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Sunday March 28, 2010 in Books
A consortium of German developers shows up on the fictional Otter Lake Reserve with a seemingly irresistible offer to improve the local economy: the creation of “Ojibway World,” a Native theme park designed to attract European tourists, causing hilarious personal and political divisions within the local community.
The Berlin Blues concludes Drew Hayden Taylor’s Blues quartet, showcasing contemporary stereotypes of First Nations people, including a fair number that originate from Indigenous communities themselves, to the often outraged delight of his international audiences.
Yet Europeans and other ethnic groups are not exempt from Taylor’s incisive but good-humoured caricatures. Central to the motivation of these German developers are the hugely successful and best-selling adventure novels of the German author Karl May, whose work Adolf Hitler recommended as “good wholesome reading for all ages.” Written in the early twentieth century, they popularized Rousseau’s image of Indigenous peoples as “Noble Savages” among European, and especially German youth, and have led to the creation of Karl May theme parks all over central Europe, where adult tourists can shed their inhibitions and play Cowboys and Indians with a seriousness as ridiculous as it is abandoned. This is identity politics stripped of its politically correct hyper-seriousness and dramatized to its absurd and ultimately hilarious conclusion.
The Berlin Blues premiered in Los Angeles at Native Voices in February 2007, touring to New York (at the Museum of the American Indian), and then to the museum in Washington D.C. the following May, followed by a reading tour in Germany. In Canada it was produced at Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay in January 2008, and then by Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon.
Cast of 3 women and 3 men.
ISBN 13: 9780889225817 | ISBN 10: 889225818
5.5 W x 8.5 H inches | 96 pages
$17.95 CAN / $17.95 US
Backlist | Drama | Bisac: DRA013000
QUOTES OF NOTE
“This play displays a healthy sense of humor…If one needs an innocuous night of theatre, this can be taken as a series of funny events. Those hoping for something deeper can find allegories and metaphors pointing through history.”
– LA Splash
"Drew Hayden Taylor has produced an accomplished series of comedies about reserve life that are consummate in their dramatic mechanics … The Berlin Blues may be breezy sitcom, but it has a point to make and is masterfully done."
– Canadian Literature
About the ContributorsDrew Hayden Taylor
Hailed by the Montreal Gazette as one of Canada’s leading Native dramatists, Drew Hayden Taylor writes for the screen as well as the stage and contributes regularly to North American Native periodicals and national newspapers. His plays have garnered many prestigious awards, and his beguiling and perceptive storytelling style has enthralled audiences in Canada, the United States and Germany. One of his most established bodies of work includes what he calls the Blues Quartet, an ongoing, outrageous and often farcical examination of Native and non-Native stereotypes.
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.