A world premiere workshop performance

Fight On! Part 1

An account of the scintillating true life adventures in the Canadian North West Mounted Police of Francis Jeffrey Dickens

Written and directed by Guy Sprung

With additional sardonic, ironic and iconic commentary by First Nations’ writer Drew Hayden Taylor

Fight On! Part 1 will be performed mainly in English, with significant characters speaking French, Cree, Blackfoot and Mohawk, with English surtitles. There will be talk-backs after each performance, plus invited guests on Thursdays. Trigger warning: satirical colonial views might cause self-conscious laughter.

Fostering Infinithéàtre’s ongoing mandate of reflecting and exploring life in the 21st century, Artistic Director Guy Sprung examines Canada’s ignoble past in this first part of the creative development of Fight On!, playing from April 10-22 at Espace Knox. This cross-cultural, multilingual romp set during the late 19th century is the company’s most ambitious production to date; incorporating masks, puppetry, multimedia, dance, buffoonery, and authentic, embarrassing historical pronouncements.

Following the death of his famous novelist father, Francis Jeffery Dickens arrives in Canada in 1874 with all the prejudices and presumptions of a white colonist/settler. After serving 11 years as a member of the North West Mounted Police, Frank is horrified by the mendacity and theft that robbed the Indigenous Peoples of their lands. He learns to respect the traditions and wisdom of Anishinabeg culture and begins to understand the urgent need to live in harmony with Mother Nature. Frank was diminutive in stature, lame in one leg, deaf in one ear and had a tendency to stutter… the perfect comic anti-protagonist. This saga, blending comedy with tragedy for a Turtle Island prairie adventure like no other, will leave audiences questioning what it means to be Canadian.

“This is our ‘mostly factual’ history,” offers Sprung. “I have however gleefully purloined names and the occasional phrase and snippets of dialogue from the works of Charles Dickens, along with creating my own descriptive monikers.” Spectators will have fun spotting famous lines out of context and wondering when the Ghost of Dickens Past will pop up next, while keeping an eye out for Pip, Micawber, Choke, Barkis and Wopsle.

Drew Hayden Taylor‘s (Ojibway, Curve Lake) sardonic, ‘Red Pen’ colour commentary, in direct counter-point to the European settlers’ perspective of the tale, will be projected during the show. Adds Sprung, “Along with live action and quick costume changes, Drew’s interwoven scrolled text completes this literate, ironic-Dickensian storytelling of the invasion and occupation by European settlers.”

Fight On! is a two-part epic; this season offers Part 1 (Song of Innocence) in a professional workshop performance, next season is Part 2 (Innocence Transubstantiated), and the following season will present both parts in a full-scale production at the beautiful St-James Theatre.

To encourage dialogue, the company will hold talk-backs after each performance, offering the public an opportunity to voice their opinions and directly influence the play’s development. On Thursdays there will be an invited panelist, promoting civic dialogue around the issues explored, for a richer theatre-going experience.

Preview April 10; opening night Wednesday, April 11
Tuesday – Saturday, 8:00pm,
Saturday and Sunday matinées at 2:00pm

For tickets and information visit: www.infinitheatre.com/tickets#  or call (514) 987-1774 #104

Espace Knox
6215 Godfrey Ave., NDG

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