Using physical comedy, Todd Houseman draws on his culture when he launches into an improvised telling of a First Nations creation story.
“I feel really proud and I have always been proud of my heritage and my Cree culture and sharing it with everybody I meet.”
Houseman is on stage this week at Winnipeg Fringe Theatre show, presenting Folk Lordz! He's joined by Ben Gorodetzky. Both are from Edmonton.
Their improv show is made up of three acts — First Nations folklore, the stories of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, and ending off with audience choice.
“I think that there is a lot of ignorance and a bit of issues around First Nations identity and how people perceive First Nations people," Houseman said.
Fork Lordz! is one of 10 fringe festival shows featuring aboriginal actors. The Urban Indigenous Theatre company is proud to see such a strong representation. Tracey Nepinak says theatre offers a safe space to address tough issues.
“People are so afraid to talk about racism.... they don’t want to spark anything … but theatre gives us a chance to do that."
As the child of Russian immigrants, Gorodetzky feels it's important to understand all cultures,especially Canada's First Peoples.
“I think it's a duty, not a privilege, to know what this place is and who the people are who lived here.”
Todd Houseman hopes people will leave the show with a smile and a new view of aboriginal culture.
“I am just a modern day person who lives in the city. and I am still First Nations, I appreciate where I came from and I appreciate where I am going … I've just always wanted to educate people because if you have education, you can’t be ignorant.”