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Theatre Reviews

CIV­I­LIZED tells the sto­ry of how the Lau­ri­er gov­ern­ment decid­ed to solve the Indi­an prob­lem and find ways to incor­po­rate Indige­nous peo­ple into British Cana­di­an soci­ety. Indige­nous peo­ple were seen by the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment as bar­ri­ers to a mod­ern soci­ety and unfor­tu­nate­ly one of the solu­tions became res­i­den­tial schools, in which Indige­nous chil­dren were tak­en away from their par­ents and not taught their culture.

This is a great exam­ple of how to bring his­to­ry to life — a great sto­ry with inter­est­ing char­ac­ters and an actor who can deliv­er the weighty mate­r­i­al. Keir Cut­ler’s script is inter­est­ing because these bureau­crats believed in their poli­cies — it was accept­able to take Indige­nous land and they actu­al­ly thought they were doing good by teach­ing Indige­nous chil­dren British Cana­di­an cul­ture. Actor John Hus­ton deliv­ers the mate­r­i­al expert­ly. He is ter­rif­ic por­tray­ing var­i­ous pompous bureau­crats but adds sar­cas­tic com­men­tary about Indige­nous peo­ple not appre­ci­at­ing every­thing the gov­ern­ment is doing for them. CIV­I­LIZED is one of the best plays I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe and is very time­ly giv­en the cul­tur­al reck­on­ing Cana­da is now under­go­ing. Go see it.