On a weekend day, when it was impossible to avoid subway travel while the line was under construction, I tucked Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters (1988) into my bag, thinking it would be worth some smiles in crowded and bustling stations, moving between trains and shuttle buses.
The play takes me out of time and onto the roof, where the women are working and dreaming. Amidst the gossip and trash talk on the reservation, there is a lot of talk about bingo, which is where many of the dreams reside. What would each woman do if she won the jackpot?
The women’s voices are all-a-blur, their sisterhood sometimes literal, connections sometimes looser but still family-based. All of the roles are written for women and, in the background Nanabush, the trickster flits and flies. At times the women speak (or yell) simultaneously, and on-stage that would be impossible to decipher.