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Copper Thunderbird

Copper Thunderbird
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Marie Clements
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 84
Pub. Date: 2007
ISBN-10: 0889225680
ISBN-13: 9780889225688
Cast Size: 5 women, 4 men

About the Play:

Finalist for the 2008 Governor General's Award for Drama (Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize)

Copper Thunderbird is a full-length drama by Marie Clements. A play inspired by the challenging life of Ojibway painter Norval Morrisseau. Inside the power-lines which Morrisseau boldly defined in his art were the colours he experienced between his Ojibwa cosmology, his life on the street, and his spiritual and philosophical transformations to become the Father of Contemporary Aboriginal Art and a Grand Shaman.

Copper Thunderbird (the title reflects the late artist's Anishinaabe name) explores Norval Morrisseau's artistry and troubled life in three overlapping stages. Appearing simultaneously in this multi-layered drama as a small boy, a young warrior and an old man, Morrisseau confronts his many selves over the Faustian destiny he encountered during his vision quest – a momentary terror that led to a life wracked by both triumph and ordeal. Norval Morrisseau is notorious for the life he has led, the company he has kept, the wives, lovers, parasitic drinking buddies and abusive family members he has had and passed through as if they were merely insubstantial phantoms. The paintings he has sold to buy another bottle of alcohol, to get through another brutal day, hang in galleries around the world, a phenomenon Morrisseau himself simply took for granted. Copper Thunderbird interrogates both the stereotypes and the politically correct judgments that have manufactured Morrisseau's public personae, creating a power-figure that transcends culture and morality, earth and water, fire and air.

Copper Thunderbird premiered in 2007 at Canada's National Arts Centre in Ottawa, becoming the first work of a First Nations playwright on its main stage.

Cast: 5 women, 4 men

What people say:

"Marie Clements… is building a powerful reputation for her innovative approaches to… theatre on aboriginal themes." — Vancouver Sun

"Clements' wondrous stage directions call for painterly interplay between human beings and the natural world and aboriginal cosmology." — Halifax Chronicle

About the Playwright:

Marie Clements is an award-winning Métis/Dene performer, playwright and director whose work has been presented on stages across Canada, the United States and Europe. She writes, or, perhaps more accurately, composes, with an urbane, incisive and sophisticated intellect deeply rooted in the particulars of her place, time and history. Marie Clements is also a regular contributor on CBC Radio.

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