April 01, 2011

Poundmaker bans Native Antigone

Adapted Greek tragedy banned on Sask. reserve

New version of Sophocles' Antigone upset leaders, troupe saysThe story of Antigone, by Sophocles, involves a woman seeking a respectable burial for her brother even though he died a traitor to the city-state of Thebes. Its tragic and bloody end includes the suicide of Antigone herself.

Kasokeo's version sets the ancient tale on a modern reserve with characters that include an RCMP officer, a band councillor and a band chief.
Debuted in 1998

It was originally staged in 1998 at Regina's Globe Theatre.

"It was a really powerful piece," Ruth Smillie, the artistic director of the Globe, recalled. She added the show's two-week run brought a whole new audience of aboriginal people to the theatre.

"People were gasping at how close the play hit to the bone in terms of the realities of the aboriginal experience."
And:Antoine did not return phone calls on Thursday.

"He thinks that the play was written about him," said Kasokeo. She points out, however, that both the story and the modern day adaptation predate his leadership.

She doesn't deny her version of Antigone makes some hard points about aboriginal governance.

"We need to take back our beliefs and values and integrate those into our governance systems in order to have effective democracy," Kasokeo said.

"Band custom is a system where the people have the power. In our case, it's the other way around, where the chiefs tell the people what to do."
Saskatchewan reserve bans aboriginal version of play featuring corrupt chief

By Sean TrembathChief Dwayne Antoine and two other Poundmaker council members voted to have the play banned at a closed meeting Tuesday, according to Ms. Kasokeo.

Ms. Kasokeo denies that the play has anything to do with Antoine or any other real person. “It has nothing to do with politics,” said Kasokeo. “The chiefs and our councillors feel it’s about them. That’s there problem. It’s not our problem.”

They first heard that the band council was concerned about the play about a week ago.

“We sent a letter, as well as a script to show the play wasn’t about him,” Ms. Kasokeo said. They were not successful, and were informed that the chief would not let them into the hall the night of the performance.
Comment:  Who says the arts aren't important, even dangerous? I bet a lot of tribal chairmen and councils would try to ban a play or movie they thought was critical of them.

For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

Below:  "Ms. Kasokeo was particularly excited about Thursday’s performance, as both she and director Floyd Favel are from Poundmaker." (Peter Redman for National Post)


Anonymous said...

The arts have always been dangerous. That's why conservatives have such a huge problem with artists. Of course, there are always artists who say things just to get a rise out of the Midwest (I believe Transamerica, with its gay incest, sex change operation, male prostitution, drug addiction, and interracial gay shiptease, qualifies.), but so goes.

I for one have found many political metaphors in Neon Genesis Evangelion, which clearly exists in the "trolling the Midwest" (or perhaps trolling Kansai?) category. I doubt Cartoon Network, even Adult Swim, would've shown it in the Bush era if the similarities between SEELE and dispensationalist theology, which dictated American foreign policy under Bush, were any more apparent.

Did you know that in Mein Kampf, Hitler specifically takes the time to attack Marcel Duchamp?

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