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Redpatch

Redpatch
Your Price: $19.95 CDN
Author: Sean Harris Oliver and Raes Calvert
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 151
Pub. Date: 2019
ISBN-10: 1772012297
ISBN-13: 9781772012293
Cast Size: 3 women, 3 men

About the Play:

Finalist for the Playwrights Guild of Canada's 2017 Carol Bolt award

Redpatch is a full-length drama by Sean Harris Oliver and Raes Calvert. More than four thousand Indigenous Canadians signed up to fight in the First World War. Redpatch plays tribute to the warriors who saw the Great War as an opportunity to be part of the "new world" they had been assimilated to. Their bravery came at a cost.

Redpatch is a story that was inspired by the contributions and sacrifices that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit soldiers and communities made for Canada in World War I, also known as "The Great War" or "The War to End All Wars." The title of this work, Redpatch, is drawn from an incident at the Battle of Somme. Canada was still part of the British Empire in 1916, and British officers were having difficulty distinguishing their men from the colonial armies who fought alongside them. To distinguish the Canadian First Division, who wore similar uniforms to British, a single red patch was applied to their left shoulders. Between 1914 and 1918, over four thousand Indigenous men volunteered to fight and die for Canada. Redpatch tells a part of this story through the eyes of Private Jonathon Woodrow from the Nuu-chah-nulth nation, who volunteers to fight as a member of the Canadian forces. Thanks to his experience in hunting and wilderness survival, he quickly becomes one of the 1st Canadian Division's most feared trench raiders. But as the war and the fighting stretch on with no end in sight, Woodrow begins to think that he will never go home again. Set in both Canada and the battlefields of France, Redpatch follows his journey from his Vancouver Island home, through the trials of training, to the horrors of trench warfare and discrimination as a result of his aboriginal heritage. Ultimately, the story takes him home again, where he must now attempt to return to his life. This moving production uses dance, myth, and mask to tell both a universal and a personal tale.

Redpatch premiered in 2017 at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver, on the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, transferred to Studio 16 Theatre in Vancouver, and received six Jessie Award nominations including Outstanding Production. Subsequently performed in 2018 at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, and the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver in 2019.

Cast: 3 women, 3 men

What people say:

"Redpatch is wholly immersive and brilliantly inventive theatre." — The Georgia Straight

"Redpatch proves a compelling portrait of Aboriginal experience in the Great War ... a powerful addition and corrective to the mythology around Canada's involvement in the Great War." — Vancouver Sun

About the Playwright:

Sean Harris Oliver is a Vancouver based writer/actor, and the Co-Artistic Director of Hardline Productions. He is of Métis descent and, in recent years, has become one of Canada's leading Indigenous performers. He was honoured at the 2017 Hnatyshyn Foundation Indigenous Arts Awards for his contribution to Indigenous theatre in Canada.

Raes Calvert is a Canadian playwright, director, performer and filmmaker. His work has appeared throughout Canada and the US in a variety of arts festivals, public readings and theatre productions.