Northwestern Polytechnic Elder in Residence Theresa Gladue is the playwright for The Cab Ride Home stops for a photo in her office at NWP in Grande Prairie, Alta. on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024. The play is based on a true story from Gladueճ life. She says it hits many topics including racism, residential schools, missing women and police brutality. (Photo by Jesse Boily)Jesse Boily

A play coming to the Collins Recital Hall at Northwestern Polytechnic (NWP) explores racism, residential schools, missing women and police brutality. 

The Cab Ride Home is written by NWP Elder-in-Residence Theresa Gladue.

“This is actually a true story that I’ve written into a short story and then made into a play,” said Gladue. 

She says the play is based on what happened to her and describes it as a comedy that also deals with a serious subject matter. 

Her inspiration came when she took a short writing class. 

“They always say write what you know, so I was like, ‘hey, I have a really colourful life; let me just write about that.’”

She would write stories about her life and growing up in Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation.

She wrote the story of the play over 20 years ago, and a couple of years after writing the short story, she would adapt it into a play. 

In 2004, the play premiered at the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre in Dawson Creek; it would then tour across northeastern B.C.

The play would then go into a competition to earn an honourable mention. 

Recently, after watching Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth at the Grande Prairie Live Theatre, Gladue reached out to the show’s director Beth Zazula. 

Gladue asked Zazula if she was interested in directing The Cab Ride Home for a Grande Prairie audience.

After looking over the script, Zazula agreed to take on the project.

“I just love that it’s real, raw and funny, and it also addresses indigenous issues,” she said. 

Zazula said that although the play takes place in 1985, it shows a side of life that many indigenous people are still facing today. She hopes Gladue’s words impact the people who come to see the play. 

“I did a lot of rewrites, like I incorporated a lot of the Cree,” said Gladue, noting some new characters and some scenes were reworked to this version of the play.

Ultimately, Gladue hopes people realize that their own stories are worth telling.

“We don’t have to be anybody big and famous to write a story and make a play out of it,” she said. 

“We can make anything come alive; we can do anything that we can set our mind to.”

Tickets are expected to go on sale in March. 

The play is scheduled to debut on April 13. 

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 25, 2024 at 10:09

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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