Stage Door News

Toronto: manidoons collective and Buddies in Bad Times present “White Girls in Moccasins”

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

manidoons collective and Buddies partner for the world premiere of a new play by 2-Spirit playwright, performer, and educator Yolanda Bonnell. White Girls in Moccasins follows an Indigenous girl, Miskozi, as she tries to find her way back to her cultural roots. She’s accompanied by an ancestral river, Ziibi, and her inner white girl, Waabishkizi, on her journey, grappling with how to live as a whole person in a world steeped in white supremacy. With irreverent humour, the show world-hops between memory, dreams, and a surreal gameshow, blending music, immersive projections, and movement.

“Returning to public performance with White Girls in Moccasins, after our theatre has been closed to the public for two years, is such a gift.” says Interim Director of Operations and Programming, Daniel Carter. “After its time in our Residency Program, I'm thrilled to welcome our communities back to Buddies with this urgent piece of theatre.”

Originally created by Yolanda Bonnell (bug) at Native Earth’s Animikiig Creators Unit, White Girls in Moccasins was presented at the Rhubarb Festival in 2018 before being further developed at the Banff Playwrights Lab and through the Buddies Residency Program. For its first mainstage production, Bonnell’s script is brought to life by co-directors Cole Alvis (Lilies; Or, The Revival of a Romantic Drama; bug) and Samantha Brown (directorial debut). Joining Yolanda’s Miskozi are performance artist and theatre creator Elizabeth Staples (Private Eyes) as Waabishkizi and artist/activist Ravyn Wngz (Antarctica; 21 Black Futures’ Jah in the Ever Expanding Song) as Ziibi.

The creative team is rounded with set and projection designer Trevor Schwellnus (The Solitudes; Blood Weddings), animation artist Rihkee Strapp, sound designer Maddie Bautista (Oil; Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers, and Little Brothers), costume designer Rachel Forbes (21 Black Futures; Black Boys), and lighting designer Echo Zhou (Cake; Made in Macau).

"manidoons collective has grown since Yolanda and I first set out to tour her solo show bug, and how we work is as integral as the plays we make,” says co-director Cole Alvis. “With this co-production the circle of artists we're gathering is growing and we can't wait for audiences to join us in space together again.”

Emboldened by pandemic closures to reimagine models and practices of theatre creation, manidoons—a collective focused on Indigenous performance—comes into this co-production with a focus on values-driven relationship building. Creation and production processes have been shaped around the idea of Indigenizing performance practices, with a focus on working culture, schedules and agreements, and will shape the way both companies produce work going forward.

REVIEWS – manidoons and Buddies respectfully request that media hire IBPOC reviewers to engage with White Girls in Moccasins, in order to foster a deeper discussion, and to decentre eurocentric criticism. We welcome the reflections and worldviews of marginalized voices, and in particular Indigenous women, Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary critics. For more context and writing on this request, visit manidoons collective’s media request. Everyone is welcome and invited to see the show.

COVID PROTOCOLS – All audience members will be asked to show proof of vaccination, wear a mask while in the buidling, and fill out a COVID screening form. More information on the theatre’s COVID policies and practices can be found here: buddiesinbadtimes.com.

For White Girls in Moccasins, we have a reduced house capacity of 65 people (out of a 120 venue capacity). All audience members will be at least six feet away from performers, who will be unmasked.

Box Office: buddiesinbadtimes.com.

Photo: Yolanda Bonnell. © 2022 Dylan Mitro.