BRANTFORD – The Bell Summer Theatre Festival has brought forth its final show – a play called “Summer Breeze”, written by Peter Muir and Thohahoken Michael Doxtater which has already reached the Bell Homestead, Chiefswood Museum and will soon be performed live at the Woodland Cultural Centre from September 2-4 at 2 p.m..
The play begins as a simple university lecture on Aboriginal Studies and snow balls into more as the descendants of Chief George Johnson, Frederick Haldimand, Alexander Graham Bell and Pauline Johnson travel through time to discover that there truly are two sides to every story.
Chiefswood Historical Interpreter Kari Hill said that the play “definitely brings the two worlds together,” after she watched the performance last Sunday.
“The event went really well,” said Hill. “From Thursday, Friday, Saturday the audience continued to get bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Hill. “I think we might have had fifty people on Sunday. But the play was really good, it definitely hit topics that pertained to each site and kind of the surrounding area, like Brantford, and Haldimand,” she said.
“They talk about the residential school or the Mush Hole, and connected with Chiefswood and George Johnson who was Pauline’s father. It connected those two together and it’s a really interesting look at it,” she said.
But being one of only three conveners, Hill said that the play was a perfect fit for the Chiefswood Museum.
“For the last couple of years Chiefswood has really been trying to get more of the arts out to Chiefswood. Again, Pauline was a poet so we tried to get more live performances like last year we had First Fridays,” she said. “So, [when the group] came to us we thought ‘yeah that’s a great fit for Chiefswood, and they were talking about Pauline and her family, so it kind of does fit all together,” she said. “It’s great.”
Soon to welcome the play to the Woodland Cultural Centre in September, Woodland Cultural Centre Artistic Director Naomi Johnson said that “it’s exciting to be just one of the three.”
“This is the first time we’ve ever done anything quite like this, but so far so good,” said Johnson. “[The play] is interesting, and for me what was really important when I sat down with Peter was that for every level of the production I wanted there to be equal indigenous representation as well as non-indigenous representation. Because here at the Woodland Cultural Centre; that’s our mandate is to present indigenous art. So, it has to be indigenous people producing this work. He ran with it and he took it on, and he’s had indigenous people and non-indigenous people developing this play.”
When driving up the lane way to the Woodland Cultural Centre, the performance will be taking place to the right of the residential school building, and admissions is on a whatever-you-can-pay basis.