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by Dale Bass
With age comes wisdom — and also knowledge.
And, knowing what happened in the former Kamloops Residential School was disturbing to the cast and crew of Where the Blood Mixes as they walked its halls heading to a rehearsal hall, said its director, Bradley Moss.
The play, written by First Nations playwright Kevin Loring of Lillooett — formerly known as Kumsheen — tells the story of two school survivors who, as adults, are grappling with the demons spawned by abuse at the school.
“It was kind of painful, to be honest,” Moss said of the time they spent at the former school.
“You can feel the pain in the halls.
“It’s great to have new life there now, but the realization, for me, of how many stories are there and knowing Kamloops’ [residential school] was one of the worst in the country, well, there’s an ocean of sadness there and the depth of it gets to be unbelievable.”
That sadness permeates Where the Blood Mixes but never overwhelms it, Moss said.
“It’s about trying to move on but having all the wrong tools. It tells a story that needs to be told but it is also a super-funny play.”
The story is of the friendship between Mooch and Floyd.
Set during the salmon run, the pair’s existence — fishing and drinking — is disrupted by news Floyd’s daughter, taken into care by the government adoption as a child, is coming to Kumsheen to learn about her family.
“She’s the catalyst for them to look at their lives and move forward,” Moss said, as the daughter, in asking questions about the past, forces the pair to confront where they came from.
Craig Lauzon is Mooch and Lorne Cardinal is Floyd, both reprising roles they have performed before with Moss as director.
The pair also starred in Thunderstick at Pavilion Theatre two years ago, another play directed by Moss.
In fact, the Edmonton-based director said, it was Cardinal who brought the Loring play to his attention just after it was published in 2008.
“He said to me, ‘It’s going to be great. You should do it’,” Moss said.
The production, which includes Robert Benz as George, the bartender and only white character, Sera-Lys McArthur as the daughter, Christine, and Michaela Washburn as June, Mooch’s wife, will hit the road after its Kamloops performances, heading to Edmonton and Hamilton early next year.
It will also be taken to Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.
Loring’s play, which won the Governor General’s Award, has a history with WCT.
The theatre received a grant from Arts Partners in Creative Development in 2008 to develop the script.
It did this by touring the play in a workshop model, with the late David Ross, a former artistic director at the theatre, in the role of George.
The play run continues to October 20, 2012.
This article first appeared in Kamloops This Week on October 11, 2012.