September 21, 2010

Preview of Thunderstick

Thunderstick by Kenneth T. WilliamsThunderstick stars Lorne Cardinal, best known as Davis Quinton on the hit Canadian TV show Corner Gas, and Royal Canadian Air Farce regular Craig Lauzon, as mismatched cousins launched on a comedic road trip fuelled by “scandalous political intrigue.” The cousins are Jacob, an abrasive, Ottawa-based, thrice-married journalist with a penchant for booze and a protruding gut to show it, and Isaac, a successful, globe-trotting photojournalist. They have been estranged since their youth on the reservation and are now brought together fifteen years later by outrageous circumstances. This over-the-top comedy takes off as one cousin has an “incident” with the Prime Minister, and gets only more frenzied as they're launched into jail, heartbreak and a road trip into the Ontario backwoods--all while chasing the story of their careers.

Thunderstick is a native play, but one that is changing the stereotype of what that means. "Not once do we use the term 'band office' in this play. Or dreamcatcher. It's about guys, two guys," says Cardinal. “It’s tough to get people to do native-oriented plays because they get afraid of it...or they’re afraid it’ll get too dark. There are all these thoughts or associations that come with trying to do native plays, and some people think that there’s not a lot of people who will come see it. But there are so many great native playwrights out there right now writing incredible stuff, and it deserves to be done on the bigger stages.” Audiences need to see Native people onstage more often. Cardinal recalls that when Thomson Highway's Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing debuted in 1989, he mistook the newspaper's photo of the cast for something entirely different. "I remember opening The Globe and Mail and there was a big font page review with, like, six Indians on the front and I thought 'Oh, there's a stand-off somewhere!'" he chuckles. "Aside from being aboriginal, they're just two guys being guys together—it's probably the only play out there that ends with a bag-tag," Lauzon says.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

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