Sir John A.
Drew Hayden Taylor
An uproariously funny and sharply inquisitive new play from one of Canada’s leading Indigenous playwrights, Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion explores the possibility of reconciliation between Peoples and urgently questions past and contemporary forms of Canadian colonialism. Taylor’s twenty-seventh play, Sir John A’s characters include Canada’s infamous first Prime Minister, red-nosed and pompous, full of patriarchal contempt for those “strange and perplexing Indians,” and his contemporary accusers: two Ojibway men and a soul-searching white woman.
Bobby Rabbit, Sir John A’s irked, Anishinaabe main character, in a fit of anger and revenge, convinces his friend Hugh to accompany him on a “sojourn of justice”: to dig up Sir John A. Macdonald’s bones and hold them for ransom. Decades before, a medicine pouch belonging to Bobby’s grandfather was taken away by the staff of the residential school where he was detained. The precious object was sent to a British Museum exhibition room for conservation – and now Bobby wants it repatriated. Along the way the pair pick up Anya, a young, bright, and opinionated woman fleeing a bad breakup, with conflicting ideas about Sir John A’s place in Canadian history. Not to be left out of the argument, Canada’s first Prime Minister, broadcasting live from nineteenth-century Ottawa, shows up with opinions of his own.
Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion is a powerful satire, a creative debate about the past violences of colonial racism and the as yet untested potentiality of restoring harmony between Peoples in Canada. A contemporary classic by Taylor!