to share.”
Performances run from May 22 to June 3 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. There are only 35 seats on the bus so book now, online, at www.livingartscentre.ca or call the box office 905-306-6000.