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Monday January 8, 2018 in Books
The two one-act plays in Talkerâ€™s Town and The Girl Who Swam Forever are set in a small B.C. mill town in the 1960s. They portray identical characters and action from entirely different gender and cultural perspectives. In many ways, the two separate works are inter-related coming-of-age stories, with transformation as a key theme.
The central action in both plays involves an Aboriginal girl, Roberta Bob, who escapes from a residential school and hides out by the river. In Nelson Grayâ€™s Talkerâ€™s Town, the story is conveyed by a teenage non- Indigenous boy whose friend has had a relationship with the girl and whose attempts to hush up the affair lead to disastrous consequences. In Marie Clementsâ€™s The Girl Who Swam Forever, the action unfolds from the perspective of the girl, who â€“ to claim her past and secure her future â€“ must undergo a shape-shifting transformation and meet her grandmotherâ€™s ancestral spirit in the form of a hundred-year-old sturgeon.
Employing a single setting and working with the same set of characters, the playwrights have created two radically different fictional worlds, one Aboriginal and one non-Aboriginal. Published together, the plays form a fascinating diptych that reveals rifts between Indigenous and colonial/settler histories and provides a vehicle for cultural exchange. As a starting point for trans-cultural dialogue, this set of plays will be of interest to educators, theatre directors, and the general reader interested in the current discourse arising from Canadaâ€™s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Idle No More, and the Indigenous Rights Movement happening throughout North America. Read as a set, these two plays also invite conversations about negotiating creative boundaries, particularly with respect to eco-centric politics and cultural appropriation.
Talkerâ€™s Town: cast of 5 men and 1 woman.
The Girl Who Swam Forever: cast of 2 women and 2 men.
ISBN 13: 9781772012019 | ISBN 10:
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 160 pages
$18.95 CAN / $18.95 US
Frontlist | Drama
About the ContributorsMarie Clements
Marie Clements is an award-winning MÃ©tis 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 Canadaâ€™s National Arts Centre has produced the work of a First Nations playwright on its main stage.Nelson Gray
Nelson Gray is a playwright, poet, director, theatre scholar, and a professor in the English Department at Vancouver Island University.
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.