Stage Door News
Toronto: “The Land Acknowledgement, or as You Like It” returns to the CAA Theatre May 4-7
Thursday, May 4, 2023
The Crow’s theatre production of Cliff Cardinal’s, dynamic and provocative one-man show The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It played to critical acclaim from March 10 – April 2 at the CAA Theatre. The show enjoyed a spectacular run with sold-out houses and became a genuine cultural phenomenon, attracting diverse audiences of all ages and backgrounds, ultimately leading to a return engagement.
The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It returns to the CAA Theatre with performances beginning today – May 4 through May 7 for one week only.
ABOUT THE PLAY
In September 2021, just as theatres were starting to reopen after the long pandemic hiatus, Crow’s Theatre, one of the city’s most eclectic and adventuresome companies, decided to begin with an audacious new show. They said very little about it. Only that it was a “radical retelling by Cliff Cardinal” of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. There were no further details, no cast list, nothing.
Of course, most people know As You Like It as one of the bard’s most accessible and whimsical plays. How was Cliff, a young Indigenous playwright and actor acclaimed for his acerbic, mischievous humour and willingness to deal with raw emotions and difficult subject matter, going to retell this classic of Western theatre?
When the show was finally on stage, word spread about it like wildfire. Its first audiences raved: it was "essential viewing,” “a surprising, powerful, thrilling, and moving piece of theatre that will never be forgotten.”
At the same time, word spread that the show had nothing to do with As You Like It. Cliff was NOT performing As You Like It, nor any version of it.
Instead, what Cliff was doing with his new work was examining the relationship between the Indigenous community and the settlers. He was showing us what a young and insightful artist from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota sees in the aftermath of the discovery of unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools. He was offering us the unvarnished truth of the state of the reconciliation process this country has been attempting for the last few decades. He was using theatre to do what it has always done: to take a few moments and pay attention to someone other than our own selves.
Called “the Canadian arts surprise of the year” by The Globe and Mail, Cliff’s brilliant play The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It has dazzled and engaged audiences as only the best theatre can.
The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It features Lighting Design by Logan Raju Cracknell. Jennifer Stobart is the stage manager.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION and CLIFF CARDINAL
Cliff Cardinal is a polarizing writer and performer known for his black humour and compassionate poeticism. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Radical Retelling by Cliff Cardinal received its world premiere at Crow’s Theatre on September 30, 2021. The engagement was extended twice due to popular demand.
The show’s Toronto success led to engagements across Canada. It enjoyed a sold-out run at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival in Vancouver in February 2022; reopened the Roxy Theatre in Edmonton, April/May 2022; played Carrefour International De Théâtre festival in Quebec City this past June and at the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) in Ottawa in January.
Cliff Cardinal’s multi-award-winning one-man play Huff, which he has performed over 200 times, is a harrowing yet hilarious show about youth who abuse solvents to the risk of suicide. Huff won the Buddies in Bad Times’ Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation; Outstanding Performance and Outstanding New Play Dora Mavor Moore Awards; RBC’s Emerging Playwright Award; The Edinburgh Fringe Festival Lustrum Award (which recognizes the greatest moments at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival); was shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award; and received a five-star review in The Guardian Observer titled, “a hard-hitting tour de force.” The play has been published, translated into French, continues to tour, and was released as a podcast by the CBC Radio.
Cliff Cardinal’s CBC Special, his eagerly anticipated follow-up to Huff, won the Jon Kaplan Spotlight Award for the top performance at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival and toured Canada’s north beginning in Yellowknife. Cardinal’s first multi-character play, Too Good To Be True, which opened VideoCabaret’s 2019 season at the Busy Street theatre in Toronto, with Cardinal directing, “...solidifies Cardinal as one of the most talented and intriguing writers in the country.” NOW Magazine.
Born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Cliff studied playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal and is an associate artist at VideoCabaret where he develops his new work. Cliff also fronts the hilarious and nefarious Cliff Cardinal and The Skylarks, who have released two albums; and is the son of iconic Canadian actress Tantoo Cardinal. Cliff lives in Toronto with his wife Sage Paul, Artistic Director of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto, their dog Frodo, and their cat Tiga.
The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It
May 4 to 7
Tickets from $39 are available at mirvish.com
Same-day rush seats $29
CAA Theatre, 651 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON
Thursday to Friday at 8 PM
Saturday 2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday 2 PM
Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
Tickets available only through mirvish.com and by phone at 1-800-461-3333