WHO: Margo Kane
WHAT: Confessions of an Indian Cowboy
WHERE: Maurice Young Millennium Place
WHEN: June 27, 8 p.m.
This week marks the opening of Maurice Young Millennium Place and the eagerly awaited arrival of a formal theatre in the resort. The My Place stage is packed full with quality for the rest of June, including a special performance from an inspiration in the First Nations artistic community.
Confessions of an Indian Cowboy is a bittersweet, one-woman play, written and performed by Margo Kane. Of Cree-Saulteaux ancestry, Kane grew up in Vancouver, discovering her love of movement and dance at a young age.
"I was a kid who couldnt sit still," recalls Kane. "I like to move. Its very innate in me to move, and jump and throw myself around and dance. I just came with it. I came into this world with musicality and rhythm."
Kane was fortunate to be surrounded by supportive family, friends and teachers, and the opportunity to develop her talents. From singing along with the radio to school musicals, Kane knew she was destined to be a professional artist.
"I had this experience after high school, where I actually felt like one, inspired by creation or the creator. Something important happened to me. I could dance and I felt this freedom when I danced. Not just this feeling of people having a good time, I felt an actual connection to some kind of life force. It was a very unusual experience that I havent felt since. I thought, oh my god, I want to feel that again, to find that connection and that joy of being able to create from that place of freedom."
Only trouble was, Kane knew she didnt want to be a starving artist. The university route didnt appeal to her either. But pursuing dance professionally did. Kane went on to capture an understudy role in the play The Ecstasy of Rita Jo , and while preparing for the Edmonton production discovered a new life path.
"I did my research (for the play) in community circles in health and education and in the Skid Row area. At that moment I realized I had something useful, something that would be valuable in the development of our people. Theatre and the artist were so vital to that and I had something to offer."
Full Circle: First Nations Performance is the reality of that dream. The society offers opportunities for Aboriginal artists, writers and performers to work in harmony with First Nation traditions while engaging modern theatrical technique in an interdisciplinary fashion. Full Circle offers Community Talking Circles, simply an opportunity for open discussion on pieces being performed or studied. It also runs Artist Development Workshops for anyone who might be interested, no matter their level of experience.
Kane has also come to touch the lives of people not directly involved in Full Circle. Her play was recommended to Pique by a staff member of MY Place who has studied theatre and says Kane was a mentor and inspiration.
"Wow, Im shocked," laughs Kane. "You dont often get to hear that first hand. Everything is about young people. But so much is based on trends that are happening now, and sometimes you get bypassed. I had hoped that somehow we would have impact with the theatre, but it doesnt always feel like its working. Its hard sometimes to even have your work seen. You need such an infrastructure. You need people and money that you dont have. Its really nice to know youre not invisible and that your work has some effect somewhere."
Confessions of an Indian Cowboy is a play close to Kanes heart and to the heart of many in the First Nations community. It uses humour, music and satire to explore one Indian womans journey for identity during a tumultuous time of native and non-native integration.
"This woman must untangle herself from confusion and choose a path. She feels shes having to choose between the Cowboys and the Indians, to choose an allegiance," explains Kane.
She portrays many characters through the 100 minute production, and hopes native and non-native audiences will appreciate the ancestry she brings to the stage and the light she sheds upon them.
"This is a tribute to my families. My families are very confusing and immense. They stretch back to the Red River peoples. Some of the lineage also splits the Hudson Bay Company. Some of them became Indians and some became Metis people. In the end, it doesnt really matter because I am an Indian. And this is just a tribute to all those bloodlines."