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Tales of an Urban Indian

Co-production with Native Earth Performing Arts, in collaboration with O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk Collective

May 5 & 6, 2006 @ 8PM

Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, 336 George St. N

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Call for reservations and group rates: (705) 745-1788
Tickets: $15 / $10 students, seniors, underemployed
Recommended ages 13+

“…Energetic, exciting and entirely original..”
~ Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun

By  Darrell Dennis
Directed by Yvette Nolan
Starring Brandon Oakes
Designed by Christine Plunkett
Music by Cathy Nosaty

Native Earth Performing Arts’ hit production of Tales of an Urban Indian is on tour once again. After its Toronto premiere in 2003, this startlingly honest play by one of Canada’s hottest young comic/playwrights, Darrell Dennis, has played across Canada for two years.

Tales of an Urban Indian: A description
Tales of An Urban Indian is the story of Simon Douglas, a contemporary First Nations male, born on a reserve in British Columbia in the 1970s and raised both on the reserve and in the city of Vancouver. The story is a semi-autobiographical tale about a kid growing up. Told entirely from a personal perspective, Tales of an Urban Indian conjures up an array of characters that come in and out of Simon’s life as seen through Simon’s eyes. His friends on the reserve, his mother and grandmother, his girlfriends and every other character are all portrayed through Simon’s mimicry. At the outset Simon explains that he is just like most people, a regular guy with a very common story to tell. As his story unfolds, layers of his character are revealed, as are the lessons he has learned in life that have molded him into the person he is now, telling the story.

A note from the playwright, Darrell Dennis
“Tales of an Urban Indian was written not only to shed light on the experiences of my own life, but to investigate the factors that might lead a young man, Native or non-Native, down a path of self-destruction. I wanted to tell a story in which a First Nations 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. It was also important, in dealing with the difficult subject matter that I do in this play, to approach it from a humorous point of view, since humour is perhaps the most important and prevalent survival mechanisms in Native society. Most importantly though, I wanted to write the sort of play that I would want to see: one that is provocative, wildly entertaining, and very funny.”

“In Tales of an Urban Indian, he cuts to the core of the experience of a modern day Suswap “Indian” faster than you can say “Bannock”.” ~ Ryan Kuhn, Kamloops This Week

“POWERFUL TALES…storytelling with a generous dollop of stand-up…tells a straightforward, semi-autobiographical story with power and honesty.” ~ Robert Crew, The Toronto Star

“…sophisticated, humbling and at times biting expose on the human condition and the foibles and flaws within us all.” ~ Linda Maehaus, The Thunderbay Source

ImageDarrell Dennis – Playwright
Playwright-performer Darrell Dennis was nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2004, for Best New Play and Outstanding Male Performance. His two produced plays have been recently published by Playwrights Canada Press (Trickster of Third Avenue East and Tales of an Urban Indian). He wrote the short film Moccasin Flats that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. After two years with the Second City Touring Company, Darrell co-founded the comedy troupe Tonto’s Nephews, and is currently working on a radio drama adaptation for Native Earth. Darrell is perhaps best known for his roles in Northwood, The Rez, and as the host of Bingo And A Movie.
ImageBrandon Oakes – Actor
Brandon or Ratsienhononron (Important Fire) (Bear Clan) is a Mohawk from Akwesasne (The land where the Partridge Drum). As an actor, he has proven himself equally adept onstage, appearing in Spirit: the 7th Fire and Figaro (1996) and on camera, Shirley Cheechoo’s In Shadow (Sundance Film Festival 2004), Johnny Too Tall (Imaginenative Film Festival 2005), and Kent Menkinan’s award-winning short, Blood River. A talented actor, dancer, artist and poet, Brandon has attended training at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre and the Banff Centre for the Arts and is currently based in Toronto, Canada. Brandon is a Traditional Dancer as well as a Hoop Dancer performing and touring extensively throughout Turtle Island with Kanata Native Dance Theatre and Red Thunder out of Calgary, Alberta. He has appeared as a dancer in The Cleaners, as “Moon” in the dynamic Traditional Native/Contemporary fusion Tribe in Minneapolis, in Bones: Aboriginal Dance Opera in 2001 and Minnegeweezzin: The Gift in 2002.

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