Copper Thunderbird

Written by:

Marie Clements

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Indigenous

Cast Size:
9

Roles For:

  • Men: 5
  • Women: 4

Genre:

Biography
Drama
Indigenous Theatre

Themes:

Indigenous
Spirituality

Length:

120 min.

Year Written:

2007

Synopsis:

Copper Thunderbird is a play on canvases based on the life of Norval Morrisseau. Inside the power-lines which Morrisseau boldly defined in his art were the colours he experienced between his Ojibwa cosmology, his life on the street, and his spiritual and philosophical transformations to become the Father of Contemporary Native Art and a Grand Shaman. Appearing simultaneously in this multi-layered drama as a small boy, a young warrior and an old man, Morrisseau confronts his many selves over the Faustian destiny he encountered during his vision quest–a momentary terror that led to a life wracked by both triumph and ordeal, drawing his vibrant colours, both luminous and dark, from the life-force within him.” (From Talonbooks Website)

Characters:

THE OLD MAN / THE BOY / AUNTIE / JACK / DR. WEINSTEIN / PICASSO / THE YOUNG MAN / THE DUMP BEARS / THE THREE NORVAL WIVES / THE CALIFORNICATION GIRLS / HARRIET / KATERI

First Produced:

National Arts Centre, Ottawa, 2007

Resources:

Copper Thunderbird is available through the Talonbooks Website.

Copper Thunderbird can also be accessed at the Canadian Play Outlet.

 

Notes:

Read about Norval Morrisseau on the Canadian Encyclopedia website here.

Featured Play Category:

Barry's Picks

Selection Notes:

In Copper Thunderbird, Marie Clements' skill as a boldly imaginative playwright is on full display. Splitting legendary indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau into three selves, Clements presents a world not just of an indigenous man reflecting on and confronting the legacies of history and racism, but also an artist reckoning with his muses and demons. As with the playwright's other work, the text presents complex design and staging that would be challenging and exciting to work through. -Barry