“Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer” at the Belfry Theatre and the York Theatre
Throughout the month of February, you can catch Kevin Loring’s production of Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer, which is a farcical look at land claims and Indigenous rights. Little Red (played by Sam Bob) is the last remaining member of his Nation who, upon seeing the start of a condo development on his ancestral lands, ends up in jail for attacking an engineer. After bailing him out, his court-appointed lawyer, Larry (Shekhar Paleja), invites Red to stay with him and his wife, Desdemona (Luisa Jojic) where chaos and trickery ensue.
Staged by the Belfry Theatre, this play invites the audience to laugh, cringe, and reflect alongside Red and the others. “It’s dealing with some heavy issues and heavy histories in terms of Indigenous and settler/Crown relations,” says writer/director Loring. “The humour is targeted in that it walks a very fine line…I want people to laugh, but I want them to be uncomfortable about their laughter. There’s a little bit of edge to this show.”
Loring, a Nlaka’pamux from the Lytton First Nation, and winner of the Governor General’s Award for English Language Drama for his outstanding play, Where the Blood Mixes, characterises this new play as a fable, “a fantastical really out there farce about the land claim issues. But it is rooted in a lot of relationality of First Nations and the Crown. We’re sort of blowing it up and hijinks ensue.”
Learn more about the play and the history of Indigenous land claims in Canada in the video recording of B4Play hosted by CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie and featuring interviews with Kevin Loring, Sam Bob, and RAVEN’s own Susan Smitten. With the story of Little Red woven with the lore of the trickster, Loring hopes to use humour to open people up to some of the darker stories embedded in Canada’s history. “Nobody is really good. All of the characters in this play are sort of transformer tricksters.”