________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 19. . . .January 22, 2010


Misty Lake.

Dale Lakevold & Darrell Racine.
Barrows, MB: Loon Books, 2006.
80 pp., pbk., $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-896201-81-4.

Subject Heading:
Indians of North America-Canada-Residential Schools-Drama.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Jocelyn A. Dimm.

**** /4


Misty Lake: Teacher Resource Guide.

R. Jacie Foy.
Winnipeg, MB: Loon Books, 2008.
59 pp., includes a DVD, shrink-wrapped and 3-hole punched, $40.00 (Free if 15 copies of Misty Lake are purchased at the same time).
ISBN 978-1-896201-82-5.

Grades 9-12 / Ages 14-17.

Review by Jocelyn A. Dimm.

**** /4



(PATTY) I was supposed to catch my plane out of here yesterday, but I missed it. I missed it because it left an hour early. Now you tell me something. Who's ever heard of a plane leaving an hour early? Where I come from, planes don't leave without their passengers. That's why they're called passenger planes. Right?

So here I am - getting ready to tape an interview - except I don't have anyone to interview. Right now Mary's out helping someone. She's been out helping someone for three straight days now. Maybe I should just tell her that I'm the one who needs some help. Maybe that way I'd get an interview.

PATTY: Like I said, I've been trying to get this interview with Mary for three days now. All she keeps telling me are these little stories about her kids and her dreams and about some fish camp - Misty Lake. She told me how she saved her boy one time from a monster in the bush. Another time she told me how she'd been left for dead out on the ice one day. What does that have to do with healing?

(They say healing at the same time)

MARY: Healing begins—

PATTY: Mary tells me.

MARY: When you can talk about your life.

End of Scene One


To read Misty Lake is to encounter many stories and dreams shared, pondered, and lived through within the characters' world. The play is at times sad and, at other times, funny. There are references to substance abuse and family violence. The play is centered on Patty, a 25-year-old Métis journalist trying to interview Mary, a 43-year-old Dene woman, about her experience in a residential school. The play is about bringing healing by trying to understand the residential school (based on the true experiences of Elizabeth Samuel). It is also about what happens to people, like Patty and Mary, when their families are torn apart, their traditional values are disrespected, and their lives are broken. The journey of memories taken back from the edge of misplaced childhoods is often rocky and misunderstood. It is only through the storied pieces of laughter and tears that life paths are reconnected, new meanings are made, and healing begins for each one of the characters as they find themselves drawn to memories of Misty Lake.

      This play comes at the topic of residential schools from a collection of perspectives offered through the characters' interwoven stories. It is richly layered with pain, humour, and healing. It would best be approached as a read-through with high school students, followed by a viewing of the DVD (included with the Teacher Resource Guide) and reflective discussion. The DVD explains some of the background behind the writing of the play with interviews of the playwrights, glimpses of rehearsals, and audiences' response at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival where the play was sold out every performance.

      The Teacher Resource Guide includes information about residential schools, including historical background, as well as activities that link the play across the curriculum to a variety of issues such as racism and sexuality. The guide also provides background into Aboriginal ways of knowing in order to help students better understand why residential schools were so detrimental to Indigenous culture and traditional ways of living. Included are list of websites and other materials to further this understanding.

Highly Recommended.

Jocelyn A. Dimm is a sessional instructor and doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria where she teaches drama education and young adult literature in the Faculty of Education.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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