Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Reader's Diary #775- Tomson Highway: The Rez Sisters

Knocking the 2nd book off my Canadian Confession list, The Rez Sisters also completes my reading trek around the country for the Canadian Book Challenge (I used this one for Manitoba as Highway was born there, but it is set in Ontario).

It's also the first play I've read for this edition of the Canadian Book Challenge. I usually like reading plays, though I also usually suppose that seeing it performed would be the superior approach. I don't have any doubts with The Rez Sisters that I'd enjoy it more in person. Granted, it would depend on the acting and they'd certainly have their work cut out for them with this one.

The six sisters (some with each other, some half sisters, some in-law) are too hard to differentiate. The only really stand out characters are an adopted daughter who is a mentally handicapped adult and a bird character. I'm not sure what the problem is. When I see the various character issues broken down as is done here, it seems like it should have rather easy to distinguish one from the other. Perhaps the shared rough-around-the-edges personality overrode the facts. Then again, this many close relatives of the same gender, same generation, and same hometown are bound to have some things in common, aren't they? Maybe it was the frenetic pace that was too distracting to the individual personalities. On their quest to raise enough money to afford a trip into Toronto to attend the world's largest Bingo, I can't even remember who fought who, who wanted to be a country singer, who was sleeping with Big Joey, though I know all this stuff happened. But I figure with a well paced performance and with a strong cast who infuse their own interpretations into the roles, it would an entertaining play. Whether or not it's a depressing play would be up to the audience and/or the director's vision. While no one can argue that The Rez Sisters doesn't have a dark side, the hope you walk away with could be determined by whether or not a lack of positive change is the focal point, or if the relationships of these women is the focus.


Kate said...

I saw this play performed a few years ago, and it was quite entertaining and well paced. I also had no problems keeping the characters apart as each one had a different actress! I'm not sure if this is written into the play, but at the performance, each audience member was given a bingo card, and during the Word's Biggest Bingo game, they turned it into a real game with the audience playing along (with a real prize for the winner).
I Tomson Highway!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've always considered that plays should only be read by those putting on the performance. Perhaps this is due to residual scars from having to read all that Shakespeare in high school, or perhaps it's just that I am lazy.

Heather said...

i haven't read this, but have seen a television version a few times. Would much rather read it and then see if performed live.

gypsysmom said...

I saw this play quite a few years ago and thought it was fabulous. They didn't do the bingo card handout though Kate. That would have been fun.

John Mutford said...

Kate: As a declared Bingo-hater I can't believe I'm about to say this, but that actually sounds like fun!

Barbara: I've enjoyed reading many plays. Living most of my life in relatively small towns with little theatre to see, reading plays was often my only option. Plus, I do like the stripped down, mostly dialogue language of a good script.

Heather: I've not seen the TV version of it either. I should keep an eye out.

Gypsysmom: My very mild disappointment in reading it certainly doesn't deter me from still wanting to see it live!