October 11, 2018

In her play In Spirit (Playwrights Canada Press), director, playwright, and actor Tara Beagan takes on the painful reality that is thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. She imbues her murdered protagonist – a twelve-year-old girl, Molly – with familial love, courage, and strength, as she transforms into a spirit that pieces together her life story at the same time as her bicycle found abandoned on the side of the road. The play is interspersed with videos,  sounds, and news bulletins: bringing the humanity of Molly's life in stark relief, imploring the audience to remember and honour her.

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From In Spirit by Tara Beagan (Playwrights Canada Press)


Don’t usually see many people we don’t know on the road. He said he was lost. Couldn’t hear him at first; he seemed almost a bit scared. So then I got off my bike and walked closer to hear him.


She mimes stepping off her bike, handlebars still in hand.


I know I’m not supposed to. Know what I thought, though? I thought, “Oh, geez, this guy’s gonna try to steal my darn bike, and I only just got it.” Thought I was being real smart, leaving it further from that car.


She sets the handlebars down with a jarring clunk that jogs a memory.


Truck. Anyways, he was saying he’s lost. Said he was trying to get back to town. Tried to explain to him where it was he was going, but he seemed confused.


Said if I could just help him get back onto the main highway— said he could bring me back to my bike if I showed him myself, in his car—truck.


She sees the front tire, where it rests. She picks it up, which sparks a memory.


VIDEO: Full screen: interior of truck footage.

SOUND: Radio tuning long, landing, tuning, then gone.

I did not want to do that. You don’t get into a stranger’s truck, and he . . .


She quickly grabs the tire and holds it firmly with two hands.


She holds it up, peering through it. She rotates it in the air, emulating the tuning radio dial and the steering wheel.


VIDEO: Full screen: the truck driving onto a dirt road.


. . . after that, it changed.

Everything. That man . . . something.


VIDEO: Full screen: sun peering through the tops of trees.



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The Author

Tara Beagan is a proud Ntlaka’pamux and Irish “Canadian” halfbreed from Mohkintsis (Calgary, Alberta). She is co-founder/director of ARTICLE 11 with her most cherished collaborator, Andy Moro. She served as the artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts from February 2011 to December 2013. A Dora Mavor Moore Award–winning playwright, she has been in residence at Cahoots Theatre, NEPA, the National Arts Centre, and Berton House. Five of her twenty plus plays have been published, and her first film script, 133 Skyway, co-written with Randy Redroad, won the imagineNATIVE award for best Canadian drama. Beagan is also a Dora and Betty Mitchell Award–​nominated actor.



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Remember: buy  In Spirit or any of our  READ INDIGENOUS books and get this stunning limited-run tote bag featuring colourful artwork from Indigenous visual artists Kaya Joan, Alan Syliboy, Dawn Oman, and Lauren Crazybull until November 15th (while supplies last). And don't forget to check out today's other READ INDIGENOUS feature, Curtis Peeteetuce's Popcorn Elder (Shillingford Editions).





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