Play explores Aboriginal Education

Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Event Location: 
David Spinks Theatre

"Photo: The Spirit of Education Present (Jill Oberg) is getting the attention of the Minister of Indian Affairs Ebenezer Cadieux (Nathan Loitz while a boy (Corey Joyce) looks on. ìIt was fate,î said Murray Pruden, a third year dramatic arts major. ìI was in the library and this play literally fell off the shelf onto the floor at my feet.î After only one quick read he was hooked on Education is Our Right by Drew Hayden Taylor, one of Canadaís leading Native playwrights and humorists. Pruden is directing Education is Our Right on Jan. 25 ñ 27 in the David Spinks Theatre, with a matinee on Jan. 27 at 2:00 pm. Borrowing from Dickensí A Christmas Carol, the play follows a Minister of Indian Affairs as he encounters the Spirits of Education Past, Present, and Future. The play is humorous, spiritual, and passionate,î says Pruden. ìIt may also provide audiences with a little bit of Canadian history.î ìThe play deals with aboriginal student issues, but has broader implications about what the future holds for all students. Humour and a light hearted approach are part of the play, which elicits laughter edged with the disturbing awareness of stereotypes being exploded. ìPeople tend to feel connected to the play, but find themselves asking difficult questions before it is over,î he says. Five actors play 18 characters in this production, using a variety of body language and movements as stepping stones to create each characterís unique persona. ìIt is really a learning process for everyone,î says Pruden. ìThe directorís job is to guide the actors who are the instruments bringing the story to life.î Since this is a TheatreXtra production, costumes and sets are quite simple. ìAll you really need to tell a good story are words and actions; costumes and sets are extra.î Selecting the actors was a challenge. ìI had lots of interest from actors and they all had good elements to bring to the show,î he says. ìChoosing the actors is the toughest part of the directorís job.î However, Pruden loves directing. ìI really enjoy using my creativity to take a vision, mold it, and turn it into a reality on stage. It is really exciting because you always end up with something that is bigger and better than you expected it becomes of the creative influences and talents of the cast and design teams.î A Cree from the Saddle Lake-Good Fish First Nation north of Edmonton, Pruden attended Keyano College before transferring to the U of L this past fall. ìThe U of L provided transfer credits and I really wanted to obtain my BFA degree,î he said. ìI saw an opportunity and took it.î Upon graduating Prudenís goal is to start his own theatre company that will emphasize aboriginal theatre as well as contemporary theatre. To that end he is taking an Aboriginal Entrepreneur Business Certificate through Keyano College at the same time as he is working on BFA degree here. Tickets for Education is Our Right by Drew Hayden Taylor are $11 regular and $7 student/senior. - 30 - "