Hardline Productions presents REDPATCH

Redpatch – image: David Cooper

Vancouver’s Hardline Productions latest work, Redpatch, is a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the contribution and sacrifice made by Canada’s First Nations, Metis and aboriginal people.

With an all Aboriginal cast, Redpatch follows the a young Métis, Woodrow or Halfblood, played by co-writer Raes Calvert, who longs to be a warrior so volunteers for the battlefields of WWI, much to his Grandmother’s chagrin. Grandmother uses traditional stories to try to convince Woodrow that he doesn’t need to fight the “White Man’s War” to be a warrior.  Through flashbacks we learn of his experiences in the ‘white school’ with his best friend Jonathan.  In the battlefields of France, our young soldier endures the trenches, discrimination while becoming a standout scout.  The mental and physical stress takes its toll, was this how he thought being a warrior was like?

image : Mark Halliday

Co-writer and director Sean Harris Oliver has kept the staging simple and imaginative, incorporating both modern and traditional aboriginal movements to weave the stories together.  First Nations legends form a basis for the modern stories. To make sure the stories are faithfully told, Calvert and Oliver spent many hours in libraries and travelling to remote First Nations communities, including Nootka Island, where their fictional soldier calls home.  For those of us growing up on the Coast the traditional stories are familiar, and with Vimy in the headlines, the production has a depth and history that makes it feel timeless.

Now playing at Studio 16, the intimacy of the theatre, allows the audience to feel like they’re part of the action. The only drawback is the rake of the seating makes some of the low movements on the floor difficult to see from some seats.

Redpatch runs until April 16th at Studio 17 in Le Centre Cultural Francophone Vancouver on West 7th Ave. Visit hardlineproductions.ca for more information and tickets.

Audience members should be aware that the production includes the use of artificial smoke/fog, flash and strobe lighting and explosions. 

 

Thunderbird Park – Victoria

Tucked in the corner of the Royal BC Museum Cultural Precinct in Victoria, lies Thunderbird Park. Established in 1941,  to display some of the Museum’s collection of aboriginal art.  In the following decades a program was begun to preserve some of the aboriginal artwork which was in danger of being lost to decay. Chief Mungo Martin was hired to oversea this program, building the traditional  Kwakwaka’wakwbig house” in 1953, where Martin and other Coastal artist recreated the totem poles and other momumental sculptures in the park and Museum collection.  By 1992 all of the original pieces had been replaced with replicas, and remain standing.  Originals were preserved inside the Museum in a controlled environment.   
Next time you’re are wandering in Victoria, take a moment to stop and see a bit of BC Coastal history at Thunderbird Park.