British Columbia

Indigenous play on Sixties Scoop gets another run in Vancouver

The play returns to Vancouver two decades after its debut.

'It's a pretty important story I think for all of us,' says director

Chelsea Rose Tucker (Left) and Ashley Chartrand (Right) perform the play Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth. (Emily Cooper)

Two decades after its first B.C. run, Only Drunks and Children Tell The Truth returns to Vancouver.

Written by Indigenous playwright, Drew Hayden Taylor, the production focuses on an Indigenous family picking up the pieces following the Sixties Scoop: the period from 1965 to 1984 when thousands of Indigenous children were sent for adoption away from their homes.

The plot follows Janice, a girl who was adopted by a white family. Her birth sister, Barb, confronts her and brings her back to the reserve where she was born. 

"It's a pretty important story I think for all of us," said director Columpa Bobb, a veteran of the play's original run.

The play examines the themes of abandonment, reconciliation, identity, and cultural dissonance. (Emily Cooper)

Although the play debuted in the 1990s, Bobb says its themes of reconcilliation and cultural dissonance are still relevant today. 

"I think it's really important for the audience to be delicately disturbed by the fact that this play is dated and yet the story is not only timely, but is critical to our experience right now," Bobb told On the Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Dealing with trauma

Bobb says the production touches on uncomfortable topics, including alcoholism.

"There have been times when I have performed this where you could physically hear the audience get uncomfortable when these two native women start opening up booze on stage."

"The younger sister is in a desperate place where she wants to immediately get to know her sister, it's her only biological family left ... And so we have these two sisters who are quite alone, and they're using this substance to break through initial walls, right or wrong," Bobb said. 

The show runs from Nov. 11 to Dec. 2. at the Firehall Arts Centre.

With files from On the Coast

Cory Correia