Gabriel Dumont's Wild West Show
By Jean Marc Dalpé, David Granger, Laura Lussier, Alexis Martin, Andrea Menard, Yvette Nolan, Gilles Poulin-Denis, Paula-Jean Prudat, Mansel Robinson, and Kenneth T. Williams
Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is a flamboyant epic, constructed as a series of tableaux, about the struggles of the Métis in the Canadian West. It is a multilayered and entertaining saga with a rodeo vibe, loosely based on Buffalo Bill’s legendary outdoor travelling show. ... Read more
Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is a flamboyant epic, constructed as a series of tableaux, about the struggles of the Métis in the Canadian West. It is a multilayered and entertaining saga with a rodeo vibe, loosely based on Buffalo Bill’s legendary outdoor travelling show. In 1885, following the hanging of his friend Louis Riel, bison hunter Gabriel Dumont fled to the United States. There he was recruited by the legendary Buffalo Bill, founder of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, a gigantic outdoor travelling show that re-enacted life in the American West. It made a huge impression on Dumont, and he dreamed of putting together a similar show to tell the story of the struggle of Canada’s Métis to reclaim their rights.
The creative team behind Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show – including ten authors, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, French- and English-speaking men and women – brings Dumont’s dream to life in a captivating, joyously anachronistic saga. The theatrical version of Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show presented by the National Arts Centre was one of a number of exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. (Adapted from nac-cna. ca/en/wildwestshow.
Yvette Nolan is a playwright, dramaturg, and director. Her plays include Annie Mae’s Movement, The Unplugging, and The Birds. She has been writer-in-residence at Brandon University, Mount Royal College, Saskatoon Public Library, and McGill University, as well as playwright-in-residence at the National Arts Centre. Born in Saskatchewan to an Algonquin mother and an Irish immigrant father and raised in Manitoba, Yvette lived in the Yukon and Nova Scotia before moving to Toronto, where she served as artistic director of Native Earth Performing Arts from 2003 to 2011. Her book Medicine Shows about Indigenous theatre in Canada was published in 2015. She lives in Saskatoon.
Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Gilles Poulin-Denis is an actor, playwright, director, translator, and dramaturg. His first full-length play, Rearview, was presented in both French and English in Sudbury in 2016. Rearview is published by Dramaturges Éditeurs and was nominated in 2010 for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Wajdi Mouawad named Gilles as one of the resident playwrights at the National Arts Centre's Théâtre français, where he developed his play Dehors. Dehors was published by L’Instant-Scène in 2017. Gilles has collaborated on numerous devised pieces such as ishow, Après la Peur, and Gabriel Dumont's Wild West Show. Gilles is the artistic director of Productions 2PAR4 and currently lives in Vancouver.
“Really excellent. I laughed till I cried!”—Marilou Lamontagne, ICI Radio-Canada Ottawa-Gatineau
“[A] play that pleases, puzzles, and provokes, in a form that keeps shifting wildly from one moment to the next like a bucking bronco. ”—J. Kelly Nestruck, Globe and Mail
“If Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is so successful, while being funny and sad at the same time, it’s because the creative team did its research and listened to the communities involved in the rehabilitating of the figure of Gabriel Dumont. What takes shape here is a wave of madness and a rewriting of our national narrative. ”—Maud Cucchi, JEU Revue de théâtre
“Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is a crazed, fast-paced Métis 101 history lesson, in which acidity and humour deliver the story. ”—Martin Vanasse, Radio-Canada
“Full of life, even hectic, filled with surprises, colours, humour, and an agenda that can only be endorsed. ”—Marie-Claire Girard, HuffPost Québec
“[A] seamlessly cohesive narrative . .. a zany form . .. a phantasmagorical piece of pure entertainment . .. a delirious blend of historical drama, musical, burlesque cabaret, hockey night, and TV quiz!”—Pierre-Alexandre Buisson, Bible urbaine
“Entertaining and informative, with a self-critical and self-deprecating humour, this gigantic historical frescoenters like a buffalo stampede and provides a breath of fresh air. ”—Yanik Comeau, Théâtralités
“Between bursts of laughter (of the uneasy sort at times) and moments of lively emotion, Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show takes [us] on a journey up hill and down dale through the history of the Métis Resistances and tells an oft-forgotten part of our collective history. ”—Valérie Lessard, Le Droit
“if we’re the wound, maybe Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show is the iodine. ”—Cam Fuller, Saskatoon StarPhoenix