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Acting Out: Thoughts From A Rez Sister

Rez Sisters by Tomson Highway, presented March 2017 by Spark Theatre

Shona Stapleton appeared in Spark Theatre's production of Rez Sisters, by Canadian playwright Tomson Highway, this past March at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts. Shona portrayed Philomena Moosetail, and this was her first experience on stage.

Three months of rehearsal; some of them intense but most of it exciting and fun.

Opening night; excitement, anxiety, and nerves, all bundled up into one explosion of the most exciting and awesome time of my life. Sorry, but yes, even better than when I got married and had my children.

Being on stage in front of a sold-out crowd was many things. Excitement, because you have worked so hard to get where you are at. Nervous, because you don’t want to forget your lines or where you are supposed to be standing or the actions you are supposed to be doing. Anxiety, because you are ready.

One of the proudest moments of my life, and all because I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something that I never thought I could do. The women and men that I had the pleasure of working with were fantastic and supportive, and are a part of my circle now. They helped me through the most nerve-wracking days.

Rez Sisters was outstanding, and many or all of the issues that women faced at the time it was written are still true today. There was abuse, alcoholism, drugs, and poor living standards. Prince Albert needed to see this play, not just because it was a fantastic play, but because it is an eye opener to things that still happen in today’s world. And also because it is an eye opener to some of the stigmatisms and stereotypes that are out there.

Roxanne Dicke (artistic director) and her team of genius techies were an absolute blast to work with. Their confidence in who they have chosen for the parts never, ever, waivered, and it made me all the more confident. I was freaked out, petrified and self-doubting but the cast and the crew pulled me through the rehearsals, the bad back, and show time. I would not exchange this experience for anything.

The Rez Sisters is a two-act play by Cree Canadian writer Tomson Highway, first performed on November 26, 1986, by Act IV Theatre Company and Native Earth Performing Arts.

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