Preview: Rice vs recreation at coronary heart of ongoing feud in Lunchbox Theatre's Cottagers and Indians

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It’s not simply in regards to the rice.

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Cottagers and Indians, the ultimate play of Lunchbox Theatre’s present season, appears on the ongoing feud between the Indigenous residents of Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes area and the homeowners of the lakeside properties and adjoining waterways.

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The longtime Indigenous residents really feel it’s their proper to plant wild rice within the lake and waterways as a result of it is a vital staple of their weight loss plan. The issue for the cottagers is that, when the rice is mature, it rises nearly a metre above water degree. They really feel this not solely interferes with swimming, fishing and boating however has lowered their property values.

Drew Hayden Taylor, the Ontario journalist, novelist, and playwright who wrote Cottagers and Indians, says his play “is about cultures, land, histories and water. It’s an even bigger story than the rice.”

The thought of this story of a feud between neighbours was dropped at Taylor in 2017 by Richard Rose who was, on the time, the creative director of Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre.

“Richard was sitting in a restaurant in New York Metropolis studying a world paper when he got here throughout an article about this ongoing feud over wild rice in Kawartha. He remembered I used to be from the world so when he obtained again to Toronto he phoned, despatched me the article, and requested if I believed there was a play someplace in there,” remembers Taylor, including that, earlier than he learn the article, he “questioned what might presumably be dramatic a couple of bag of rice.”

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After studying the article, Taylor first put himself into the mindset of the Indigenous residents after which seemed on the subject from the angle of somebody who had invested hundreds of thousands in certainly one of these properties.

“Richard was proper. The story was all there, however then I obtained one other name from him not lengthy after telling me he’d misplaced a play from his upcoming season and will I’ve Cottagers and Indians prepared in six months, which I did. The manufacturing offered out its five-week run and he introduced it again the subsequent yr and it offered out three extra weeks. Because the pandemic ended, Cottagers and Indians has had at the least eight extra productions in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, in Edmonton and on the Blyth Pageant and now in Calgary. It’s grow to be my hottest play.”

It was this continued reputation that prompted Talonbooks to publish Taylor’s play in 2019 and for the CBC in 2020 to ask him to create a documentary in regards to the subject.

Taylor is certainly one of Canada’s most prolific Indigenous writers. His newest novel, a horror fantasy known as Chilly, is his thirty fifth revealed work.

“With Chilly, I’ve come a type of full circle. My first guide, The Night time Wanderer, was a younger grownup novel a couple of teenage vampire. I really like taking Western genres and Indigenizing them.”

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Taylor has been approached by the Charlottetown Pageant to jot down a play for its youth audiences for the summer season of 2024. “They need me to adapt a brief story a couple of younger Indigenous boy who will get teased and bullied as a result of he’s so fair-skinned that he doesn’t look Indigenous.”

Taylor has handled this matter earlier than, in an essay known as Fairly Like a White Boy and in a set of his quick tales known as The Better of, Humorous You Don’t Look Like One.

Regardless of the subject, together with Cottagers and Indians, Taylor at all times approaches it with humour.

“Many Indigenous writers use drama to make their level however I choose to make use of humour as a result of I consider that humour has a therapeutic property, and I’m significantly within the Indigenous sense of humour and enjoyable.”

Lunchbox Theatre’s manufacturing of Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians runs within the Vertigo Studio Theatre on the base of the Calgary Tower till Could 27. Tickets can be found at


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Final of Us, Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman returns for August comedy pageant

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Actor, comic and creator Nick Offerman might be returning to Calgary to headline the Nice Outdoor Comedy Competition on Aug. 25 at Prince’s Island Park.

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Offerman filmed HBO’s The Final of Us in Alberta. He performed the survivalist Invoice within the acclaimed third episode of The Final of Us, which was largely filmed in Excessive River. The collection was shot all through Alberta from July 2021 to June 2022. It started airing in January to large scores and acclaim.

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Offerman might be nonetheless finest identified for enjoying Ron Swanson within the sitcom Parks and Recreation however has additionally starred within the sci-fi collection Devs and the darkish comedy The Resort. He shot 2015’s second season of Fargo in Alberta as properly, enjoying conspiracy theorist Karl Weathers.

He has additionally written 4 semi-autobiographical books, together with Paddle Your Personal Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Scrumptious Residing and Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers.

His comedy present is described as “an evening of deliberative speaking, mirth and music. “When Offerman was filming Fargo, he did a comedy set on the open-mic comedy evening at Damaged Metropolis.

The Nice Outdoor Comedy Competition will even function Sam Morril and Dan Soder. The pageant runs till Aug. 27.

For tickets and extra info, go to