The Rez Sisters

The Rez Sisters

A Play in Two Acts

Book - 1988
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This award-winning play by Native playwright Tomson Highway is a powerful and moving portrayal of seven women from a reserve attempting to beat the odds by winning at bingo. And not just any bingo. It is THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD and a chance to win a way out of a tortured life.

The Rez Sisters is hilarious, shocking, mystical and powerful, and clearly establishes the creative voice of Native theatre and writing in Canada today.

Publisher: Saskatoon : Fifth House, 1988.
ISBN: 9780920079447
Branch Call Number: 819.2 H638
Characteristics: xiii, 118 p. : port. ; 22 cm.


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Kristen MERKE
Apr 12, 2019

I enjoyed this play, but in terms of 'reading' a play I found it difficult to follow at times. I think this is one of those pieces that really needs to be on the stage, and I hope one day I will be able to see a production. I found the written staging confusing and it hard to follow the purpose/direction of the Nanabush; given it's a very physical role I think there needed to be slightly more for the reader. I also wish a little more was given to Zha, disability representation is so important and I felt there just wasn't enough attention to her role in the narrative. Still an enjoyable read, with lots of themes and messages to consider about the live of Indigenous women in Canada.

I loved this play about a group of Aboriginal women who live together on the Wasaychigan Hill Indian Reserve. It offers some insight into life on “the rez” as it follows the women’s dreams of going on a road trip to the biggest bingo game ever. The realism is heartbreaking, and the laughs are plentiful. (submitted by CT)

Jun 29, 2014

This was my first incursion into Highway's fiction and I very much enjoyed the variety of characters, each with her character, problems, particularities and obsessions. Although I expected to have a clearer idea of the some of the challenges that Native women have to go through, I did glimpse into the obstacles, and joys, of life on the reserve. I enjoyed the fact that Highway speaks of life outside of the reserve through Ellen, of the cultural gaps when talking about Ray<i>mond</i> and Emily's former life in Fresco and of life on the reserve: Zhaboonigan and her horrible ordeal, the tensions with the Chief and the men in general but also the love of the land and of the community. Nanbush was a curious character for me: seeing him on stage might have given me a better understanding of his role and symbolic nature - I'm sure he has a very strong presence which flits and swoops as emotions and drama unfold.
Finally, I loved the mix of Cree and Ojibwa which gave the text such poetry - I would love to hear it on stage.
A beautiful mix of cultures and perspectives.

Feb 16, 2009

This is the 32nd of a series of titles selected by writer Yann Martel to provide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to encourage an appreciation of the arts and literature in particular in the PM, and to also help him with his stillness and thoughtfulness. Martel has regularly sent books from a wide range of literary traditions to Harper, and has devoted a Web site to the book list and his kind and considered covering letters with each volume.

Harper could gain a lot from reading this selection, both insights into First Nations culture and a dose of Tomson Highway's pointed, impish sense of humour.

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Kristen MERKE
Apr 12, 2019

Kristen MERKE thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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