The Unnatural and Accidental Women

Written by:

Marie Clements

Artist/Creator(s) Identify As:

Indigenous

Cast Size:
13

Roles For:

  • Men: 2
  • Women: 11

Genre:

Drama
Indigenous Theatre
Mystery

Themes:

Murder
Race
Racism
Surrealism
Violence

Synopsis:

The Unnatural and Accidental Women is a surrealist dramatization of a thirty-year murder case involving many mysterious deaths in the ‘Skid Row’ area of Vancouver. All the victims were found dead with a blood-alcohol reading far beyond safe levels, and all were last seen in the company of Gilbert Paul Jordan, who frequented the city’s bars preying on primarily middle-aged Native women. The coroner’s reports listed the cause of death of many of these women as unnatural and accidental. Marie Clements reconstructs the lives of these women as shaped by lost connections to loved ones, to the land, to a way of life at times desperate, at times tender yearning for ties of communication, belonging and shelter gone dead. These are precariously vulnerable lives, so easily drawn to their end by the heat and light of a flame, lives that thirst for an end of searching in forgetfulness.” (From Talonbooks)

Characters:

Rebecca – age 4 and 30, Mixed blood / Native, a writer searching for the end of a story / Rose – age 52, English immigrant, a switchboard operator with a soft heart, but thorny / Aunt Shadie – age 52, Native, mother-like qualities of strength, humour, love, patience / Mavis – age 42, Native, stubborn in life and memory / The Woman – age 27, Native, looks and moves like a deer / Valerie – age 33, Native, a big, beautiful woman / Verna – age 38. Native, sarcastic but searching to do the right thing, the right way / Violet – age 5 and 27, an old spirit who grows younger to see herself again / The Barbershop Women – A threesome that can move and sing, consisting of Marilyn – age 25, Native; Penny – age 30, Native; and Patsy – age 40, Native / The Barber – ages 30 and 60s, White, short, balding, nice and creepy. Also transforms into The Man, The Romantic Partner, The Pillow, The Dresser, The Man’s Shadow, The Airline Steward, and 2nd Fatherly Male Voice / Ron – age 35, a cop, handsome with a good sense of humour. Also plays The Logger, and is IT until he is Ron. / SFX Voices – Evan: age 8, Valerie’s oldest son, wise and angry; Tommy: age 5, Valerie’s youngest son, naive and sweet; The Operator: a polite but repetitive telephone recording; Fatherly Male Voice: The Woman’s adopted father; “Can I buy you a drink?’: The Barber’s voice.

First Produced:

2000

Resources:

The Unnatural and Accidental Women is available through Talonbooks.

To view other works by this playwright, click here.

Notes:

2005, Jessie Richardson Theatre Award

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