By Regan Baker
Time to top up your go card because Talk Is Free Theatre’s production of Tales of an Urban Indian is a ride not to be missed… literally! Staged entirely on a moving bus, Tales is the deeply personal telling of Simon Douglas’ life; an Indigenous man born on a native reserve in British Columbia and his struggles of growing up as an Indian in a time of segregation.
The tone of the performance is quickly set in Douglas’ opening monologue, which beautifully prepares the audience for a dark, yet moving story of survival and cultural inner conflict:
“It’s a story I need to tell, not because it’s extraordinary, but because it’s common. Too common, and it’s not told enough. It’s a story about my people…”
Progressing forward in a fairly standard biopic arc, Douglas continues on recounting events from his life and how he battled to fit in as a young, native Indian boy in an ever-increasing Westernised World. He tells stories of heartache from yearning for the socially unreachable white girls at his school and of desperately trying to escape the culturally unacceptable rumours of being gay.
The heart of the story comes when Douglas’ mother uproots their family and moves to Vancouver in order to escape the growing social dangers of keeping her son on the reservation. Already used to the prejudice and segregation that comes with being an Indian in a white man’s world however, Douglas quickly succumbs to illicit substances and consistently blames his native heritage for leaving him on the outskirts of social acceptance.
Want to know more about what Regan thought? Click this link for the full review!