Saskatchewan

New play, Popcorn Elder, explores father-son relationship

An intimate examination of relationships between fathers and sons provides the template for a new play, Popcorn Elder, that debuted this weekend.

Play runs at Dancing Sky Theatre, then Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre

Actors Cory Dallas Standing (left) and Sam Bob (right) in Popcorn Elder. (Popcorn Elder Production Photo/submitted to CBC)

An intimate examination of relationships between fathers and sons provides the template for a new play, Popcorn Elder, that debuted in Meacham, Sask. this weekend.

"I don't think there are a lot of father and son stories in the Indigenous world that are told," playwright Curtis Peeteetuce, said, talking about how he came to write the play.

He added his personal experience, not knowing his own father, made it very challenging. He said he asked a lot of questions of friends and also drew from his relationship with his son.

"I knew that this would be a challenging piece to write, but it's also been fun to explore that relationship," he said. Peeteetuce said he uses a lot of humour in his writing.

The play concerns the intergenerational legacy of residential schools and centres around a father and his adult son who are trying to rebuild their relationship and reconcile their past.

Peeteetuce said the performances by actors Cory Dallas Standing and Sam Bob have added to the play.

"There are a lot of truths being spoken here and the actors are seeing things in the script that I haven't seen before," he said. "That's also exciting."

The story of the play concerns Darren, a young man who's just been released from prison, and his father Wally.

Peeteetuce was originally inspired after reading about a man in Arizona who was posing as a shaman. As he learned more about the man, and examined his reaction to what the man was doing, Peeteetuce began writing a number of monologues that eventually formed the basis for the play.

"That's really how things started, about five or six years ago," he said.

Popcorn Elder opened at Dancing Sky Theatre in Meacham, Sask., and runs until May 15. It then moves to the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theatre in Saskatoon from May 19 to 29.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend