By Shawn Conner at O Canada
16th annual Talking Stick Festival
Feb. 16-26 | Various venues on the traditional unceded territories of the Coast Salish people
Tickets and info: talkingstickfest.ca
Performed hundreds of times over the years, Moonlodge has been the exclusive property of one person — its creator, Margo Kane. That is, until this year’s Talking Stick Festival.
“I believe she did it for 12 or 15 years, and it was entirely hers,” said actor Paula-Jean Prudat. “She also came in at a time when artists weren’t even yet doing solo performance. She was a trailblazer in telling this story. And it is a fictional for her, but it is so honest or true for her.”
At this year’s Talking Stick, the Northern Saskatchewan-raised Prudat will take over the role of the play’s sole character, Agnes. Moonlodge, which premiered in 1990, follows Agnes, who is Cree, from when she was taken from her home as a child until her rediscovery of her roots at a powwow in the United States.
Kane is still involved; she was present when Prudat workshopped the play at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, with director Corey Payette of Vancouver-based First Nations theatre company Urban Ink. As well, Kane’s Full Circle: First Nations Performance theatre company is behind Talking Stick, which is hosting the new production of Moonlodge.
Along with that piece, the annual showcase of aboriginal arts is presenting 11 days of film, theatre, music, and dance.