November 23, 2011
Reviewed by Paula Citron
The Rez Sisters
Written by Tomson Highway
Directed by Ken Gass
Performed by Cara Gee, Kyra Harper, Djennie Laguerre, Jani Lauzon, Pamela Sinha, Michaela Washburn, Jean Yoon and Billy Merasty
Factory Theatre Upstairs
Nov. 5 to Dec. 11, 2011
Thomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters is 25 years old, but director Ken Gass’ production at Factory Theatre is very new indeed.
The big innovation is cross-cultural casting. The seven women are played by a multicultural array of actors which transports Highway’s play to a universal plane.
That being said, I do have problems with the production. The first act is cartoonish, with the poignant second act being much stronger.
The acting is very uneven. Djennie Laguerre is supposed to speak quickly but not to the point of obscuring clarity. Pamela Sinha, on the other hand, doesn’t speak loudly enough. The best performances come from Jani Lauzon and Cara Gee who maintain believability throughout.
Highway’s play was inspired by Michel Tremblay’s Les Belles Soeurs. Highway’s women travel from their home on Manitoulin Island to Toronto to attend the Biggest Bingo in the World.
After 25 years, their dreams still pack power.
The Rez Sisters continues at Factory Theatre Upstairs until Dec. 11.