God and the Indian Firehall Arts Centre
God and the Indian by Drew Hayden Taylor

Dates and Venue 10 - 20 April 2013, 8pm | Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St., Vancouver

Reviewer Karen Fitzgibbon

This play may strike a chord of hurt and anger for anyone in the audience who had to endure abuse as a native in our Residential School system. It's about Jonny (Tantoo Cardinal), a Cree Indian woman. She is in Tim Horton’s when she spots a man that she recognizes from her dark past. She decides to follow him. He is Assistant Bishop George King (Michael Kopsa). It has been 40 years but she will always recognise him as a central figure in her abuse along with the other evil men who ran St. David’s School. She follows him into his office and confronts him about her abuse and the death of her brother in the nine months that she attended the school. She tries to make him confess to the evil he did many years ago..

Cardinal executed her role well: dramatic, confrontational, hurt. At times, she throws in her incredible sense of humour. When King nervously asks her if she wants a drink, she snaps back with “It's only 10 o’clock in the morning. Maybe you need counselling!”.

This is a poignant play of destroyed lives; Jonny is a woman now in her 50s living on the street in a horrible life of drugs and alcohol which no doubt was the result of the abuse she experienced in her young innocent years.

Kopso’s portrayal of King was well done. He made us dislike King, distrust him and some may feel hatred towards him. Kopso makes us feel the true cowardice of the man. Cardinal portrayed her anger well, and also showed great pride for her native heritage. Her strength, intelligence and  unrelenting accusations made King  weak and having to live the rest of his life watching his back.

This play is well written, directed and acted. It is a tad drawn out, but it’s a successful thought-provoking drama.

© 2013 Karen Fitzgibbon