Two Indians play shares on and off-reserve Indigenous perspectives
Two Indians is being shown at the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theater in Saskatoon until June 9
The final play in this year's lineup at the Gordon Tootoosis Nikanawin Theater's season is a tale of two women who grew up on the same reserve but one leaves, while the other stays.
Falen Johnson's play Two Indians is about two cousins who are looking for a connection during a ceremony in honour of friends who died in a tragic accident.
It looks at the obligation to family and the outside world, while celebrating the bond between the two cousins, played by Andrea Folster and Candy Renae Fox.
Johnson said she was inspired to create the play in response to the Idle No More movement, which made her realize the disconnect between her own experiences in the city and those of her family who lives on reserve.
"Indigenous people straddle two different existences," she said in a news release. "In the city, the movement was all around us, there were protests everywhere. It took a lot longer for my family on reserve to even know Idle No More was happening."
The death of three cousins brings both Fox and Folster's characters together, who haven't spoken since the tragedy.
Watch: Two Indians teaser
Fox said the play showcases conflict in a relationship that hasn't been repaired. Two Indians teaches viewers about the cousins' family and history with a bit of humour sprinkled in.
Folster, whose character Winnie lives on reserve, said her character has had to put her dreams off to the side because of things happening at home, and she harbours a bit of resentment and bitterness towards Roe, Fox's character.
"[Winnie] is scared to leave so she had these plans, and they've sort of been thwarted by what's happened," Folster explained. "There's a little bit of an edge to their interaction."
Actresses find connections with characters
Fox, whose from Piapot First Nation, developed a connection with her character Roe because she grew up in an urban setting for most of her life.
She said she calls the city home now, and both her and Roe have reasons for not wanting to go back to her reserve.
Listen: Saskatchewan Weekend speaks with Fox, Folster
Fox said her grandmother's parents died in a car accident and there's been a lot of personal losses since that have occurred through her life, part of the reason she moved her children to the city.
Both Fox and Roe also share a frustration with the status quo.
"I know at some points in my life I felt very frustrated with the way things are in society, trying to voice that to people is challenging," Fox said. "Sometimes you can allow that anger to take hold of you, but Roe is dealing with that as well in the play."
Although Folster's character Winnie grew up and stayed on reserve in the play, she did not. But she has family who does live on reserve and she had to think empathetically in terms of their lives.
She said she also connected to Winnie's sense of loss of family.
"During high school my oldest sister moved away with her kids, she went back to the reserve, and to Winnipeg," Folster said. "That loss of relationship was difficult. It's difficult to sort of have almost all of my family be in different places for a long time."
Two Indians is being shown at the Gordon Tootoosis Nikaniwin Theater in Saskatoon until June 9.
With files from Saskatchewan Weekend