Life, love and Louis Riel: New play Women of the Fur Trade opens in Winnipeg

It won the Toronto Fringe’s Best New Play award in 2018, and now a new version of Women of the Fur Trade is in Winnipeg.

The performance follows three 19th century women as they navigate the rapidly changing world of the fur trade.

Women of the Fur Trade shifts between past and present and the performers use 21st century slang to share their views on life, love and Louis Riel.

“It’s basically the relationship of these women as they sort of navigate what’s happening outside the fort which is louis riel is leading a resistance and navigating their lives inside the fort which is basically they are feeling confined by their roles as women and what that means in how they eventually try to break out of that,” said Liz Whitbread, who plays the role of Cecelia.

Frances Koncan is the playwright who is from Couchiching First Nation in Ontario and now lives in Winnipeg.

She hopes her play shines light on an important time in history, which is still relevant today.

“Things just keep happening in the news that would relate and that would mirror things that happened in the writing and I think that just sort of points to a universality of the story and of what we’re writing and how time is cyclical and things will keep happening until we stand up and make a change,” remarked Koncan.

The performers hope people walk away entertained but also enlightened. Kathleen MacLean plays Marie-Angelique who describes why she wanted to be in the play.

“Manitoba and Winnipeg has a very convoluted relationship with how they feel about Louis Riel, sometimes it’s good sometimes it’s bad but I think it will make them think about that but I think it will also make them think about how they live their own lives and how those issues and those things that were happening back then are still happening now.”

“This is actually the land where all of this even though it’s about the past, this has taken place and we’re still working through a lot of this today so I just want people when they come to see the show to recognize where they are and how they can be accountable for where they are in their part in all of this,” stated Kelsey Kanatan Wavey, the actress who is Eugenia in the performance.

The play runs at the Warehouse Theatre in Winnipeg until March 14.

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