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Belfry play taps into writer’s feelings around his Indigenous heritage

Bears takes you on a wild ride through the surreal and the real
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The Belfry Theatre production of playwright Matthew MacKenzie’s Bears runs Jan. 29 to Feb. 24. Photo by Max Telzerow Photography

Bears are coming to The Belfry Theatre, but there’s no need to run.

Save that for protagonist Floyd, who’s on the run from the RCMP. An accident on the Alberta oilsands has him heading to B.C. via the Trans Mountain pipeline’s route, with dynamic changes happening along the way.

Inspired by playwright Matthew MacKenzie’s discovery of Metis ancestry, Bears reflects getting back to your roots with a bit of black humour, dreamy choreography and an unapologetic stance on man’s destructive nature.

From Jan. 29 - Feb. 24, MacKenzie’s Bears will bring the thrill of a chase, Indigenous philosophy and the landscape of the Rockies into the Fernwood theatre. The co-production of Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts and Edmonton-based Punctuate! Theatre debuted in 2015, when it picked up numerous awards. The most recent was the 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Production.

This politically charged piece sprung forth with the help of Cree Elders Jerry and Jo-Ann Saddleback, who guided MacKenzie on the finer points of Cree culture. Choreographer Monica Dottor, who’s arranged steps for A Christmas Carol among other plays, takes the ecosystem – and the furry friends who inhabit it – to leaping heights.

Bears will dazzle your vision with a bit more light on the Indigenous perspective. For more information, visit the Belfry website at belfry.bc.ca.

– Felicia Santarossa



About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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