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Satirical play from Mary Walsh playing in Labrador

['Mary Walsh is encouraging people to talk about mental health and addiction. — Photo submitted by BellAliant']
['Mary Walsh is encouraging people to talk about mental health and addiction. — Photo submitted by BellAliant']

HAPPY VALLEY - GOOSE BAY - A new play taking a satirical look at Canada 150 will be hitting the stage in Labrador this weekend.  

The play ‘Canada, It’s Complicated’ is a brand new production from Mary Walsh of 22 Minutes and CODCO fame and will be touring right across the country, hitting every province and territory.

The show touches upon many issues throughout Canadian history, including many indigenous issues.

“There’s so much we owe to the indigenous people of Canada you can’t even begin to imagine,” Walsh told the Labradorian. “We’ve said we’re sorry but we’ve never said thank you. The show, though it doesn’t only deal with treaty issues, tries to tell what is the true story about Canada.”

The opening song of the production is titled ‘The foundation of our nation is a big fat lie,’ which Walsh said is because we always pretend that John Cabot or Jacque Cartier discovered the country but it’s hard to discover a place that’s already populated. She said the play talks a lot about Canadian history, which many Canadians do not know well.

“I think that the reason Canadians don’t know that much about our history is because we want to pretend we’re the good guys but when you look at things like the Japanese internment camps and the Chinese head tax and the treaties we signed with the indigenous peoples of this country, we’ve got to come to some recognition that we’re not as nice as we appear,” she said. “And it’s time to do more than say we’re sorry.”

The play is co-written with some of Canada's best writers including JUNO Award-winning musical duo Quantum Tangle, award-winning Métis playwright Marie Clements, Governor General Award winning novelist Thomas King, and more. They will be shooting footage in all locations and incorporating them into the show as it moves across the country, starting in Labrador and ending in the Yukon.

They will be hitting a lot of indigenous communities and reservations along the way, with the show being free or mostly free in those communities. Walsh said they wanted to bring the production to the smaller communities because they don’t get a lot of productions and it felt appropriate.

“The government gave me this money to bring this show to Canadians, not just Canadians in big cities,” she said. “This is the story of Canada, for all Canadians.”

Jamie Pitt is a cast member of the show, playing ‘the white buttholes,’ as she described it and said she’s really excited to be a part of it.

“Basically we take this year, which is supposed to be a celebratory year, to interrogate and question and understand what the last 150 years of the country that we call Canada has meant and what will mean,” she said. “That means all of the violence, all of the irony, all of the hypocrisy, as well as the joy and the idea of celebrating the idea of Canada.”

She said she’s happy to be a part of something that’s not just ‘woohoo, Canada 150,’, but takes the time to re-evaluate and take stock of the ironies and what it means to celebrate 150 years of Canada.

“If I can be part of a project that speaks truth to power hell yeah I’m on board,” she said. “I’m so happy to be working with Mary, who is always not letting Canada off the hook.”

Pitts said only satire can contain the level of irony that is Canada 150 and she’s happy to be a part of something that looks at Canadian identity and re-evaluates that and hold up a funhouse mirror to it.

Walsh said she’s really excited to bring this production forward at this time, when indigenous issues are at the forefront in Canada.

“It all seemed to come together perfectly. There is a time for things and they come to the forefront. Everybody is speaking about the same thing.”

The show will be in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on September 3, in Nain on September 4, Sheshatshiu on September 5. Then it will move to the island for dates in Gander on September 6, Corner Brook on September 8 and St. John’s on September 12.

For more information visit http://canadaitscomplicated.ca/

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