I preface these thoughts with an apology for the extreme delay in getting them posted.....I had to bolt out of town the next morning and haven't really stopped since.
Frances Koncan's new play, Women of the Fur Trade, was shared in an early-ish form as part of Toronto Fringe, ahead of what I understand to be a subsequent full length version coming to Native Earth. The simplicity of the fringe production was enjoyable; 3 rocking chairs, 3 action figures, and a simple bunting of envelopes clipped to a string created a space for the 3 women to interact, allowing their similarities to shine, while their differing circumstances became increasingly apparent.
What I loved about the script was the anachronism, with contemporary pop culture references interwoven with historical fact and circumstance. By positioning the 3 women in between history, it served to illustrate their absence from recorded history and the decisions that affect their lives historically, and through to today. By objectifying the male characters both intellectually, and literally with the use of the 3 action figures, the women begin to regain some power.
The 3 performers (Liz Whitbread, Haley Vincent, and Joelle Peters) were delightful in their performances, clearly distinguishing the hierarchical relationship amongst the women. The pacing could have been tighter and more dynamic to provide a sense of movement in the piece, which grew a bit stationary at times (both verbally and physically).
I'm very intrigued to see the full production, and can't wait to bring my Louis Riel obsessed Manitoba-born daughter. It seems the perfect vehicle and context for young women to relate to and learn about a historical event which still affects us today.