The Great Gift of Tears


208 pages
ISBN 1-55050-192-5
DDC C812'.6'080897





Edited by Heather Hodgson
Reviewed by David E. Kemp

David E. Kemp, a former professor of drama at Queen’s University, is
the author of The Pleasures and Treasures of the United Kingdom.


The three Saskatchewan playwrights featured in this rewarding anthology
adapt to the dramatic stage the oral tradition of storytelling that lies
at the heart of the cultural tradition of the First Nations people of
Canada. Floyd Favel, a Cree playwright from the Poundmaker Reserve,
contributes two works. The lyrical and ultimately tragic Governor of the
Dew: A Memorial to Nostalgia and Love depicts the first encounter
between Indigenous and European people, while All My Relatives
dramatizes the move from the freedom of the wilderness to the reserves
and finally to the cities, with its attendant unease and even trauma.
Antigone, an adaptation of Sophocles’ classic play by Cree writer
Deanne Kasokeo, shows how a political structure that is imposed can
clash with the traditional style of First Nations governance. Finally,
Métis writer Bruce Sinclair contributes a funny and profound play that
focuses squarely on First Nations problems. This book is a welcome
addition to an emerging area of Canadian theatre.


“The Great Gift of Tears,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,