Friday, April 07, 2006

Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapukasing - [March/06]

This is another play that I attempted to read over the last couple months. It was written by a Canadian, actually, and deals with Native rights as the main issue of the story. The play takes place at a fictional Native reserve in Canada. There are many characters to the play, but only one female role, the rest of the characters are men. One of the main things that happens in the play is that the women of the reserve decide that they want to play ice hockey, Canada's favourite pasttime. All the men of the play are big hockey fanatics, and they attempt to be understanding to the women and their attempt to be different. The play also covers Native stereotypes, for example one of the children in the play has fetal alcohol syndrome because his mother drank. A past time that is stereotypically placed with all Natives. The author does not necessarily say that the stereotypes are true, he just shows what could happen if they were. The big theme to this play, though, is lose of identity. By watching the scenes play out, you see that these Natives quite similarly to white man. They have lost the things that made them individuals, and the author tries to bring them back. He shows that religion has either been adapted to meet the white mans views or has to be risque and dangerous to get noticed. One of the men in the play is obsessed with this lose of identity and during the course of the play brings back his native traditions in small quantities.

Overall, not a bad play, but I found it not as readable as others. It is probably much better if you get to see it first hand.



  1. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Your understanding of the play is flawed. It's of no real relevance other than you have posted your opinions to an open forum. I suggest you re-read the play if you intend to write about it, and furthermore, it wouldn't hurt to do a spell-check either.

  2. Anonymous5:10 PM

    I've seen this play firsthand and it is incredible. Very powerful and eerily familiar for all Canadians and Natives in the audience.

    I don't completely agree or disagree with what you've said. I do believe, however, that the themes lie much deeply than what you have mentioned.

    For example, there is the prevalent theme of gender roles. Throughout the play Big Joey is accused of not-being man enough to keep his girlfriend from drinking, causing fetal alcohol syndrome in his son. Then there is the noticeable gender role switches, where Spooky LaCroix knits, and Zachary bakes, while the women are off doing Hockey. Some people accuse this play of being chauvenistic, but considering the playwright, his beliefs and experienced, I disagree and believe that it is uplifting for women. It brings up men's unrealistic views of women; when Nanabush wears fake breasts, and when Pattie wears a fake bum. Characters in the play even admit that they hate women; this theme is incredibly prevalent in this play.

    Of course there is also the theme of "what do I follow?" Native religion or Christianity? The character Simon clearly follows only Native Religion, while Spooky LaCroix follows only Christianity, and Zachary, for example, follows neither. There is a scene in this play that is a metaphor for how the Catholic church "raped" Native culture, a very heavily talked upon topic in Canada. In this scene, the father watches and says nothing, does nothing, does not save the girl, a metaphor for how the priests, "fathers", watched as horrendous acts were done in residential schools and not only did nothing, but covered up the abusers (allowing them to continue abusing).

    I can imagine that if you know little about Aborijinal history and beliefs, you may find this play hard to follow. For example the character Nanabush, who is incredibly important to this play, is also incredibly important in Native culture. This spirit is called the "trickster". S/He is neither female, nor male, nor neither. She tricks people into doing things in order to teach them a lesson. Also there is the native belief of dreams. Dreams are seen as a doorway to other worlds. Without this knowledge, I can imagine that this would be a confusing play.

    There are many themes in this play worth touching upon, but alas, I can't cover them all. Overall this is an incredible play. If you have the chance to see it produced, go and see it.


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