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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
Marie Clements’s latest play sears a dramatic swath through the reactionary identity politics of race, gender and class, using the penetrating yellow-white light, the false sun of uranium and radium, derived from a coal black rock known as pitchblende, as a metaphor for the invisible, malignant evils everywhere poisoning our relationship to the earth and to each other.
Burning Vision unmasks both the great lies of the imperialist power-elite (telling the miners they are digging for a substance to “cure cancer” while secretly using it to build the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki); and the seemingly small rationalizations and accommodations people of all cultures construct to make their personal circumstances yield the greatest benefit to themselves for the least amount of effort or change on their part. It is also a scathing attack on the “public apology” as yet another mask, as a manipulative device, which always seeks to conceal the maintenance and furtherance of the self-interest of its wearer.
Clements’s powerful visual sets and soundscapes contain curtains of flames which at times assume the bodies of a chorus passing its remote judgment, devoid of both pity and fear, on the action: a merciless indictment of the cross-cultural, buried worm of avarice and self-interest hidden within the terrorism of the push to “go with the times,” to accept the iconography of a reality defined, contextualized and illuminated by others.
Marie Clements writes, or, perhaps more accurately, composes, with an urbane, incisive and sophisticated intellect deeply rooted in the particulars of her place, time and history.
Cast of 5 women and 12 men.
ISBN 13: 9780889224728 | ISBN 10: 889224722
6 W x 9 H inches | 128 pages
$17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“Clements covers a lot of ground, but she knows her territory and travels it deftly… Clements dips her pen in numerous cross-cultural references, from cherry trees to caribou to Hank Williams, and writes with a magical irreverence that highlights this tragic saga. Her rich poetic style evokes parallels between Japanese and native myths – not unlike Yeats’ Noh Plays where Celtic and Japanese myths meld – finding connection through ancient truths and the power of the soil, except in this case the soil is literally explosive.” – Quill & Quire
Winner of the 2004 Canada Japan Literary Award English-Language
Finalist for the 2003 Governor General’s Literary Award
Finalist for the 2002 Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Original Play or Musical: Small Theatre (Rumble Productions)
About the ContributorsMarie Clements
Marie Clements is an award-winning Métis performer, playwright and director whose work has been presented on stages across Canada, the United States and Europe. A fellowship award from the BC Film Commission enabled her to develop the film adaptation of her stage play, The Unnatural and Accidental Women. She is also a regular contributor on CBC Radio. The world premiere of Copper Thunderbird is the first time Canada’s National Arts Centre has produced the work of a First Nations playwright on its main stage.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF); and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.