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The (Post) Mistress

The (Post) Mistress
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Tomson Highway
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 69
Pub. Date: 2013
ISBN-10: 0889227802
ISBN-13: 9780889227804

About the Play:

The (Post) Mistress is a full-length comedy by Tomson Highway. This one-woman musical tour de force recounts the adventures of a cheeky small-town postmistress who divines the contents of sealed letters that pass through her hands. After having worked at the same post office for many years the postmistress has come to know the emotional lives of her clients. Through song (the letters), she shares with us details and episodes of their lives. Gradually, the shape of her own life emerges. There is more to the postmistress than first meets the eye.

The (Post) Mistress is set in a not-so-distant past, when sending letters through the mail was still vital to communicating with friends and loved ones, and the small-town post office was often the only connection to faraway places longed-for or imagined. Born and raised in the fictional northern Ontario town of Lovely, a small French-Canadian farming village near Lake Huron, Marie-Louise Painchaud has never had occasion to venture much farther than the nearest community – Complexity, a copper-mining town and a somewhat larger dot on the map of the Georgia Bay area. For thirty years, Marie-Louise has worked at the local post office, and, through the many letters she sorts when they arrive and the ones that she stamps before they go out, she has come to know the lives of everyone in town and vicariously experience their various loves, losses, and personal dramas.

Marie-Louise confides in us the interwoven stories sealed in the envelopes she handles every day. A samba beat offers the soundtrack for the tale of a local woman's passion- ate but doomed affair with a man from Rio de Janeiro; a rhythmic tango plays as Marie-Louise divulges a friend's steamy tryst in Argentina. All together, twelve unique musical pieces, ranging from Berlin cabaret to French café chanson to smooth bossa nova, accompany a multilingual French, Cree, and English libretto. In The (Post) Mistress, Canada's most famous Aboriginal playwright creates not only a rural comedy but also a sublime parody of small-town life – the northern Ontario version of Thornton Wilder's Our Town or Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.

Cast: 1 woman.

What people say:

"Through song, humour, and love, this one-woman show ... is simply riveting. ...a moving performance about a woman who has never left small-town Canada. She has lived her life partly through the letters of others ... and yet, still possesses a fire that cannot be put out." — The Walleye

"Highway's portrayal of the small town French-Canadian woman was priceless. The story takes a beautiful left turn to end the play – a surprise none of us had expected." — Lake Superior News

About the Playwright:

Tomson Highway is a Cree playwright, composer and classical pianist. He is considered one of Canada's foremost First Nations voices, and is best known for his award-winning "rez" cycle of plays: The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, and Rose. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Music and a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Western Ontario. He ran Canada's premiere Indigenous theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts, for many years and impacted a generation of professional playwrights and actors. Born in northern Manitoba to a family of nomadic caribou hunters, he speaks Cree, Dene, English, and French. He has won four Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a Chalmers Award, and a Wang Festival Award. The first Aboriginal writer to be inducted into the Order of Canada, and named one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history by Macleans in 2000, he has shaped the development of Aboriginal theatre in both Canada and around the world.

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