April 19, 2011

Bleak Arctic life in Night

Theatre review:  ‘Night’ brings reality of Far North to vivid life

By Robert CrewThe play is Night and it is set during 24 sunless hours in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. Into this darkness blunders Daniella (Linnea Swan), a well-meaning Toronto anthropologist, bringing with her the remains of a former inhabitant along with remarkable amounts of cultural blindness and naiveté.

(How can she not know, for example, that food and candy are incredibly expensive in the North?)

The first two people she gets to know are Piuyuq (Tiffany Ayalik), who is celebrating her 16th birthday, and her friend Gloria (Reneltta Arluk), all baggy camouflage pants and attitude.

Life is bleak for both of them. Both have their problems with abusive fathers and Piuyuq’s mother is dead, having fallen off the back of a snowmobile, driven by her now guilt-ridden dad.

And Daniella’s arrival with the bones of Piuyug’s grandfather—a gesture meant to bring healing and closure—stirs up a vortex of trouble and anger.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

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