“Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer” is a Big Hit
ABOVE: Craig Lauzon and Luisa Jojic in Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer. (Photo: Curtis Perry)
Indigenous playwright and NAC’s Artistic Director, Indigenous Theatre, Kevin Loring, once said, “Our work as Indigenous artists often challenges the assumptions of Canada. This challenge we offer is healthy. Necessary. It is a celebration of our continued existence as peoples. We are the land. We are still here. And we are awake.”
There are, of course, many ways of achieving that. Loring’s Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer, currently showing at the NAC, is a fun, extremely irreverent way to do it, but it definitely explores those assumptions.
Little Red, the last remaining member of his tribe, discovers that a land development firm has violated his traditional territory. After attacking one of their engineers, he is arrested and assigned a court-appointed lawyer. He ends up moving in with the lawyer and his wife. The court case ensues, and some crazy antics and twists are thrown in.
You can be forgiven if, not knowing the genre of the play, you find yourself scratching your head, not following the flow. Just stay with it. It all comes together, sort of, in a really weird and wacky way. This is a play crafted in classical farcical theatre tradition, meaning there are elements of the absurd — of which there are many and done brilliantly — and characters in bizarre situations that, on the surface, don’t make any sense. On many levels it is outrageous.
This play is a delightful, vibrant, and an incredibly entertaining piece of theatre that will, in fact, leave you thinking. Because, while it is done in a hilarious way, it still deals with serious and uncomfortable issues such as, land usage, sovereignty, colonialism, and discrimination, with hints of residential school tragedy and poverty. But again, it does so in a very satirical form, poking fun at everything and everyone. Nobody – and absolutely nothing – comes out unscathed, which is another point of farcical theatre. Be sure to leave your smug political correctness at the door.
Luisa Jojic’s performance as Desdemona shines particularly bright. No scene spoiling here, but her character embodies the play’s absurdity in a perfect manner. Even her exaggerated, bizarre body movements capture that essence. The other actors are also fantastic. However, the award for grandiose absurdity goes to Lizzy, played by Nick Miami Benz. All of Nick’s incredible acrobatic talent and flare steal the stage.
Unconventional, non-traditional theatre that takes you to uncomfortable places, entertains and makes you think is such an incredible package, and a gift. Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer is all that. It runs until May 27th.
For more information, visits www.nac.ca
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